May 30, 2017

Alafia Ayeni and Claire Liu Capture USTA National ITF 18s Singles Titles At 50th Adidas Easter Bowl

(April 2, 2017) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The No.-8 seeded Alafia Ayeni from San Diego and top-seeded Claire Liu from Thousand Oaks, Calif., captured ITF 18s boys’ and girls’ singles titles on the final day of the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior Spring Nationals played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

 

The 17-year-old Ayeni overcame a huge mental lapse in the second set, but served big when it counted most in the third to get past 16-year-old Sebastian Korda, the No. 10 seed from Bradenton, Fla., 6-4, 0-6, 7-5.

 

The 16-year-old Liu, who won the girls’ Easter Bowl ITF title in 2015 as a 14-year-old, avenged a loss in the fall to Ellie Douglas, the No. 4 seed from McKinney, Texas, in taking the title, 6-1, 6-2.

 

For the first time this year both winners, in addition to receiving ITF trophies and valuable rankings points, also received USTA gold balls as the premier Easter Bowl 18s division has been upgraded to USTA national championship status.

 

Ayeni planned to fly to Spain for an ITF Grade 1 tournament later Sunday evening, and will surely have a smile on his face crossing the Atlantic after coming back to beat the tough Korda, who held a 3-1 lead and had several break point chances on Ayeni’s serve in the third set.

 

“I knew if he got the break there it would be tough to come back, and I know that Sebby is such a good server,” said Ayeni, whose father was a discus thrower in college from Nigeria. “It was so difficult to break him.”

 

Serving at 3-all, another long deuce game ensued with Ayeni applying the pressure and converting on crucial points to go up 4-3 in the tense match, at times letting loose on serves that registered 133 miles per hour via the radar gun and displayed on the  scoreboard.

 

For the third straight match Korda dropped the first set, and for the third straight time he raced off to the bathroom after each first-set loss to gather himself. “I threw some water on my face and told myself to relax and it always seems to work,” Korda said. “I started making a lot more balls and played better. He was playing amazing at the end.”

 

Ayeni said he let his mind wander after winning the first set, and won just five total points in the second set. “I was just so nervous and I started thinking, ‘OK, I’m one set away from winning the Easter Bowl.’ And it didn’t help I was sitting down for quite a while because of Sebby’s bathroom break. I got cold.

 

Ayeni said his rocket serves in the third set and his experience were the key factors in pulling out the win. “I just kept hitting the serve harder and I felt it gave me just that little advantage that I needed,” he said. “I think I had the experience advantage because I have been in two ITF finals and this was his first. I know that, especially in finals, the match isn’t over till it’s over. I knew it wasn’t over till the last ball was hit.”

 

Korda smiled and said he was happy with his week, and was headed to the golf course to see his two older sister compete on the final day of the LPGA major ANA Inspiration tournament.

 

Liu became the first player – boy or girl – in the 50-year history of the tournament to win two Easter Bowls over a three-year span.

 

“I was pretty nervous,” said Liu, who dropped just one set in the tournament and won her last six sets giving up a total of eight games. “For every match I was nervous, but that’s kind of why I’m here, to deal with my nerves and to continue to play well under pressure, and I think I did that pretty good.”

 

Liu will next play two USTA Pro Circuit $60,000 events, and the Naples Pro Futures $25,000 before heading to Paris for two more pro events and the junior French Open.

 

“My mindsets were different in both (Easter Bowl) tournament finals because when I was younger I was really trying to get into the French,” she said. “This tournament I was just focusing on my game and trying to get better for the pros.”

 

Douglas lost in the final for the second straight year, and has now lost four big ITF-level junior finals without a win. “She played well and it was not my day.” Douglas said. “I had so many unforced errors and she hit so many lines. I don’t know, maybe it’s something about finals I’m just not good at. I didn’t feel nervous, but something was off.”

 

 

Douglas will be in Paris for the French Open and then travel to England and Wimbledon this summer. “I’ve got just go home and get better at closing out tournaments,” she said.

 

Sunday’s Results

Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Final)

Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL), 6-4, 0-6, 7-5

Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Final)

Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX), 6-1, 6-2

 

Brandon Nakashima picked a pretty good time to play some of the best tennis he’s ever played.

 

The top-seed in the Boys’ 16s division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior Spring Nationals being played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 15-year-old Nakashima played nearly flawless tennis in a 6-1, 6-2 finals win over No. 13-seeded Stefan Dostanic of Irvine on Saturday.

 

It was the second gold ball in singles for Nakashima, who attends High Bluff Academy near his home in San Diego, to go along with the two he has in doubles.

 

“It feels amazing,” said Nakashima, who played up in the 18s last week in Carson and lost to Patrick Kypson in the third round. “It was a long week. I played probably the best I’ve played the whole tournament. Stefan is a good player and I had to play my best to beat him. All the pressure was on me being the No. 1 seed in the tournament.”

 

Nakashima, who has been working with famed coach Larry Stefanki for the past two years, said he will play once more in the 16s at the USTA Hardcourt Nationals at Kalamazoo in August before graduating full-time to the 18s.

 

“He just didn’t miss,” said Dostanic, 15, who trains with coaches Chuck Brymer and Chris Lewis at the Woodbridge Country Club in Irvine, Calif. “I played him about a year ago and it was the same result. He doesn’t show any emotion and doesn’t give you much to work with. I’m planning on playing Kalamazoo so maybe I can get my revenge there.”

 

It was the first USTA national ball for Dostanic, who attends Woodbridge High School and plays on the high school team.

 

A New York native now living in Charleston, S.C., Emma Navarro got rid of some early match nerves as the No. 5 seed downed unseeded Fiona Crawley of San Antonio, 7-6 (8), 6-0, to win the Girls’ 16s title. Crawley, who upset the No. 1 seed Briana Crowley in the first round, fought off several match points before falling in the first set.

 

“In the second set I loosened up a little bit and once I got the first two games I took it from there,” said Navarro, who won her first gold ball in singles and trains at LTP Tennis in Charleston with coach Peter Ayers.

 

Crawley’s silver ball will look nice displayed next to the bronze one she won at the USTA Spring Team Nationals last year. Crawley trains at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels and attends Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio.

 

“I’ve never done this well at a national tournament,” she said. “I could have never imagined I would have made it this far. I don’t know what is next for me. I was supposed to be playing in a Texas tournament this weekend.”

 

In the Boys’ ITF singles final, 16-year-old Sebastian Korda came back to beat 2015 finalist Sam Riffice, the No. 4 seed from Orlando, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Korda will play in his first ITF final of any kind Sunday against No. 8 seed Alafia Ayeni of San Diego. Ayeni beat No. 6 Patrick Kypson of Greenville, N.C., in the other semifinal, 6-3, 7-5.

 

Two of Korda’s sisters are taking part in the ANA Inspiration LPGA major this week just down the road in Rancho Mirage. The 18-year old Nelly Korda was tied for second place after Friday’s round at Mission Hills Country Club nearly 13 miles away. Jessica Korda is 24 years old and also on the LPGA Tour.

 

“Each day after I play I go over there for a little bit, and then home to rest,” said Korda, whose father Petr and mother Regina Rajchrtová have been going back and forth from the courts to the course.

 

In the Girls’ ITF singles final, top-seed and 2015 champion Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks will take on last year’s finalist Ellie Douglas of McKinney, Texas. Liu had no trouble with No. 3 Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1. Douglas could not convert on nine match points, before No. 2 Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., finally double faulted on the 10th match point and Douglas prevailing, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

 

The Boys’ ITF singles final will be played first at 10 a.m., with the girls to follow, not before 11:30 a.m.

 

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play, Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app, The live stream commentating duties are being provided by the popular Southern California tennis commentator Marcus Tennis, Check www,easterbowl,com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules,

 

Saturday’s Results

Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Semifinals)

Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Patrick Kypson (6) (Greenville, NC), 6-3, 7-5

Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL) def. Sam Riffice (4) (Orlando, FL), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3

Boys’ ITF 18s Doubles (Final)

Oliver Crawford / Patrick Kypson (3) def. Brian Cernoch / Sam Riffice (2), 6-1, 6-4

Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Semifinals)

Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Whitney Osuigwe (3) (Bradenton, FL) 6-1, 6-1

Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX) def. Taylor Johnson (2) (Redondo Beach, CA) 7-6 (3), 6-3

Girls’ ITF 18s Doubles (Final)

Whitney Osuigwe / Caty McNally (1) def. Taylor Johnson / Ann Li (2), 6-3, 7-6 (10)

Boys’ 16 Singles (Final)

Brandon Nakashima (1) (San Diego, CA) def. Stefan Dostanic (13) (Irvine, CA), 6-1, 6-2

Boys’ 16 Singles (Playoff)

Andrew Dale (4) (Leesburg, VA) def. Ryder Jackson (8) (Nicasio, CA) 6-4; 6-2

Girls’ 16 Singles (Final)

Emma Navarro (5) (Charleston, SC) def. Fiona Crawley (San Antonio, TX), 7-6 (8), 6-0

Girls’ 16 Singles (Playoff)

Sedona Gallagher (3) (Henderson, NV) def. Dasha Kourkina (2) (Brooklyn, NY) 6-0, 7-5

 

 

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Owensby Overcomes Seven Match Points To Win Girls’ 14s Title; Play Halted Due To Wind At 50th Adidas Easter Bowl

Owensby Overcomes Seven Match Points To Win Girls’ 14s Title;

Play Halted Due To Wind At 50th Adidas Easter Bowl

(March 30, 2017) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Storyline after storyline. There was no shortage of them at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior National Spring Championships on Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

 

Consider:

 

  • Around 2:30 p.m., play was halted due to 40 mile an hour wind that swept through the Coachella Valley. At 4 p.m., ITF Referee Martha Gregg emerged to announce to all players, parents and coaches that the air quality was too poor to continue and that play was done for the day.
  • While the ITF boys’ singles had concluded, there were still two ITF girls’ matches that were suspended, including top-seeded Claire Liu dropping the first set 6-4 to Elli Mandlik, and up 3-1 in the second set. The two will take to the courts Friday morning and resume play at 9 a.m.
  • Defending champion and No. 2-seeded Gianni Ross was upset by unseeded Jake Sands, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the Round of 16.
  • USTA national gold and silver balls were handed out in the boys’ and girls’ 14s and 12s division as those divisions were completed before the winds came.
  • Charlotte Owensby of Boca Raton, Fla., fought off seven match points to come back down 2-5 in the third set to win the Girls’ 14s singles final over Gianna Pielet, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

 

It was tough to watch the top-seeded Pielet from El Paso, Texas, not able to close out the match, at one point serving and up 5-4, 40-love.

 

“I’ve maybe been down three match points before, but never down that far in games,” Owensby said. “I tried to focus my plan of getting her off the court and that started working and she was making more errors. And that gave me more confidence.”

 

She added: “When she went up 5-4 and 40-love, I definitely thought I was done. Then I just took it one point at a time and just tried to come back. And then at 5-all I just focused on that game and won that game.”

 

Owensby is coached by former WTA world-ranked Top 85 player Yuliya Beygelzimer and recently turned 14. “It feels amazing. I still haven’t processed it that I won the Easter Bowl,” she said after accepting her first USTA national gold ball at her first Easter Bowl.

 

“I had some match points, but just couldn’t close it out,” a distraught Pielet said. “I certainly didn’t play good at all and I think we were both nervous. I can learn from this, for sure. Just to try to play a better match and work on my nerves.”

 

Another player who had a memorable Easter Bowl moment not being able to close out a match was Patrick Kypson, who two years ago held a huge lead over Taylor Fritz only to watch Fritz come back for the win.

 

On Thursday, the No. 6-seeded 17-year-old Kypson posted a solid 6-3, 6-1 win over last week’s Carson ISC champion and tournament No. 9 seed Alexandre Rotsaert, 6-3, 6-1.

 

“I know when he plays well he’s tough to beat, and he always plays me well,” said Kypson, who meets top-seeded Trent Bryde in the quarterfinals on Friday.

 

In the Boys’ 14s final, Alexander Bernard (No. 9 seed, Bonita Springs, Fla.) defeated Aryan Chaudhary (No. 2, Santa Clara, Calif.), 6-4, 6-2.

 

Bernard was set to catch a long flight back to Florida Thursday night, but said he planned to celebrate by perhaps going to McDonalds. “I’ve never had In N Out,” Bernard said. “I should try it.”

 

He added: “I started off making too many mistakes and he was playing good,” said Bernard, 13, who won his first gold ball and trains with Rene Gomez at Gomez Tennis Academy in Naples. “I was just trying to focus on the next point and trying to stay in the rallies.”

 

“This week has been great and I’ve never been here before,” said Chaudhary, who won his first silver ball to go along with a gold in doubles on Wednesday and a copper in a past Winternationals. “I was just looking forward to playing people from around the U.S. It was a great experience for me.”

 

In the Boys’ 12s final, unseeded Kyle Kang of Fullerton, Calif., got the best of fellow unseeded player Nishesh Basavareddy of Carmel, Ind., 6-2, 6-4.

 

“It was fun out there,” said Kang, who just turned 12 recently and is in sixth grade at Hermosa Drive Elementary in Fullerton. “When I started winning it was really fun. I started off down 0-2, but I just focused and was able to hit my shots. My heart was racing on match point.”

 

“He was staying consistent and moving me around,” said Basavareddy, who is 11 and has a singles USTA gold ball from the Winternationals and also won the gold ball in the 12s doubles on Wednesday. “I wasn’t nervous and think my experience helped me.”

 

In the Girls’ 12s final, unseeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento, Calif., downed Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, 6-1, 6-3.

 

Nelson won her first USTA national ball of any kind, and a gold one at that. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” she said. “It feels good to be an Easter Bowl champion. I have practice tomorrow and another tournament to get ready for.”

 

Nelson is 11 and is home schooled. She was also given the 12s USTA Sportsmanship award. Martin Damm was awarded the honor in the 14s division.

 

“The nerves got to me,” said Yu, who is 12 and goes to public school (sixth grade) in Mason. “I learned a lot this week and think I can get a lot better after this.”

 

SIGHTINGS AT THE GARDEN: Larry Stefanki, legendary former coach of John McEnroe, Marcelo Rios and Tim Henman, Tommy Tucker, the 82-year-old Mission Hills Country Club “Tennis Pro Emeritus” and Coachella Valley coaching legend, Former world Top 45 WTA player and current USTA National women’s coach Jamea Jackson, John Evert, son of Jimmy Evert and brother of tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert, Former WTA star and Valley legend Torey Fretz with good friend and famous Welsh singer Iris Williams, a member of the Order of the British Empire, Former UCLA Bruin and noted tennis author Barry Buss, who operates the website: www.tennis.life, former Desert Sun sportswriter and tennis writer Leighton Ginn, covering No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson for his popular blog. Check it out @ginnandtopics on Facebook and Twitter.

 

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play. Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app. The live stream commentating duties are being provided by the popular Southern California tennis commentator Marcus Tennis. Check www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules.

 

Thursday Results

Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Round of 16)

Jake Sands (Pacific Palisades, CA) def. Gianni Ross (2) (Orlando, FL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL) def. Oliver Crawford (5) (Spartanburg, SC) 6-2, 6-3

Sam Riffice (4) (Orlando, FL) def. Trey Hilderbrand (San Antonio, TX) 6-2, 6-3

Brian Cernoch (7) (Deerfield Beach, FL) def. William Grant (Boca Raton, FL) 6-2, 6-3

Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Lukas Greif (11) (Evansville, IN) 6-4, 6-2

Patrick Kypson (6) (Greenville, NC) def. Alexandre Rotsaert (9) (Boca Raton, FL) 6-3, 6-1

Trent Bryde (1) (Suwanee, GA) def. Paul Barretto (Tiburon, CA) 7-5, 6-2

Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Round of 16)

Caty McNally (6) (Cincinnati, OH) def. Alexa Noel (Summit, NJ) 6-2, 6-1

Ann Li (11) (Devon, PA) def. Rachel Lim (Briarcliff Manor, NY) 6-0, 6-1

Whitney Osuigwe (3) (Bradenton, FL) def. Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, CA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Hurricane Tyra Black (10) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Cali Jankowski (Carlsbad, CA) 6-1, 6-3

Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX) def. McCartney Kessler (Calhoun, GA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1

Taylor Johnson (2) (Redondo Beach, CA) def. Vanessa Ong (14) (Oklahoma City, OK) 6-3, 6-2

Elizabeth Mandlik (Boynton Beach, FL) (16) leads Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) 6-4, 1-3

Hailey Baptiste (Washington D.C.) (5) leads Amanda Meyer (Delray Beach, FL) (12) 6-3, 1-6, 5-0

Boys’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinals)

Ryder Jackson (8) (Nicasio, CA) def. Alex Lee (11) (Oak Brook, IL) 7-5, 7-6(4)

Stefan Dostanic (13) (Irvine, CA) def. Jacob Bullard (Calabasas, CA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Andrew Dale (4) (Leesburg, VA) def. Nathan Arimilli (10) (Austin, TX) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1

Brandon Nakashima (1) (San Diego, CA) def. Leighton Allen (6) (Austin, TX) 6-3, 6-2

Girls’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)

Fiona Crawley (San Antonio, TX) def. Audrey Boch-Collins (11) (Las Vegas, NV) 6-4, 6-1

Sedona Gallagher (3) (Henderson, NV) def. Ava Hrastar (8) (Duluth, GA) 6-0, 7-5

Emma Navarro (5) (Charleston, SC) def. Jayci Goldsmith (9) (Dripping Springs, TX) 6-1, 6-3

Boys’ 14 Singles (Final Round)

Alexander Bernard (9) (Bonita Springs, FL) def. Aryan Chaudhary (2) (Santa Clara, CA) 6-4, 6-2

Boys’ 14 Singles (Playoff)

Martin Damm (Bradenton, FL) def. Maxwell McKennon (1) (Newport Beach, CA) 6-2, 6-4

Girls’ 14 Singles (Final Round)

Charlotte Owensby (8) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Gianna Pielet (1) (El Paso, TX) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5

Girls’ 14 Singles (Playoff)

Connie Ma (14) (Dublin, CA) def. Kailey Evans (6) (Ennis, TX) Wo (inj)

Boys’ 12 Singles (Final Round)

Kyle Kang (Fullerton, CA) def. Nishesh Basavareddy (Carmel, IN) 6-2, 6-4

Boys’ 12 Singles (Playoff)

Lucas Brown (3) (Plano, TX) def. Cooper Williams (4) (New York, NY) 6-4, 6-2

Girls’ 12 Singles (Final Round)

Priya Nelson (Sacramento, CA) def. Eleana Yu (Mason, OH) 6-1, 6-3

Girls’ 12 Singles (Playoff)

Matilyn Wang (1) (Scottsdale, AZ) def. Violeta Martinez (9) (Port Saint Lucie, FL) 6-3, 6-2

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Defending Champ Gianni Ross Opens With Win In Defense of 2016 Adidas Easter Bowl Title

(March 28, 2017) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – It’s been 45 years since there’s been a repeat winner in the Boys’ 18s division at the premier junior tennis tournament in the nation. At this week’s 50th Annual Adidas Easter USTA Junior National Spring Championships, Gianni Ross is attempting to be the first to win back-to-back 18s singles titles since 1971-72 when Grey King achieved the feat.

 

On Tuesday, Ross opened play at the prestigious event taking place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with a straight-set, 7-5, 6-1, win over Palo Alto’s Conrad Russell on the same main show Court 2 where he beat former doubles partner John McNally last April for the coveted Easter Bowl title.

 

Ross had a wide grin on his face for a few hours after the victory on Tuesday. “This is a fun tournament for me,” he said. “I like everything: conditions, courts, balls. So I’m ready. It felt really dry for me today for some reason. I had to keep putting water on my hands. It was just so dry. Maybe because I was just coming from Carson. It was so gloomy and cold there to the hot and dry here.”

 

Ross played in the Carson International Spring Championships singles final on Sunday falling to Alexandre Rotsaert of Boca Raton, Fla., the No. 9 Easter Bowl ITF seed and another straight-set winner on Tuesday.

 

“I was depressed for a day, but you can’t ask for more than a final,” Ross said. “So I’m happy and I hope I can do just as well here.”

 

Ross was told there had only been one repeat boys’ 18s winner in the 50-year history of the tournament and was asked if he felt pressure. “No,” Ross said emphatically. “I shouldn’t feel pressure. There’s pressure to win every win match. So why should this week be any different.”

 

He said winning the Easter Bowl last year made his name a little more well-known. “Winning last year was great,” said Ross, who suffered an illness that kept him off the court during the summer. “If I could get back and do it twice, that would be amazing. It was important for my last year to win this last year.”

 

To go pro, or enter the collegiate ranks is the pressing question that looms for Ross. “It’s still right there, deciding whether to go to college or turn pro,” he said. “I don’t think about it day by day. I just wake up and play tennis and try to get better. And that’s about it.”

 

Redondo Beach’s Taylor Johnson has never won the Easter Bowl, but after her dominating 6-1, 6-0, first-round win over Chloe Hamlin of Bristol, Tenn., Johnson looks like a definite top contender to win this year’s title.

 

Like Ross, Johnson fell in the Carson ISC final Sunday to a player who is not entered in this week’s tournament, Carson Branstine.

 

“Reaching the final last week gave me a lot of confidence,” said the lefty Johnson, who is coached by tennis legend and Coachella Valley resident Rosie Casals. “Just working with Rosie these past four or five years has helped me so much. I like to serve and volley and she’s really helped me with that.”

 

The 16-year-old Johnson said she stuck to her game plan Tuesday, and hopes to do the same in the second round against Southern California rival Kelly Chen, who she beat in three sets in a nearly four-hour marathon match in the second round at Carson.

 

“I hope it’s not as long as last week’s match but I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Johnson said. “I was down in all three sets and faced a match point against her in the third set. It was tough, but I was able to pull through.”

 

Last year’s Girls’ ITF finalist Ellie Douglas, the No. 4 seed from McKinney, Texas, beat Jessica Anzo of Temecula, 6-3, 6-0, in her first-round match.

 

Also posting a win in the first round in the Boys’ ITF singles was top-seeded Trent Bryde of Suwanee, Ga., who best Benjamin Gollin of Solana Beach, Calif., 6-1, 7-6 (4).

 

ADIDAS EASTER BOWL SIGHTINGS ON TUESDAY: 1973 Boys’ 18s Easter Bowl champion and renowned Florida coach Nick Saviano; Stanford University men’s tennis coach Paul Goldstein; Former UCLA star Nick Miester; Former world-ranked No. 69 Jesse Levine; Son of legendary Bobby Riggs, Larry Riggs. Continuing on yesterday’s theme of former pro players with sons or daughters in the draw, 40-time ATP doubles winner Martin Damm’s son Martin Jr. of Bradenton, Fla., advanced to the semifinals in the Boys’ 14s. Damm partnered with Leander Paes to win the 2006 US Open, his only Grand Slam title.

 

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play. Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app. The live stream commentating duties are being provided by the popular Southern California tennis commentator Marcus Tennis. Check www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules.

 

By Steve Pratt

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Easter Bowl To Celebrate 50th Anniversary March 25-April 2 At Indian Wells Tennis Garden

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The Easter Bowl USTA Junior National Spring Championships Presented by Adidas will celebrate its 50th tournament starting tomorrow / March 25-April 2 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

 

Started in 1968 in New York City by Seena Hamilton, the Easter Bowl tournament is currently directed by chairman Lornie Kuhle and has always been a direct “pathway to the pros” for aspiring tennis players as nearly every American who has achieved success on the world’s tennis stage in the Open era has played the Easter Bowl, including current American stars Jack Sock, Stevie Johnson, John Isner, Madison Keys and CiCi Bellis.

 

The 50th annual Easter Bowl has returned as a designated USTA National Championship this year, meaning there will be gold, silver and bronze balls awarded for finalists and the third-place winner in all divisions. The 18s divisions will remain an ITF Level B1 event and closed to only the top U.S. junior players who will play for valuable ITF ranking points.

 

The site of the Easter Bowl is once again the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home of the recently concluded BNP Paribas Open, and other tennis facilities and country clubs around the Coachella Valley.

 

The event begins Saturday with qualifying in the 12s and 14s divisions and will conclude with the ITF boys’ and girls’ division finals on Sunday, April 2.

 

Top players in the Boys’ ITF division include defending champion Gianni Ross, ranked No. 18 in the ITF Junior world rankings and expected to be seeded No. 2. Trent Bryde of Suwanee, Ga. Bryde, currently ranked No. 11 in the world rankings, played in the Australian Open Juniors main draw in January, and won both the singles and doubles at the Grade A ITF in Brazil in February. He beat fellow American Vasil Kirkov from Tampa., Fla., in the semifinals in three sets. Kirkov is the No. 19-ranked ITF player and comes in as the No. 3 Easter Bowl seed.

 

Bryde lost to eventual ITF champion Ross in the quarterfinals at last year’s Easter Bowl while Kirkov advanced to the semifinals before being taken out by runner-up John McNally. Sam Riffice, 2015 Easter Bowl 16s champion Oliver Crawford, Danny Thomas, Brian Cernoch and Patrick Kypson are other top players.

 

On the girls’ side, last year’s singles finalist Ellie Douglas of McKinney, Texas, returns and will likely be seeded within the top four as her current ITF ranking is No. 28. Taylor Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., will be the top-seeded player as she is ranked No. 14 the ITF. Johnson is coached by local Coachella Valley resident Rosie Casals. Carson Branstine from Orange, Calif., is the No. 2-seed and No. 15 in the world. Whitney Osuigwe recently received a WTA world ranking as she made it to the Round of 16 at the Tampa ITF Pro Futures tournament.

 

This Sunday night, Team USA will once again hold its annual awards night in conjunction with the player party, which includes a free meal to all players catered by the Old Spaghetti Factory in Rancho Mirage. The USTA has announced that Mike Gennette, coach of top juniors Claire Liu and Austen Huang, and Henner Nehles, coach of rising American 17-year old Kayla Day, were named as the 2016 Team USA Developmental Coaches of the Year as part of USTA Player Development’s annual Team USA Coaching Awards.

 

Other award winners include Smith Tennis in Indianapolis, recognized as the 2016 Team USA Developmental Program of the Year, while USTA Northern California was named the 2016 Team USA Player Development Section of the Year. Tennis icon Billie Jean King, renowned coach Rick Macci and University of Georgia legend Dan Magill are also being honored with Team USA Legendary Coaching Awards.

 

“This year the Adidas Easter Bowl is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and we are so fortunate to have the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as our host site for this prestigious event and I want to personally thank them,” Easter Bowl chairman Lornie Kuhle said. “The Adidas Easter Bowl is now a U.S. National Championship in all divisions: boys’ and girls’ 12s, 14s, 16, and 18s, making it the only National Championship in the country to host all divisions in one location. At this year’s BNP Paribas Open, nearly every American in the main draw had once played the Easter Bowl proving the Adidas Easter Bowl is truly a pathway to the pros.”

 

Once again this year, the Easter Bowl will allow $10,000 in travel grants that will be awarded evenly in the boys’ and girls’ ITF divisions beginning in the round of 16. The grants will take the form of vouchers for airline travel and hotel expenses. The travel grants will be awarded as follows: Winner and finalist: $750; semifinalist: $500; quarterfinalist: $325; Round of 16: $150.

 

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, Kuhle also announced the tournament’s updated mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play. Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app.

 

Check back to www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules.

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Miomir Kecmanovic Wins Historic Second-Consecutive Orange Bowl Boys’ 18s Singles Title

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Miomir Kecmanovic poses with the Orange Bowl trophy (Rob Foldy / USTA)

Plantation, Fla. – If 17-year old Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic makes history on the pro tour like he has on the junior circuit, it will be hard to avoid comparing him to his 12-time Grand Slam champion countryman.

Kecmanovic won the Metropolia Orange Bowl Boys’ 18s singles title for the second consecutive year on Sunday, beating China’s Yibing Wu, 6-3, 6-1, on green clay at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla.

Kecmanovic, who will finish the year as the world’s No. 1-ranked junior, is the third player in the Orange Bowl’s 70-year history to win consecutive Boys’ 18s singles titles, joining Billy Martin (1973-74) and Harold Solomon (1969-70).

Kecmanovic also joins Dominic Thiem (2011) and Andy Roddick (1999) as the only players to win the Boys’ 18s singles titles at both the Eddie Herr in Bradenton, Fla., and Orange Bowl in the same year, dating back to 1993 (the tournaments are played in consecutive weeks).

Each of those are achievements Novak Djokovic, never mind most other tennis players, never accomplished as a junior. Even so, Kecmanovic – who stays in touch and occasionally practices with Djokovic – knows he has plenty of work ahead of him as he transitions to a full-time pro career.

“It’s a great accomplishment. I’m very happy about it. I really didn’t put too much pressure into it, because I knew I would finish No. 1 no matter what I did here. I just went and I just played for myself and enjoyed every match,” said Kecmanovic, who moved to Bradenton in 2013 to train at the IMG Academy, where he is now coached by Marko Jovanovic.

“Obviously, this is very good to do here now, but it’s a lot more important to do after (in the pros),” he said. “I think next year the transition is going to be key for me, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Kaja Juvan reacts after match point in the Girls’ 18s singles final (Rob Foldy / USTA)

 

Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan certainly looked impressive enough to turn pro on Sunday. The 16-year old Juvan, seeded ninth this week, used a deft and diverse arsenal of groundstrokes and drop shots to stifle top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Russian Anastasia Potapova in a 6-1, 6-4 victory to win the Girls’ 18s title.

Consider this a victory that began in May for Juvan. That’s when she beat Potapova in their first meeting, at the Trofeo Bonfiglio junior event in Milan, before Potapova went on to win the Wimbledon girls’ singles title.

“More than anything else, I think I learned that it’s actually possible for me to beat some of the best players, because before that I didn’t kind of trust myself that I would be able to play with the best. That tournament gave me such a confidence boost, and that I can play with the best players, that I can beat them, I just shouldn’t be afraid of them,” Juvan said.

“I just told myself (today) that I have to just be focused on my game and play as diverse as I

can, because I know that that doesn’t suit her,” she said. “That’s what helped me. Also the wind a little bit. I took great advantage of it.”

Potapova agreed with that analysis, but took the loss in stride. The 15-year old Russian will still be the year-end No. 1-ranked junior in the world, and now plans to put junior tennis behind her.

“She likes to play against me, because it’s so comfortable to her. I chose the wrong style of tennis today. Next time, maybe,” Potapova said. “In the final, she did really well and she played her best tennis. All I can say is congrats to her and good job.”

Potapova did leave Plantation with a title, as she and Serbian Olga Danilovic beat Juvan and Croatian Lea Boskovic, 6-2, 3-6 [10-8], after a five-hour rain delay.

In an all-Japanese Boys 18s doubles final, fourth-seeded Toru Horie and Yuta Shimizu downed unseeded Shinji Hazawa and Naoki Tajima, 6-2, 6-1.

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USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships Results

 

Kayla Day

San Diego, Calif. – (August 14, 2016) – Top-seeded Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., capped an impressive run to the Girls’ 18s singles title at the USTA National Championships by winning a tough three-set final 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 over seventh-seeded Nicole Frenkel of Winchester, Mass.

In addition to being presented a USTA gold ball for winning the national championship, Day was awarded a wild card into the women’s singles main draw of the US Open, which will take place August 29 through September 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Playing on Stadium Court at the Barnes Tennis Center, Day scored two early service breaks to take a 4-0 lead and would go on to win the first set 6-2 in 41 minutes. In the second set, Day broke Frenkel in the third game and then held serve for a 3-1 lead and appeared to be headed for a straight-set victory.

However, Frenkel cut down on her errors and found her groove and went on to win the next five games in a row to secure the second set 6-3 and send the match to a third and deciding set.

After both players held serve to begin the third set, Day took control of the deciding set, losing only seven points as she won the last five games in a row to secure the match and the championship.

“It feels amazing. I can’t even describe how good it feels. I’m just so happy. My serve really helped me out in the third set and I just played solid,” Day said.

“There were two turning points in the match. The first one was at 3-1 in the second set. She started playing better and my level (dropped) a little bit,” said Day, who will turn 17 in September. “The second turning point was when I broke her to go up 3-1 in the third.”

Carson Branstine of Orange, Calif., got past Amanda Anisimova of Aventura, Fla., 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 in the Girls’ 18s third-place playoff. Branstine was awarded a USTA bronze ball for her victory.

In the Girls’ 18s Doubles Championship, fifth-seeded Jada Hart of Colton, Calif., and Ena Shibahara of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., defeated ninth-seeded Meible Chi of Weston, Fla., and Taylor Russo of Deerfield Beach, Fla., 6-1, 6-4 to win the title. Hart and Shibahara were awarded USTA gold balls after the match. They also received a US Open wild card into the women’s doubles main draw.

Complete scores and results for each division of the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s Nationals Championships can be viewed at:  http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=171037

In addition to the US Open wild cards that are traditionally awarded to the 16s and 18s singles champions and 18s doubles champions, additional wild cards for the US Open Junior Championships and wild cards to various USTA Women’s Pro Circuit tournaments will also be awarded this year.  For the complete list of wild cards to be awarded go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/about.html.

About USTA Girls’ 16s – 18s Nationals:
The USTA Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships are the premiere hard court tennis tournaments for amateur and professional American girls aged 18 and 16 and under in the United States. In 2010, both age groups began playing their events concurrently at San Diego’s Barnes Tennis Center. Tournament participants, who represent nearly every state in the United States, have been endorsed by their respective USTA Section or have received USTA special exemptions based on their results in qualifying tournaments, junior rankings, or results on the WTA Tour or International Tennis Federation Junior Circuit.  Past tournament champions include Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger, Zina Garrison, Mary Jo Fernandez, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport.

About George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center:
The Center is owned and operated by Youth Tennis San Diego. It was built in 1995 and completed in 1997. The $4.5 million junior tennis facility was made possible with generous public and private donations and is named after the lead donor family – the “George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center.” The Center, which is dedicated to the youth of San Diego, offers children 18 and under court priority over adults with advanced reservations.

About Youth Tennis San Diego:
Youth Tennis San Diego is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that has been in existence since 1952.  Earlier this year, Youth Tennis San Diego was recognized with the USTA Organization Member of the Year Award. The  award  is  given  annually  to  an  organization  that  provides  outstanding  service  to its members  and  to the  local  community. YTSD was honored at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference, March 11-14, at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

The YTSD Mission is:  “To promote the educational, physical, and social development of all youth through organized tennis and educational activities.” Their community programs encourage youth participation, personal integrity, leadership, and competitive spirit in a friendly environment that builds responsible citizens.  YTSD provides thousands of youngsters each year the opportunity to play tennis after school at their neighborhood school. The After School Tennis program provides a safe haven for hundreds of youngsters who are not supervised after school. Through tennis, the children learn the success skills which will give them the confidence and self-esteem needed to confront the negative influences so often found on the streets where they live.
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USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s Nationals
Barnes Tennis Center
San Diego, Calif.
Sunday’s Results

Girls’ 18s Singles
Championship
Kayla Day (1), Santa Barbara, Calif., def. Nicole Frenkel (7), Winchester, Mass., 6-2, 3-6, 6-1

Third Place
Carson Branstine (17), Orange, Calif., def. Amanda Anisimova (5), Aventura, Fla., 7-5, 5-7, 6-1

Girls’ 18s Doubles
Championship
Jada Hart (5), Colton, Calif., and Ena Shibahara, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., def. Meible Chi (9), Weston, Fla., and Taylor Russo, Deerfield Beach, Fla., 6-1, 6-4

rded go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/about.html.

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Player Field Announced for USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships

girls 16 18 s

San Diego, Calif. – (July 25, 2016) – Tournament officials have announced the field of competitors for the upcoming United States Tennis Association Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships, which are scheduled to be played August 6-14, 2016 at the Barnes Tennis Center, 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92107.

Nearly 400 girls aged 16 and 18 and under from across the United States and Puerto Rico will compete for the title of National Champion. The tournament will feature the top junior players from each of the 17 USTA Sections.

Defending 18s singles champion Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., is among the players entered in this year’s event. Other entries in the Girls’ 18s division include 2016 Wimbledon Girls’ Singles semifinalist Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Usue Arconada of Rio Piedras, P.R. and Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who combined to win the Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles title earlier this month.

The complete player entry list for the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships, can be viewed at:  http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=171037#&&s=5

The tournament also features a strong contingent of San Diego-area players. The following local competitors are entered in this year’s USTA Girls’ Nationals:

Julia Deming, Fallbrook, Calif. —Girl’s 16s
Emily Dush
, Chula Vista, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Elizabeth Goldsmith, Chula Vista, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Julia Haynes
, San Diego, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Amy Huang, San Diego, Calif. —    Girl’s 16s
Cali Jankowski
, Carlsbad, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Jennifer Kerr, Carlsbad, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Alexandra Kuo
, La Jolla, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Nicole Mossmer, La Jolla, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Britt Pursell
, Oceanside, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Jennifer Richards, San Diego, Calif. — Girl’s 18s
Hannah Zhao
, San Diego, Calif. — Girl’s 18s

“We are very impressed with the depth of our player fields this year in the Girls’ 16s and 18s divisions and are anticipating a very competitive tournament throughout the week.” said Co-Tournament Director Liz Blum. “This is a great opportunity for fans to watch some great tennis as well as some future stars.”

The Girls’ 16s event will begin on Saturday, Aug. 6 and conclude with the singles and doubles finals on Saturday Aug. 13. The Girls’ 18s tournament will get underway on Sunday, Aug. 7 and conclude with the 18s singles championship on Sunday, Aug. 14. Both divisions will feature 192-player singles draws and doubles draws with 96 teams.

In addition to the US Open wild cards that are traditionally awarded to the 16s and 18s singles champions and 18s doubles champions, additional wild cards for the US Open Junior Championships and wild cards to various USTA Women’s Pro Circuit tournaments will also be awarded this year.  For the complete list of wild cards to be awarded, go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/about.html.

The Opening Ceremony for the USTA National Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Barnes Tennis Center.

Early-round matches will also be played at San Diego State University’s Aztec Tennis Center, 5375 Remington Rd., San Diego, CA, 92115, from Saturday, Aug. 6 through Tuesday, Aug. 9.

Admission and on-site parking at the Barnes Tennis Center is free each day of the tournament. For fans watching matches at SDSU, admission is free, but there is a nominal charge for on-campus parking. University parking regulations will be strictly enforced.

About USTA Girls’ 16s – 18s Nationals:
The USTA Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships are the premiere hard court tennis tournaments for amateur and professional American girls aged 18 and 16 and under in the United States. In 2010, both age groups began playing their events concurrently at San Diego’s Barnes Tennis Center. Tournament participants, who represent nearly every state in the United States, have been endorsed by their respective USTA Section or have received USTA special exemptions based on their results in qualifying tournaments, junior rankings, or results on the WTA Tour or International Tennis Federation Junior Circuit.  Past tournament champions include Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger, Zina Garrison, Mary Jo Fernandez, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport.

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Sofia Kenin and Ulises Blanch Lead US Juniors to Compete at the French Open Junior Championships

USTA Shield Logo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 26, 2016 – Ulises Blanch, the No. 3-ranked junior in the world, and 2015 USTA Girls’ 18s National Champion and US Open girls’ finalist Sofia Kenin lead a deep field of American boys and girls currently set to compete at the French Open Junior Championships in Paris.

With 12 girls and nine boys entered into the main draw or qualifying, the U.S. has the most players entered into the Roland Garros junior draw via direct acceptance by a wide margin. China and Japan, the next-highest countries, each have eight. Additionally, two of the top three girls’ seeds will be American – No. 2 Amanda Anisimova and No. 3 Kayla Day.

American juniors will look to continue their recent success at the French Open. Three of the boys’ singles semifinalists were American last year, with Tommy Paul beating Taylor Fritz in the first all-American French Open boys’ singles final, dating back to 1947. CiCi Bellis also reached the girls’ semifinals in 2015, while Paul, William Blumberg, Caroline Dolehide and Katerina Stewart were all doubles finalists.

USTA Player Development National Coaches Leo Azevedo, Sylvain Guichard, Jamea Jackson, Henner Nehles and Adam Peterson will be providing support to all American players participating in the French Open junior championships. Players participating in the main draw will receive a $1250 grant from USTA Player Development, and those players’ full-time, personal coaches traveling with them to Paris will also receive a $1250 grant.

U.S. Girls in French Open Juniors

Main Draw

Amanda Anisimova (14, Hallandale Beach, Fla.; Coaches: Konstantin and Olga Anisimova, Nick Saviano)

Kayla Day (16, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Coaches: Henner Nehles, Mike Gennette)

Usue Arconada (17, College Park, Md.; Coach: Frank Salazar)

Sofia Kenin (17, Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Coach: Alex Kenin and Stephen Huss)

Alexandra Sanford (17, Westerville, Ohio; Coach: Henner Nehles)

Maria Mateas (16; Braintree, Mass.; Coach: Calin Mateas)

Michaela Gordon (16, Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Coach: Alex Poorta)

Morgan Coppoc (17, Tulsa, Okla.; Coach: Trent Tucker)

Caty McNally (14, Cincinnati; Coach: Lynn Nabors-McNally)

#Claire Liu (16, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Coach: Adam Peterson, Mike Gennette)

#Received a special exemption main draw entry with her results at this week’s Astrid Bowl junior tournament in Belgium.

Qualifying

Ellie Douglas (15, McKinney, Texas; Coach: Luis Herrera)

Natasha Subhash (14, Fairfax, Va.; Coach: Bear Schofield)

U.S. Boys in French Open Juniors

Main Draw

Ulises Blanch (18, Pompano Beach, Fla; Coaches: Daniel Garcia, Rodrigo Alvarez, Claudio Menna)

John McNally (17, Cincinnati; Coach: Lynn Nabors-McNally)

J.J. Wolf (17, Cincinnati; Coach: David Kass)

Nathan Ponwith (18, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Coach: Lou Belken)

Sam Riffice (17, Roseville, Calif.; Coach: Lori Riffice)

Vasil Kirkov (17, Tampa, Fla.; Coaches: Leo Azevedo, Stoyan Kirkov)

*Brandon Holt (18, Rolling Hills, Calif.; Coach: Peter Lucassen)

Qualifying

Oliver Crawford (17, Spartanburg, S.C.; Coaches: Anthony Stewart, Kelly Jones)

Gianni Ross (17, Chicago; Coaches: Jack Sharpe, Robbye Poole)

* Received a main draw wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation.

 

 

Related Article:

Defending Champion Sofia Kenin Headlines Orange Bowl

A First Round Loss at US Open for Sofia Kenin Provides the “Best Experience”

 

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Line-up Confirmed for 2016 ITF Junior Masters

ITF

(January 25, 2016) Hungarian duo Dalma Galfi, the 2015 ITF Girls World Champion, and Mate Valkusz, the current boys’ world No. 1, head the entry for the 2016 ITF Junior Masters taking place at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre in Chengdu, China on 8-10 April.

 

The ITF Junior Masters, now in its second year, is an international event showcasing eight male and eight female players who qualify on the basis of their 18-and-under ITF Junior World Ranking at the end of the year. The ITF Junior Masters consists of two knock-out singles events, with each player guaranteed three matches to determine their final finishing position. Players will compete for a total prize fund of $160,000 in travel grants, and will also compete for wild cards into professional events.

 

The following players will contest the 2016 ITF Junior Masters:

 

Women’s singles


Dalma Galfi (HUN)
Katie Swan (GBR)
Anna Blinkova (RUS)
Tereza Mihalikova (SVK)
Usue Arconada (USA)
Sofia Kenin (USA)
Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN)
Kayla Day (USA)

 

Men’s singles


Casper Ruud (NOR)
Mate Valkusz (HUN)
Hong Seong Chan (KOR)
Marcelo Barrios Vera (CHI)
Orlando Luz (BRA)
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)
William Blumberg (USA)
Alvaro Lopez San Martin (ESP)

 

Galfi, the 2015 US Open junior champion, lines up alongside Australian Open junior champion Tereza Mihalikova and runner-up Katie Swan, and Wimbledon junior finalist Anna Blinkova. They will be joined by Sofia Kenin, a member of the United States’ 2014 Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas winning team.

 

Valkusz, who took over the boys’ No. 1 ranking at the start of 2016, heads up the men’s entries alongside 2015 Orange Bowl junior champion Miomir Kecmanovic, Australian Open junior runner-up Hong Seong Chan and 2014 double Youth Olympic medallist Orlando Luz. They will be joined by 2013 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas winner Alvaro Lopez San Martin.

 

The provision of travel grants is one of the ways in which the ITF Junior Masters assists these top juniors in making a transition from junior tennis to the professional game. Each player competing in the 2016 ITF Junior Masters will earn a minimum travel grant of $7,000, while the boys’ and girls’ champions will both be awarded $15,000 travel grants. Players will also compete for wild cards into professional events donated by National Associations, with further details to be confirmed later this year.

 

The Sichuan International Tennis Centre will host the event for the second year as part of the ITF’s three-year agreement with the Chinese Tennis Association and the Chengdu Sport Bureau. The centre, which was built in 2008 and consists of 32 hard courts, has hosted several international events. The ITF Junior Masters will be staged on the centre’s two show courts, including a 6,000-capacity centre court, with matches broadcast by Sichuan TV and streamed live over the three days of competition.

 

The ITF Junior Masters joins the ITF junior team competitions, the 14-and-under ITF World Junior Tennis competition, and 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, as the premier junior events on the 2016 ITF calendar.

 

Related article:

A First Round Loss at US Open for Sofia Kenin Provides the “Best Experience”

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USTA Eastern Junior Awards Gala

Junior player Matthew Gamble receives his award from Justin Gimelstob and Katrina Adams at the Junior Awards Gala on Day 1 at the US Open.

Junior player Matthew Gamble receives his award from Justin Gimelstob and Katrina Adams at the Junior Awards Gala on Day 1 at the US Open.

By Dave Gertler

(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The achievements of USTA Eastern juniors in tournaments over the last 12 months, and the dedication of their families, was celebrated at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center before the first ball was struck at the US Open on Monday, at the 2014 Junior Awards Gala. Future stars of American tennis gathered to hear guest speakers, including former professional player and current Tennis Channel broadcaster Justin Gimelstob, honor the achievements of 30 junior players, as well as present awards to the top three in each age group.

 

“As you see out there today, for the next 15 days, this is an incredible sport,” said Gimelstob, “This sport challenges you in a way physically, mentally, tactically, emotionally, that almost nothing else can compete with, in an individual way. To find enjoyment in that, you’re a unique bunch.”

 

First Vice President of the USTA, and former world No.8 doubles player Katrina Adams, also praised the dedication of the kids and their families. While the complete list of award-winners from each age group is listed below, there were a small group of players who won awards in multiple age categories.

 

“I play every day, try to get better every day,” said Matthew Gamble, who was the top achiever in the 16s Boys category, as well as third overall in the 18s. “It’s a big part of my life.” Gamble cites the interaction with other players as an important part of the sport for him, saying, “Lately I’ve done more and more team events, so the team aspect and just playing your best, giving 100%.”

 

The junior from Rochester doesn’t want to stop here. While his favorite player, Rafael Nadal, was absent from the US Open this year, perhaps Gamble might one day find himself facing his idol at his home slam. “I obvioiusly want to play college tennis,” said Gamble, “And then after college, I’m gonna try to go pro and make it on the pro tour.”

 

The USTA Eastern Section, based in White Plains, N.Y., is a not-for-profit community service organization whose mission is to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The section encompasses all of New York State, Northern New Jersey and Greenwich, Conn. It is one of 17 geographic sections of the United States Tennis Association, the governing body of tennis in the United States, and supports more than 49,000 members.

 

Exceptional players recognized at the Awards Gala:

 

Boys’ 10s:

1. Ty Switzer (New York, N.Y.)
2. Evan Wen (Morristown, N.J.)
3. Julian Wu (Tenafly, N.J.)

Girls’ 10s:

1. Stephanie Yakoff (Fort Lee, N.J.)
2. Amaya Goulbourne (Pelham, N.Y.)
3. Hailey Stoerback (Saint James, N.Y.)

Boys’ 12s:

1. Billy Suarez (Huntington, N.Y.)
2. Jeffrey Fradkin (New York, N.Y.)
3. Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands, N.Y.)

Girls’ 12s:

1. Rosie Garcia Gross (New York, N.Y.)
2. Gabriella Price (Montebello, N.Y.)
3. Alexa Noel (Summit, N.J.)

Boys’ 14s:

1. Sean Wei (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.)
2. Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands, N.Y.)
3. Michael Sun (Livingston, N.J.)

Girls’ 14s:

1. Rachel Lim (Braircliff Manor, N.Y.)
2. Lea Ma (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3. Anna Brylin (Short Hills, N.J.)

Boys’ 16s:

1. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)
2. Brenden Volk (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3. Jordan Benjamin (Fairport, N.Y.)

Girls’ 16s:

1. Stephanie Schrage (Millburn, N.J.)
2. Rachel Lim (Braircliff Manor, N.Y.)
3. Sabrina Xiong (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)

Boys’ 18s:

1. Daniel Grunberger (Great Neck, N.Y.)
2. Daniel Kerznerman (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)

Girls’ 18s:

1. Katharine Fahey (Fair Haven, N.J.)
2. Sabrina Xiong (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)
3. Rima Asatrian (Tenafly, N.J.)

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