Venus Williams Withdraws From Fed Cup Tie Against Italy

Venus Williams

(April 14, 2015) Venus Williams has pulled out of this weekend’s Fed Cup playoff in Italy due to “a personal matter.”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced that Williams will be replaced by No 57 Lauren Davis.

No. 1 Serena Williams will lead team USA which also includes No. 45 Alison Riske and No. 65 Christina McHale.

The Italian team consists No. 15 Sara Errani, No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, No. 36 Camila Giorgi and No. 55 Karin Knapp.

The United States will face Italy for the fifth time in seven years in the Fed Cup World Group Playoff, held at Circolo Tennis Brindisi on an outdoor red clay court, this weekend April 18-19. The winner of best-of-five series will move into the World Group in 2016 for a chance to play for the Fed Cup title. The losing nation will fall back to World Group II.

The U.S. leads the overall series against Italy 9-4, losing the last four ties.


USTA Announces 2015 Schedule for Har-Tru Wildcard Challenge for US Players to Earn a Wild Card into Roland Garros

USTA Shield Logo

From the USTA – WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 13, 2015 – The USTA today announced the tournaments for the Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, which utilizes the USTA Pro Circuit to award wild cards into the French Open. The three women’s events will be hosted in Dothan, Ala.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and the three men’s events will take place in Sarasota, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; and Tallahassee, Fla. The challenge kicks off today in Sarasota for the men’s events and Monday, April 20, in Dothan for the women’s events.
Har-Tru Sports, the leading provider of clay tennis courts, is in its third year as title sponsor of the challenge. This year, in conjunction with the wild card challenge, Har-Tru is launching a new campaign to recognize court maintenance professionals through the “Love Your Court, Love Your Game” campaign and contest with a cash prize. Har-Tru is also introducing “Court Care Professionals Day” on June 7.
In the Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points at two of the three selected USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events earn main draw wild cards into the French Open. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2015 French Open and 2015 US Open are exchanged.
All tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. Fans can also download the USTA Pro Circuit app by searching “procircuit” in the app store to follow the action on their cell phones.
The Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge consists of the following USTA Pro Circuit events:
USTA Pro Circuit Men’s Events
  • 2015 Sarasota Open, $100,000 Sarasota, Fla. (week of April 13)
  • St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger, $50,000 Savannah, Ga. (week of April 20)
  • USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, $50,000 Tallahassee, Fla. (week of April 27)
USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Events
  • Hardee’s Pro Classic, $50,000 Dothan, Ala. (week of April 20)
  • Boyd Tinsley Women’s Clay Court Classic, $50,000 Charlottesville, Va. (week of April 27)
  • Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic, $50,000 Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. (week of May 4)
Har-Tru’s “Love Your Court, Love Your Game,” campaign and contest empower tennis players, club staff and contractors to nominate their court-care professional(s) who go above and beyond to create great playing experiences for their members. The impetus of this campaign is to demonstrate appreciation for the people who create an optimal tennis environment that is key to players’ success. The campaign will kick off on Monday, April 13, and end on Sunday, May 10. The winner or winning team will be announced on Sunday, June 7, and receive a $5,000 cash prize. Fans of all ages can create a video, showcasing their appreciation for court-care professionals and the impact their work has had on their game. Submissions can be made by visiting www.loveyourcourt.com.
Sunday, June 7, will also mark “Court Care Professionals Day,” which will honor the contest winner and recognize and celebrate court-care professionals that maintain and preserve great clay-court tennis environments.
“We are so pleased that we have developed the ‘Love Your Court, Love Your Game’ campaign,” said Pat Hanssen, General Manager of Har-Tru Sports. “It’s so important to recognize the contributions of the behind-the-scenes champions for our sport and our industry. To my knowledge this is something that no other manufacturer has done and it’s something that is long overdue.”
The USTA first used this wild-card challenge format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker. Oudin and Baker each advanced to the second round at that year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. In 2013, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open. Last year, young American Taylor Townsend and veteran Robby Ginepri earned the wild card cards, with Townsend becoming a top storyline at Roland Garros by reaching the third round.
The 2015 French Open main draw will be held Sunday, May 24, to Sunday, June 7.
Information on the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will be available at www.procircuit.usta.com, www.HarTru.com, and on Twitter through @USTAProCircuit and #HarTruWildcard.

Tennis – Monte-Carlo Results


ATP World Tour Masters 1000 €3,288,530 (€3,830,295 Total Financial Commitment)
Monte Carlo, Monaco (+1 hour GMT)
12 – 19 April 2015 Surface: Clay


Singles – First Round
[12] R. Bautista Agut (ESP) d B. Becker (GER) 60 62
A. Haider-Maurer (AUT) d [13] E. Gulbis (LAT) 61 60
[15] J. Isner (USA) d S. Johnson (USA) 64 64
[Q] A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) d [LL] R. Haase (NED) 61 61
D. Goffin (BEL) d [Q] N. Gombos (SVK) 61 64
[Q] B. Paire (FRA) d [Q] D. Kudla (USA) 63 76(3)
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 76(3) 46 64
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) d M. Kukushkin (KAZ) 64 64
J. Sousa (POR) d [Q] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 61 36 60
F. Fognini (ITA) d J. Janowicz (POL) 63 61
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d B. Coric (CRO) 75 57 62

Doubles – First Round
G. Dimitrov (BUL) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) d M. Draganja (CRO) / H. Kontinen (FIN) 61 63
[PR] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / F. Mayer (GER) d B. Tomic (AUS) / V. Troicki (SRB) 76(7) 60
[WC] R. Arneodo (MON) / B. Balleret (MON) d J. Chardy (FRA) / M. Cilic (CRO) 76(2) 57 10-6


COURT CENTRAL start 10:30 am
[14] [WC] G. Monfils (FRA) vs [Q] A. Kuznetsov (RUS)
[11] J. Tsonga (FRA) vs [LL] J. Struff (GER)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Q] A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
V. Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs [5] D. Ferrer (ESP)

COURT DES PRINCES start 10:30 am
D. Thiem (AUT) vs [WC] L. Pouille (FRA)
[16] T. Robredo (ESP) vs A. Seppi (ITA)
F. Verdasco (ESP) vs [9] G. Dimitrov (BUL)
[PR] F. Mayer (GER) vs [8] M. Cilic (CRO)

COURT 2 start 10:30 am
J. Vesely (CZE) vs J. Monaco (ARG)
J. Chardy (FRA) vs [Q] D. Schwartzman (ARG)
[10] G. Simon (FRA) vs [WC] B. Balleret (MON)
J. Murray (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) vs G. Monfils (FRA) / J. Tsonga (FRA)

COURT 9 start 10:30 am
M. Granollers (ESP) vs A. Mannarino (FRA)
R. Bopanna (IND) / F. Mergea (ROU) vs [WC] B. Paire (FRA) / S. Wawrinka (SUI)
V. Troicki (SRB) vs M. Klizan (SVK)
B. Tomic (AUS) vs A. Haider-Maurer (AUT)

COURT 11 start 12:00 noon
J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA)
After Suitable Rest – [Alt] R. Haase (NED) / R. Klaasen (RSA) vs A. Mannarino (FRA) / L. Rosol (CZE)


Southern Californians Taylor Fritz and Claire Liu Capture 18s Singles Titles on Final Day of ASICS Easter Bowl

Claire+Liu+Trophy+FINALS Trophy

By Steve Pratt

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (April 12, 2015) – Taylor Fritz learned a lot of lessons on his way to capturing the 48th annual ASICS Easter Bowl ITF Boys’ 18s singles title. Most important was that a match isn’t over until it’s officially over.


The top-seeded Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., resident Fritz, who came back from down a set and 0-5 to win a third-round match on Thursday, continued his high level of play on the final day of the tournament on Sunday as he beat No. 12-seeded Sam Riffice, 6-2, 6-3, to claim the title in the tournament played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.


Fourteen-year-old Claire Liu, the No. 14-seed from Thousand Oaks, Calif., claimed the ITF Girls’ 18s trophy with an impressive 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, win over Katie Swan, the No. 2-seed from Wichita, Kan.


Fritz smiled when asked after the match if he was more determined to win following such an amazing comeback. “Of course,” he said. “After you have one of those it makes you more determined to win the whole thing.” He added: “It’s crazy to think how early in the tournament that was and I still had so many more matches to go. I just got better and better each match after that. And it woke me up because I had never been that far down before and came back.”


Just one week ago, Fritz was flying home from China after making the finals in the ITF Junior Masters. He was asked what lessons were learned during the week. “That I can play pretty well jet-lagged,” he said. “I learned I don’t have to always play my best tennis and can still win. As long as I can just keep fighting and keep my head in it. Sometime all you need is the heart to win the matches.”


Fritz and Riffice played some unbelievably high-level and entertaining points in front of a nice crowd on hand on a hot 90-degree day in the desert.


“I wanted to dictate more and play a little more offensively,” said Riffice, of Roseville, Calif. “Right off my serve he was pushing me back. He’s improved a lot since we played last. He wasn’t missing many serves and had a good first-serve percentage.”


Fritz added: “Sam and I play very similar. He moves better than I do but we both try to be aggressive. I was just able to take the first strike before he was and was a little more aggressive when I had to be.”


Fritz, who will likely move up a spot to No. 3 in the ITF world junior rankings, said he wasn’t sure if he was going to play the USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Tallahassee, Fla., on clay April 25-May 2 that he had originally planned to. He will travel to Spain and Italy for ITF Grade A junior events, before playing the French Open Juniors where he will be one of the top seeds.


Fritz said after playing great in China, his play slumped at the start of the week, but got progressively better, especially his serve. “Everything but the serve was working good (this week),” he said. “But today it was working better than it has so I can’t complain.”


Liu joins former Thousand Oaks residents Sam Querrey (2005) and Marcos Giron (2011) to have won 18s titles at the ASICS Easter Bowl, and became one the youngest to win the 18s in tournament history.


Liu said she lost focus and her level of play dipped after a solid first set which she won 6-2. But she was able to get an early break of serve and take a 3-0 lead in the third set.


“I think I played pretty well,” said Liu. “In the first and third set I played better than I did in the second. I just wasn’t there in the second and had a lot of unforced errors.”


She chose several critical points to come to the net and recorded several put-away volleys. “I tried to come in as much as I could and it seemed to help,” she said, adding, “It feels really good to win the Easter Bowl.”


Liu said this tournament was important to her as she is trying to earn enough ITF points to get into the main draw at the Junior French Open.


Like Fritz, Liu said she got better as the week went on. “After every match I did better,” she said. “At the beginning I was nervous and then as I started to get into it. I just started to play more relaxed as the tournament went on.”


Swan was the winner of the Tory Fretz/Jackie Cooper Sportsmanship award on Saturday, along with Boys’ 14s winner Adam Neff.


Swan was playing in her second straight ITF 18s final, falling to CiCi Bellis one year ago. “It was tough and a battle,” Swan said. “I didn’t serve as well as I could have. I’m disappointed with the result, but it was great to be in two straight finals.”


Sponsors include: ASICS, Laurel Springs School, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the Dent Junior Academy, the tennis website 10sBalls.com, USTA, The Old Spaghetti Factory, SCTA and Mind Matters Tennis.



Boys’ 18 Singles (Final Round)

Taylor Fritz (1) (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) def. Sam Riffice (14) (Roseville, CA) 6-2, 6-3


Girls’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)

Claire Liu (12) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Katie Swan (2) (Wichita, KS) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2


Jack Sock wins Houston for First ATP Title


Jack Sock

(April 12, 2015) In an all-American final, Jack Sock took down Sam Querrey 7-6(9), 7-6(2) to win the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships, his first ATP World title.

Sock saved three set points in the first set tiebreaker in a match which had a 2 hour and 20 minute rain delay

“It feels incredible,” said Sock. “Clay is my favorite surface… it feels surreal. It feels incredible, and to have friends and family here to share it with me feels even better.

“I put in a lot of hard work before I came back. I had almost nine weeks in a row off the court in the gym getting my body ready to come back. To come here and win is a very incredible feeling and I’m going to savor it for a while.”


“Jack’s tough,” said Querrey. “He has a big forehand and on heavy clay like that, he’s a tough guy to beat… that’s my first final in a long time, so I’m feeling good.”


The 22-year-old Sock will move to a career high No. 36 in the rankings on Monday. He is just the sixth American to win the United States’ only men’s clay-court tournament.


Kerber Takes Home Family Circle Cup

Angelique Kerber

(April 12, 2015) Angelique Kerber rallied from 1-4 down in the third set, winning six of the last seven games to defeat Madison Keys and win the Family Circle Cup in Charleston 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 on Sunday.

For the German Kerber, this was her fourth career WTA title, her first since capturing Linz in 2013.

“It’s unbelievable,” Kerber said. “To win here after the really difficult weeks I had, I’m feeling great. Last year I had four finals and I didn’t win any of them, so it’s great that I actually won this one today. It’s just been a great week for me here. Everybody is so nice, and I’m really happy about my game.”

“Coming off tough losses at Indian Wells and Miami, I’m happy I kept a great attitude this week, and I was just fighting as hard as I could today,” said the 20-year-old American Keys. “I could have gone either way after the first set, but I dug deep and still put myself in a position to win. But she just wasn’t making any mistakes at the end.”

The win for Kerber was a bit of revenge – last June Keys defeated Kerber in three-sets in the final of Eastbourne for her first WTA title.


Sania Mirza Becomes First Woman from India to top the Doubles Rankings

Miami Open Tennis - Day 14 Hingis and Mirza

(April 12, 2015) On Sunday Sania Mirza has become the first woman from India to reach the top of the WTA double rankings.

The 28-year-old Mirza reached No. 1 by virtue of teaming with Martina Hingis to win the Family Circle Cup title, beating Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak 6-0, 6-4. The victory marks three straight title wins for the pair – Inidan Wells, Miami and now Charleston.

“It’s a dream for every kid to be No.1 one day,” Mirza said. “I can’t think of a better person to do it with. When we came here we had one thing in mind, to get No.1, and she really helped me get there. She helped me through some tough moments this week. She’s just a great person and a great player. We also become the No.1 team in the world today with this.


“I hope we have many, many more tournaments and end the year on a high as well.”


This is the 26th title of Mirza’s career. Mirza was the first woman from India to win a WTA singles title,  the first to reach the third and fourth rounds of a major, the first to surpass $1 million in career prize money, and the first to win a Grand Slam title of any kind when she claimed the 2009 Australian Open mixed doubles title with countryman Mahesh Bhupathi.



Martin Klizan Wins Casablanca for Third ATP Title

(April 12, 2015) Slovak Martin Klizan beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-2, 6-2 to win the Casablanca Grand Prix Hassan II title on Sunday, his third ATP World Tour trophy.

The No. 41 player Klizan took advantage of his experience against first-time ATP finalist Gimeno-Traver ranked 95th in the world. The Slovak built a 5-1 lead in the first set and never looked back against the Spaniard.

Klizan who is now a perfect 3-0 in finals dedicated his victory to his grandfather, who died last week.

“It’s an amazing feeling right now,” Klizan said. “Every time I am in Morocco, I have played a lot on Centre Court and seen the list of all the names. I wished to be a champion and today I am. I am very proud and excited now. The crowd was unbelievable, they always support me.”

“I would like to dedicate the trophy to my grandfather, who passed away last week, and also to those who died in a bus crash [on Friday] in southern Morocco.”

“Today, was a difficult match for me,” Gimeno-Traver said. “I played a long match yesterday [against Jiri Vesely] and I didn’t feel very well today. Martin played a great match and deserved to win. I will always remember this week and I’m very happy that I reached my first final here.”

For Gimeno-Traver, before this year he had never won match in Casablanca in 2011 and 2013.

Klizan no adds Casablanca to his previous titles came in 2012 in St. Petersburg and in Munich last year.


No. 1 Fritz To Face No. 14 Riffice In Boys’ 18s Final; No. 2 Swan to Battle No. 12 Liu In Girls’ 18s Final


Easter Bowl

By Steve Pratt

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (April 11, 2015) – Both finalists in the 48th annual ASICS Easter Bowl ITF Girls’ 18s singles on Sunday will have some valuable experience to draw upon of playing on the final day of one of the nation’s top junior events.


Katie Swan, the No. 2-seed from Wichita, Kan., will take on 14-year-old Claire Liu at 10 a.m. on Sunday, on the final day of action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with both the boys’ and girls’ finals being streamed live on www.easterbowl.com and commentated by RadioTennis.com’s Ken Thomas with special guest Rosie Casals serving as the color commentator. Last year, Swan, 16, fell in the 18s final to good friend CiCi Bellis while the No. 12-seeded Liu, then just 13 years old, was playing in the final of the 16s and taken out by Katerina Stewart in three tight sets.


The two will meet for the second time in their careers on Sunday with Swan, originally from Bristol, Great Britain, getting the better of Liu in the first round of the US Open Juniors in early September in their only other meeting.


In the ITF Boys’ 18s final it will be top-seeded Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., going against No. 14 Sam Riffice of Roseville, Calif., in the 12 noon final, following the girls. Fritz beat No. 4-seed Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz., 7-6 (5), 6-0, while Riffice avenged a defeat just last week to No. 2-seeded William Blumberg of Greenwich, Conn., 6-2, 6-0.


The last time Fritz played rival Ponwith, he fell to him in the 2013 16s at the Kalamazoo USTA Hardcourt National Championships.  “I remember we played a lot in the 12s,” said Fritz, who said that the 12s may have been the last time he beat Ponwith. “It used to be I was all forehands and no backhands. I think I have worked on my backhand a lot in the past year and it’s gotten better. That’s what made the difference.”


Fritz, currently the No. 4-ranked junior in the world, has been taken to three sets in his previous two matches before Saturday and has been taking an ice bath after each match.


He said playing a prestigious event like the ASICS Easter Bowl and being so close to home was a no-brainer when he looked at his schedule. “It would be great and so nice to win this title,” he said. “Why not play here? I’m so close to home and I’m getting good matches here. It’s not like I’m getting the same practice at home.”


Fritz beat Riffice 6-2, 6-3 in their last meeting at the Tulsa ITF back in October. “He’s so much better than when I beat him last,” Fritz said, who added the difference in the first set and the second on Saturday was just winning the big points.


At the end of last year, Riffice became just the second junior player since Grigor Dimitrov to win both the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl 16s tournaments back to back.


He had a battle just one week ago against losing to eventual champion Blumberg in the Round of 16 at Carson.


“If I was going to let him play his game I knew he would dictate,” Riffice said. “Last week he was being a lot more aggressive and running me from side to side. Today, I came up with some really good shots.”


Riffice said he couldn’t sleep last night, and woke up at 4 a.m. “But I had a lot of energy this morning,” he said. “It’s amazing I’m in the final of the ASICS Easter Bowl. I didn’t think it was possible, but this is what I’ve been training for the whole year.”


Liu had lost to semifinal opponent Raveena Kingsley, the No. 4 seed currently training with the Dent Tennis Academy in Southern California, two previous times before her 6-4, 6-1 win on Saturday.


“The first one was in College Park, Md., where’s she’s from and the other was in Tulsa and indoors, so that helped her,” Liu said. “I’m playing a lot better. Winning my first ITF Pro Futures event has really helped my confidence.”


Just last month, Liu became the youngest champion to win a USTA’s Pro Circuit event since Russian Anna Kournikova in 1996.


In the other Girls’ 18s semifinal, it was Swan beating unseeded Kylie McKenzie of Anthem, Ariz., 6-2, 6-3.


In the ITF Girls’ 18s doubles final on Saturday, top-seeded Swan and Sonya Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., got past unseeded Caroline Dolehide (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Ena Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.), 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.


In the ITF Boys’ 18s doubles final on Saturday, Cameron Klinger (Elk Grove, Calif.) and Ponwith beat Vasil Kirkov (Tampa, Fla.) and Riffice, 6-2, 6-3.


You can catch all the action live on www.easterbowl.com. Sponsors include: ASICS, Laurel Springs School, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the Dent Junior Academy, the tennis website 10sBalls.com, USTA, The Old Spaghetti Factory, SCTA and Mind Matters Tennis.


To keep up with all the ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the website at www.easterbowl.com and check out the tournament on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EasterBowl) and Twitter (@asicseasterbowl). For more information on ASICS, check out: www.ASICSAmerica.com and follow on Twitter @ASICSAmerica.


Boys’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)

Taylor Fritz (1) (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) def. Nathan Ponwith (4) (Scottsdale, AZ) 7-6 (5), 6-0

Sam Riffice (14) (Roseville, CA) def. William Blumberg (2) (Greenwich, CT) 6-2, 6-0


Boys’ 18 Doubles (Final Round)

Cameron Klinger (Elk Grove, CA) / Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale, AZ) def. Vasil Kirkov (Tampa, FL) / Sam Riffice (6) (Roseville, CA) 6-2, 6-3


Girls’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)

Claire Liu (12) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Raveena Kingsley (4) (Fulton, MD) 6-4, 6-1

Katie Swan (2) (Wichita, KS) def. Kylie McKenzie (Anthem, AZ) 6-2, 6-3


Girls’ 18 Doubles (Final Round)

Sonya Kenin (Pembroke Pines, FL) / Katie Swan (1) (Wichita, KS) def. Caroline Dolehide (Hinsdale, IL) / Ena Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) 4-6, 6-4, 10-6


Crawford and Martinelli Capture 16s Singles Titles At ASICS Easter Bowl

Samantha Martinelli

Samantha Martinelli

By Steve Pratt

(April 10, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – It was Sweet 16 day at the 48th annual ASICS Easter Bowl as both boys’ and girls’ 16s champions were crowned on the final day of play in the USTA Spring Nationals lower divisions.


Top-seeded Oliver Crawford of Spartanburg, S.C., had little trouble with No. 11 Brian Cernoch of North Bethesda, Md., 6-2, 6-1, to win the Boys’ 16s singles on Friday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Crawford extended his personal win streak to 12 straight over the past 12 days. Crawford, 15, also won the 16s singles at the USTA International Spring Championships last week in Carson, Calif.


Las Vegas-based 16-year-old Samantha Martinelli, the No. 2 seed originally from Denver, also needed just two sets to win the Girls’ 16s singles beating unseeded Natasha Subhash of Fairfax, Va., 7-5, 6-3.


The final two days of the ASICS Easter Bowl are all about the ITF 18s as the Boys’ and Girls’ 18s singles semifinals and doubles finals will be contested on Saturday with both singles finals taking place on Sunday.


Top-seeded Boys’ 18s player Taylor Fritz, who came back from an amazing deficit down a set and love-5 on Thursday to win, advanced to the semifinals with another three-set win, beating unseeded Cameron Klinger of Elk Grove, Calif., 6-0, 6-7 (5), 6-3. Fritz had to come back to do it as he was down a break of serve 1-3 in the third set before rallying for the win.


Fritz had his chance to put the Vanderbilt-bound Klinger away serving for the match at 5-4 and then again at 6-5, losing his serve both times as Klinger was able to force a third set.


Fritz will meet 15-year-old Nathan Ponwith of Anthem, Ariz., in one semifinal on Saturday not before 12 noon. In the other Boys’ 18s semifinal it will be No. 2-seeded William Blumberg of Greenwich, Conn., taking on No. 14 Sam Riffice of Roseville, Calif.


On the Girls’ 18s side No. 14-seed and 14-year-old Claire Liu meets No. 4 Raveena Kingsley and No. 2 Katie Swan is pitted against unseeded Kylie McKenzie.


McKenzie’s victory was the most impressive as she beat No. 3-seeded Sonya Kenin, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals on Friday. McKenzie is from the same hometown as last year’s 18s singles finalist Ponwith and both are being coached by former Arizona State men’s tennis coach Lou Belken.


“She was struggling with her serve and I think I returned pretty good against her,” McKenzie said of Kenin, winner of the Metropolia Orange Bowl at the end of 2014, beating last year’s ASICS Easter Bowl 18s winner CiCi Bellis along the way. “It’s always nice to get free points in tough matches,” McKenzie said.


McKenzie had previously beaten Kenin three years ago at the Clay Court Nationals in the 14s.


The Boys’ 16s champ Crawford has been training recently with the USTA in Boca Raton, Fla., and said he played with an injured lower back with pain shooting all the way down his leg.


He said he was aware that USTA Director of Coaching Jose Higueras and USTA Head of Men’s Tennis Jay Berger were watching the match. “It was a bit nerve-wracking when they first came around,” said Crawford, who is traveling here with his father while his mother and sister are in New York City on Spring Break.


“I played with a little bit more confidence today than last week’s final,” he added.


Martinelli also played in a final last Sunday, but not in the Carson ITF, instead choosing to play in a local USTA Intermountain Sectional event which she won.

Martinelli trains with the No Quit Tennis Academy in Las Vegas under the direction of Coach Tim Blenkiron. Martinelli is part of the Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, a USTA NJTL program. She is also an elite member of Team Bryan and credits Blenkiron for her success. “He’s really amazing. We train up to four hours a day and he really has been able to help me, both on and off the court,” she said.


On Thursday, Martinelli also added an ASICS Easter Bowl 16s doubles title to her resume. Before her singles final, Martinelli picked up an advantage by something she did during warmups. “In the warmup I noticed (Subhash) was running around her backhand and hitting a forehand so my strategy was to hit to her backhand.”

When Ken Thomas on the www.easterbowl.com live stream noted in her post-match interview that that was a very smart thing to pick up on, Martinelli responded: “Oh, yeah. I always start the warm-up by hitting a ball up the middle to see which side they favor.”

You can catch all the action live on www.easterbowl.com. Sponsors include: ASICS, Laurel Springs School, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the Dent Junior Academy, the tennis website 10sBalls.com, USTA, The Old Spaghetti Factory, SCTA and Mind Matters Tennis.


To keep up with all the ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the website at www.easterbowl.com and check out the tournament on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EasterBowl) and Twitter (@asicseasterbowl). For more information on ASICS, check out: www.ASICSAmerica.com and follow on Twitter @ASICSAmerica.


Boys’ 18 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)

Taylor Fritz (1) (Rancho Santa Fe, CA) def. Cameron Klinger (Elk Grove, CA) 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-3

Nathan Ponwith (4) (Scottsdale, AZ) def. Hady Habib (7) (Bradenton, FL) 6-2, 6-4

Sam Riffice (14) (Roseville, CA) def. Mwendwa Mbithi (10) (Deerfield Beach, FL) 6-1, 7-5

William Blumberg (2) (Greenwich, CT) def. Catalin Mateas (8) (Braintree, MA) 7-6(3), 6-4


Boys’ 18 Doubles (Semifinal Round)

Jake DeVine (Los Altos Hills, CA) / Patrick Kypson (Greenville, NC) def. Cameron Klinger (Elk Grove, CA) / Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale,

  1. AZ) 6-4, 6-4

Vasil Kirkov (Tampa, FL) / Sam Riffice (6) (Roseville, CA) def. Trent Bryde (Suwanee, GA) / Emil Reinberg (5) (Atlanta, GA) 7-6, 6-3


Girls’ 18 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)

Claire Liu (12) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Helen Altick (Monroe, LA) 6-1, 6-2

Raveena Kingsley (4) (Fulton, MD) def. Caroline Dolehide (8) (Hinsdale, IL) 6-4, 6-4

Kylie McKenzie (Anthem, AZ) def. Sofia Kenin (3) (Pembroke Pines, FL) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2

Katie Swan (2) (Wichita, KS) def. Kayla Day (9) (Santa Barbara, CA) 7-5, 6-3


Girls’ 18 Doubles (Semifinal Round)

Sonya Kenin (Pembroke Pines, FL) / Katie Swan (1) (Wichita, KS) def. Morgan Coppoc (Tulsa, OK) / Alexandra Sanford (8) (Westerville, OH) 7-6, 6-3

Caroline Dolehide (Hinsdale, IL) / Ena Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) def. Usue Arconada (Rio Piedras, PR) / Francesca Di Lorenzo (2) (New Albany, OH) 6-7(9), 6-4, 10-8


Boys’ 16 Singles (Final Round)

Oliver Crawford (1) (Spartanburg, SC) def. Brian Cernoch (11) (North Bethesda, MD) 6-2, 6-1


Boys’ 16 Singles Consolation (Semifinal Round)

Brady Draheim (Omaha, NE) def. Conrad Russell (Palo Alto, CA) 6-2, 6-3

Christian Alshon (Boca Raton, FL) def. Steven Sun (Boca Raton, FL) 6-3, 6-3


Boys’ 16 Singles Consolation (Final Round)

Christian Alshon (Boca Raton, FL) def. Brady Draheim (Omaha, NE) 6-1, 6-0


Boys’ 16 Singles (Playoff Final)

Danny Thomas (Pickerington, OH) def. Abhijeet Joshi (6) (Millington, NJ) 6-3, 6-2


Boys’ 16 Singles (Playoff)

Jason Lui (7) (Bellevue, WA) def. Sean Sculley (3) (Hilton Head Island, SC) 6-3, 6-4


Girls’ 16 Singles (Final Round)

Samantha Martinelli (2) (Denver, CO) def. Natasha Subhash (Fairfax, VA) 7-5, 6-3


Girls’ 16 Singles Consolation (Semifinal Round)

Taylor Bridges (Mesa, AZ) def. Nadia Gizdova (5) (Columbia, MD) 6-3, 4-6, 10-4

Isabella Lorenzini (10) (Clarendon Hills, IL) def. Dalayna Hewitt (Pepper Pike, OH) 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-7


Girls’ 16 Singles Consolation (Final Round)

Isabella Lorenzini (10) (Clarendon Hills, IL) def. Taylor Bridges (Mesa, AZ) 1-6, 6-1, 10-6


Girls’ 16 Singles (Playoff Final)

Victoria Flores (4) (Fort Dodge, IA) def. Victoria Emma (12) (Naples, FL) Wo (inj)


Girls’ 16 Singles (Playoff)

Hannah Lairmore (14) (Mobile, AL) def. Stephanie Schrage (Millburn, NJ) 6-3, 6-4