Querrey Wins Second Straight ITF Championship; Glatch Takes Singles and Doubles Titles at Easter Bowl
Sam Querrey’s ITF Win Streak Reaches Twelve with Easter Bowl Championship; Alexa Glatch Sweeps Singles and Doubles Titles
©Colette Lewis 2005--
Palm Springs CA--
Two weeks ago, Sam Querrey languished at 112 in the ITF junior world rankings, and needed a solid performance in the two new ITF tournaments in his home state to earn a place in the main draw of the junior Grand Slams this summer.
With his 6-3, 6-3 win over second seed Carsten Ball in the ITF B1 Easter Bowl finals on Saturday, he now is likely to be seeded at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, advancing nearly 100 spots in the rankings with his wins at the Grade 1 International Spring Championship in Carson last week and in Palm Springs this week. Querrey won the 16s Easter Bowl singles title last year.
The notorious winds that typically buffet the Coachella Valley this time of year never materialized, but Querrey certainly blew through his draw, winning every set he played. After Friday's semifinals, which featured some serious pace by all four competitors, the final featured less uninhibited ball striking.
"I was pretty tired," said Ball, who played two sets in the doubles final and three sets in his semifinal on Friday. "But it's the finals and it's a little different,” he said. "Sammy played well, didn't give me a lot of opportunities," Ball said of his longtime Southern California sectional rival
Querrey, teaming with Kellen Damico, lost in the doubles quarterfinals to Ball and partner Michael Venus, but had played singles matches in 12 of the last 13 days. The searing midday heat—94 degrees and certainly much hotter on Stadium Court -- took its toll on both players. At one point in the second set, there were five straight breaks of serve before Querrey, despite tossing in three double faults in the game, finally held. The six-foot-five-inch right-hander then broke Ball at love for his twelfth straight win.
"I didn't think either of us played that great today," the tenth seeded Querrey said. "We were both kind of out it, it seemed."
Querrey's coach, Australian Grant Doyle, cited the intensive training Querrey has done in the past two months as a prime reason for his success on Saturday. "He can win now when he doesn't play his best," Doyle said of his protégé. "He's very coachable, and his mental game has improved as well."
What's next for Querrey? A tournament in Ojai, some high school tennis, then on to Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The whirlwind that began for him with his quarterfinal showing at the U.S. Open last September shows no sign of abating.
Like Querrey, girl’s top seed Alexa Glatch is a Southern Californian who had already claimed a previous Easter Bowl championship. Glatch won both the singles and doubles in 14s in 2003, and with her 6-7 (1), 6-0, 6-3 win over second seed Jenni-Lee Heinser today and the 6-1, 6-4 victory she and Lindsay Burdette claimed from Heinser and partner Liz Plotkin in Friday's doubles final, she again scored a rare sweep.
But after the first set, the fifteen-year-old Glatch, who had lost only four games in her four previous matches, seemed suddenly vulnerable.
"She played extremely well in the tiebreak," Glatch said about the only set she dropped in the tournament--a set that took over an hour to play. "I give her a lot of credit. She played very well and there was not much I could do."
Heinser agreed. "The first set I played really well," said the eighteen-year-old from Florida. "The second set I didn't play very well, and a few things started to hurt, so that didn't help."
The second set got away from Heinser quickly, and down 3-0, she called for a trainer, who worked for several minutes on her left shoulder. Glatch continued her dominance when play resumed, but in the opening game of the third set, she was broken at love.
"That's not the way I wanted to start out, but I just put that behind me", said the soft-spoken six-footer. "It definitely was not over after that game."
When Glatch broke Heinser two consecutive times immediately after that early dropped serve, Glatch began to assert herself on the baseline and play her backhand more aggressively. Heinser was unable to make any inroads in Glatch's remaining service games, and the fifteen-year-old had earned her second title at the 2005 Easter Bowl.
Already ranked in the top 12 in the world in the ITF point standings, Glatch has the highest ranking of any American girl going into the European junior circuit this spring and summer. Last week's winner at Carson, Vania King, is right behind Glatch in the rankings.
In boy’s doubles, Marcus Fugate and Dylan Arnould captured their first Grade 1 title by downing Ball and Venus 6-2, 7-6 (8).
“We were serving pretty well,” Arnould said. As evidence, down set point in the tiebreaker, Fugate gained an end change when he slammed an ace, and Arnould also saved the set with a service winner at 7-8.
Although they reached the quarterfinals together at the ITF International Winter and the Orange Bowl last year, Fugate and Arnould weren’t happy with those results.
“We haven’t been a good doubles team until now,” Fugate said. “We just found our rhythm and have figured out a way to win, starting now.”
For the first time in the 38 years of the Easter Bowl, boys and girls playing in the 18s division earned both ITF and USTA ranking points.
In the other Easter Bowl Championship title awarded Saturday, another top seed, sixteen-year-old Will Guzick, earned his first gold ball with a 6-0, 6-3 win over an exhausted Dennis Nevolo.
The fifteen-year-old Nevolo arrived in California two weeks ago and has been playing nonstop tennis ever since. "I've lost count," he laughed, when asked how many matches he's played.
He won the 16s division in Carson at the ITF International Spring last Saturday and that very afternoon played his first round match at the Easter Bowl. The one day this week he had "off" included a doubles match. He and partner Steve Johnson won the title, but it took them three grueling sets Friday evening.
Guzick, whose younger sister Sarah reached the quarterfinals in the girls 16s, has had some long, tough matches himself this tournament, including his miraculous comeback down a set and 5-0 in the quarterfinals against Tyler Hochwalt. But yesterday he quickly disposed of Adam Schwartz and was certainly the more energetic of the two finalists on Saturday.
But even up 6-0, 5-0, Guzick didn't feel comfortable.
"Against anyone else in the tournament, I would have felt confident being up, but Dennis is a great fighter," Guzick said.
"He's had a great stretch, winning Carson last week and in the finals here, so he might have been a little burned out."
"He was a lot fresher," Nevolo admitted. "He just played a better match than me. It was all basically just physical--he always had the extra shot and I was the one breaking down."
Did he fear the dreaded double bagel?
"The score wasn't really an issue with me," Nevolo said. "If I lost 0 and 0, I didn't care; I just wanted to make sure that he worked at the end of the match to win it."
And if there's anyone who can be counted on to do that work, it's Guzick. He had never gotten beyond the round of 16 in any National Championship in singles, yet came into the Easter Bowl as the top seed, and used his footwork, consistency and focus to earn his first gold ball.
And now it's back to Greer, South Carolina where he'll play high school tennis. When jokingly asked if he's No. 1 on his high school team, Guzick said, "Actually, it's close. There's a player who can definitely beat me on some days."
But it's doubtful he does it by outworking him.