By Steve Pratt
CARSON, Calif. (March 31, 2016) – Carson is a long way from China, but it is where this week’s 12th Annual USTA International Spring Championship No. 2-seeded boy and girl are headed following the ITF-level Grade 1 tournament taking place at StubHub Center.
Both William Blumberg, 18, and Kayla Day, 16, will compete in the second annual 2016 ITF Junior Masters taking place at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre in Chengdu, China, April 8-10, based on their ITF world-ranking at the end of the year, instead of venturing two hours southeast to attend next week’s ASICS Easter Bowl in Indians Wells, Calif.
They both had tough first-set battles, with Blumberg coming back to beat Boca Raton’s USTA-trained Gianni Ross, originally from Illinois, 7-6 (6), 6-1. Day, who is from just up the coast in Santa Barbara, came back from a rough start to beat 15-year-old Ann Li of Devon, Pa., 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Blumberg, a high school junior who is still deciding his university of choice for the fall of 2017, is playing his first tournament since the U.S. Open last year after recovering from mononucleosis. He experienced symptoms last year on his way to the Carson ISC title.
In the tight first set, Blumberg went up a break 4-3, then was broken but immediately broke right back. Serving for the set at 5-4, he was broken for 5-all and the set went into a tiebreaker. Blumberg battled back from down 2-5 in the tiebreaker to win the first set and then rolled in the second.
“That first set was big for me,” Blumberg said. “This is a comfortable place for me to play. My coaches and I have been working out a lot. I’m in shape and ready to go.”
Blumberg recalled being in Carson one year ago and suffering the effects of mono. “I just played through it,” he said. “I remember being exhausted; so dead tired. I remember playing Zeke Clark in the second round and I was up a set and I threw up. I was exhausted. And I had no idea what was going on. I just thought I was sick.”
He added: “When I’m sick it forces me to be more efficient with what I do, but sometimes it’s too tough for me.”
He received his diagnosis at the end of the summer, but still played in the U.S. Open junior tournament. “It’s the U.S. Open so I’m going to play,” he said. “But then I rested and haven’t played a tournament since. It’s OK. There’s no rush for me.”
Blumberg is ready to start setting up college trips, but wouldn’t divulge any top choices.
Day said her timing was off in her first-set loss to Li, 15, from Devon, Pa., who she had beaten in their only other meeting but two long years ago. “She definitely played well and my timing was off in the first set,” she said.
Day is currently being coached by USTA National Coach Henner Nehles in Boca Raton, Fla. Nehles is a former UNLV standout who continues to get the most out of all the players he coaches. “He brings so much intensity to every workout,” said, Day, who will be traveling with her Southern California coach Mike Gennette to China. “I’m really excited about every part of the trip, except the long flight to China.”
In the boys’ 16s semifinals it will be No. 2 Axel Nefve of Hinsdale, Ill., against No. 12 Eric Hahn of Fullerton, Calif., and No. 6 Adam Neff of Bradenton, Fla., against No. 5 Vikash Singh of Hilton Head Island, S.C.
In the girls’ 16 semifinals it will be unseeded Eryn Cayetano of Corona, Calif., facing off against No. 14-seeded Jessi Muljat of Sacramento, Calif., while Hailey Baptiste of Takoma Park, Md., will face Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek, Calif.
All matches can be followed via Live Scoring through Tennis Ticker, the ITF’s official live scoring company at http://www.tennisticker.de/usa/usta-sb.html.
For more information on the tournament, log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.
Boys’ 18 Singles (Round of 16)
Oliver Crawford (Spartanburg, SC) def. Kyrylo Tsygura (North Potomac, MD) 7-5, 6-2
Duarte Vale (Portugal) def. Alexandre Rotsaert (Boca Raton, FL) 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-1
Sam Riffice (Granite Bay, CA) def. Trent Bryde (Suwanee, GA) 6-3, 6-1
Sebastian Arcila (Silver Spring, MD) def. Zeke Clark (Tulsa, OK) 6-0, 4-2 Ret (inj)
William Blumberg (Greenwich, CT) def. Gianni Ross (Boca Raton, FL) 7-6(6), 6-1
Liam Caruana (Austin, Texas) def. Brandon Holt (Rolling Hills, CA) 6-2, 7-6(2)
Alafia Ayeni (San Diego, CA) def. Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale, AZ) 6-2, 6-1
Patrick Kypson (Greenville, NC) def. Joshua Peck (Canada) 6-1, 6-0
Boys’ 18 Doubles (Quarterfinal Round)
William Blumberg (Greenwich, CT) / Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale, AZ) def. Vasil Kirkov (Tampa, FL) / Sebastian Korda (Bradenton, FL) 6-1, 7-6(7)
Oliver Crawford (Spartanburg, SC) / Brandon Holt (Rolling Hills, CA) def. Trent Bryde (Suwanee, GA) / Patrick Kypson (Greenville, NC) 6-4, 7-6(2)
Andres Andrade (Bradenton, FL) / Duarte Vale (Portugal) def. Sergio Hernandez (Colombia) / Juan Alejandro Hernandez Serrano (Mexico) 6-4, 3-6, 10-7
Brian Cernoch (North Bethesda, MD) / Sam Riffice (Granite Bay, CA) def. Ulises Blanch (Deerfield Beach, FL) / Liam Caruana (Austin, Texas) 5-7, 7-5, 10-6
Girls’ 18 Singles (Round of 16)
Claire Liu (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Emma Higuchi (Los Angeles, CA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Rosie Johanson (Abbotsford, BC) def. Morgan Coppoc (Tulsa, OK) 6-2, 7-6(3)
Meible Chi (Weston, FL) def. Sofia Sewing (Doral, FL) 6-2, 6-3
Michaela Gordon (Saratoga, CA) def. Elysia Bolton (Cold Spring Harbor, NY) 6-3, 6-1
Kayla Day (Santa Barbara, CA) def. Ann Li (Devon, PA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Carson Branstine (Orange, CA) def. Jade Lewis (New Zealand) 4-6, 7-5, 6-0
Abigail Desiatnikov (Atlanta, GA) def. Maria Mateas (Braintree, MA) 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Amanda Anisimova (Hallandale Beach, FL) def. Ellie Douglas (McKinney, TX) 6-3, 6-1
Girls’ 18 Doubles (Quarterfinal Round)
Dalayna Hewitt (Pepper Pike, OH) / Kariann Pierre Louis (Miami, FL) def. Nadia Gizdova (Columbia, MD) / Whitney Osuigwe (Bradenton, FL) 6-3, 3-6, 10-7
Morgan Coppoc (Tulsa, OK) / Raquel Pedraza (Claremont, CA) def. Kate Paulus (Boca Raton, FL) / Alana Smith (Fort Washington, MD) 6-4, 6-7(7), 10-7
Hurricane Tyra Black (Boca Raton, FL) / Ena Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) def. Elysia Bolton (Cold Spring Harbor, NY) / Chiara Lommer (Skokie, IL) 6-3, 6-1
Taylor Johnson (Redondo Beach, CA) / carson branstine (College Park, MD) def. Lea Ma (Dix Hills, NY) / Emma Decoste (Stuart, FL) 6-2, 7-6(5)
Boys’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)
Axel Nefve (Hinsdale, IL) def. Jake Sands (Pacific Palisades, CA) 6-4, 6-3
Eric Hahn (Fullerton, CA) def. Matthew Segura (Los Angeles, CA) 7-6(6), 6-1
Adam Neff (Bradenton, FL) def. Tyler Zink (Bradenton, FL) 6-4, 7-6(4)
Vikash Singh (Hilton Head Island, SC) def. Govind Nanda (Cerritos, CA) 6-3, 6-3
Boys’ 16 Doubles (Quarterfinal Round)
William Grant (Bronxville, NY) / Axel Nefve (Hinsdale, IL) def. Leighton Allen (Austin, TX) / Nicholas Garcia (Hollywood, FL) 6-2, 6-1
Eric Hahn (Fullerton, CA) / Maximilian Wild (Murrieta, CA) def. Jericho Grollman (Lake Mary, FL) / Benji Jacobson (Bloomfield Hills, MI) 6-4, 6-3
Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, CA) / Jake Sands (Pacific Palisades, CA) def. Joseph Brailovsky (North Potomac, MD) / Brandon Perez (Staunton, VA) 7-5, 6-3
Adam Neff (Bradenton, FL) / Tyler Zink (Bradenton, FL) def. Patrick Maloney (Oyster Bay, NY) / Sam Turchetta (Pound Ridge, NY) 6-3, 7-5
Girls’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)
Eryn Cayetano (Corona, CA) def. Luba Vasilyuk (Frisco, TX) 6-2, 6-2
Jessi Muljat (Sacramento, CA) def. Peyton Stearns (Mason, OH) 6-4, 6-4
Hailey Baptiste (Takoma Park, MD) def. Vivian Cheng (Santa Monica, CA) 6-2, 6-3
Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, CA) def. Cali Jankowski (Carlsbad, CA) 6-4, 4-6, 4-0 Ret (inj)
Girls’ 16 Doubles (Quarterfinal Round)
Ali Despain (Murrells Inlet, SC) / Alexis Merrill (Fairfax, VA) def. Avery Aude (Woodland Hills, CA) / Elizabeth Goldsmith (Chula Vista, CA) 6-1, 6-4
Dasha Kourkina (Brooklyn, NY) / Michelle Sorokko (Little Neck, NY) def. Vivian Cheng (Santa Monica, CA) / Britt Pursell (Oceanside, CA) 7-6(5), 7-6(2)
Hailey Baptiste (Takoma Park, MD) / Mackenzie Clark (College Park, MD) def. Kacie Harvey (Braintree, MA) / Jessi Muljat (Sacramento, CA) 6-4, 2-6, 10-6
Addison Guevara (Keller, TX) / Luba Vasilyuk (Frisco, TX) def. Julieanne Bou (Bayamon, PR) / MariaFernanda Campos (Laredo, TX) 1-6, 6-4, 10-6