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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Easter Bowl Acceptances Feature 12 Former Champions; Pro Circuit Returns with Qualifying in Oklahoma City & Pelham

I had an opportunity to look through the acceptances at the Easter Bowl, which begins two weeks from tomorrow, and noticed the names of many past champions that I've covered in the past five years, all of them playing in the 18s, the ITF Grade B1.

From 2007, we have 14s champions Lauren Herring and Emmett Egger; from 2008 14s champions Sachia Vickery and Michael Rinaldi and 16s champion Ellen Tsay. 2009 14s champions Mackenzie McDonald and Brooke Austin are entered, as are 16s 2009 champions Shane Vinsant and Caroline Price. Three of last year's champions return: 18s winner Bjorn Fratangelo, 16s champion Kyle McPhillips and 14s champion Gabrielle Andrews. Krista Hardebeck, Gordon Watson and Jordan Belga, the other three 2010 champions, are not listed as competitors, but the eight wild cards have yet to be named.

Orange Bowl runner-up Grace Min is entered, as is Pan American Closed champion Madison Keys. Vicky Duval, who lost a tough three-setter today in the Grade A Copa Gerdau semifinals, has entered, as has 16s Orange Bowl champion Allie Kiick. Alexios Halebian, Marcos Giron, Dennis Novikov and Mac Styslinger join the former champions as contenders on the boys side. The TennisLink site has the complete list of the 56 boys and 56 girls who have been accepted.

As I scanned the 16s, the following names caught my eye: Stefan Kozlov, 14s finalist last year; TJ Pura, the current 16s Winter Nationals champion, Gage Brymer a former 14s Winter National champion, Nikko Madregallejo, a 14s Easter Bowl finalist in 2009 and Benjamin Tso, the reigning 14s Hard Court champion. The girls 16s features Jamie Loeb, the current 16s Winter Nationals champion, 2010 14s champion Jessie Lynn Paul, 2009 14s Eddie Herr champion Spencer Liang, 2010 14s Easter Bowl finalist Kimberly Yee and Josie Kuhlman, who won a qualifying wild card into the WTA Family Circle Cup, which begins next week.

The boys 14s entries are led by Les Petit As winner Henrik Wiersholm and include Francis Tiafoe, Spencer Furman and 12s gold ball winners Robert Levine, Reilly Opelka and Anudeep Kodali. The girls 14s feature Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion Nicole Frenkel, 14s Winter National champion Maria Smith, Maria Shishkina, the 2009 Eddie Herr 12s champion, and Kenadi Hance and Julie O'Loughlin, who were on the US team that traveled to Great Britain and France for Teen Tennis and Les Petits As tournaments this winter.

For the complete list, again minus the wild cards, see the TennisLink site.

After a two-week hiatus, the Pro Circuit is back with a $15,000 tournament in Oklahoma City for the men, and a $25,000 tournament in Pelham, Alabama for the women The first round of qualifying for the men began today, with several juniors advancing. Bjorn Fratangelo beat Shane Vinsant 6-1, 6-1 a rematch of the semifinal in last year's Pan American Closed, which Vinsant won. Andrew Korinek, Alexios Halebian and Harrison Adams also moved into the second round of qualifying. According to the tournament notes, Mitchell Krueger, Dane Webb, Chris Haworth and Devin Britton have received main draw wild cards.

In Pelham, Krista Hardebeck, Grace Min, Jessica Pegula, Chichi Scholl and Shelby Rogers are seeded in the qualifying, which begins on Sunday. According to the tournament notes, main draw wild cards have been given to Allie Kiick, Jan Abaza and Alexandra Mueller.

For complete draws, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.