Hibi and Black Reach ITF Easter Bowl Final; Daniel, Lahey to Decide Girls 14s Title; No. 1 McNally and No. 2 Hance for Boys 14s Championship
©Colette Lewis 2013--
Rancho Mirage, CA--
In her Easter Bowl debut last year, Tornado Alicia Black, then 13, lost in her first round match in the ITF Grade B1. Twelve months later Black has reached the final, where she will be attempting to end International Spring champion Mayo Hibi's winning streak.
The two finalists reached Saturday's championship match in contrasting fashion with No. 13 seed Hibi rolling past unseeded 13-year-old wild card Michaela Gordon 6-2, 6-0, while No. 6 seed Black needed nearly three hours to defeat No. 14 seed Louisa Chirico 7-6(5), 7-6(5).
Chirico was up a break in the first set and served for the second set, but played a miserable game at 5-4, with three unforced errors and a double fault resulting in a break to love. Black held in the next game, saving a break point and Chirico forced a tiebreaker with a much better service game. At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Black and Chirico played a point that typified the match: a long rally of deep and heavy ground strokes, ending with a Chirico error. On match point, Chirico, a 16-year-old from New York, committed to hitting out with each swing, but Black countered every shot and the match ended on a Chirico backhand wide.
It was a big win for Black, and not just because it put her in her first Grade 1 final.
"I've known Louisa for a while now," said Black, who hadn't played Chirico before today. "We've been on a lot of trips with the USTA together, so I kind of knew her game and how she played. I was really excited to play Louisa; she's really good and I look up to her, I respect her a lot."
Black has played Hibi once before, at the $10,000 Pro Circuit event in Hilton Head last spring, which was Black's first professional tournament. Black reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier, having already won six matches that week, and managed to win only one game against eventual champion Hibi.
"She was kind of tired," said Hibi, explaining Black's performance in that match. "She played the No. 1 seed and she had a lot of three-setters in that tournament. I guess she was nervous. It wasn't the best match you could watch. It's going to be a completely different match (in the final); I'm sure she's going to really fight for it."
Hibi, who has played 11 matches in the past 12 days not including doubles, admitted to being tired, although she has yet to drop a set in either Carson or Rancho Mirage.
"I really just want to grind out one more," said the 17-year-old, who is a Japanese citizen, but has lived in Southern California since she was a toddler. Hibi is seeking to duplicate the International Spring Championship/Easter Bowl ITF double that both Melanie Oudin(2008) and Krista Hardebeck(2010) accomplished.
The boys 14s final will feature No. 1 John McNally against No. 2 Connor Hance in their first meeting.
McNally defeated No. 5 seed Nathan Perrone 7-5, 6-3 in Friday morning's semifinal at the Sunrise Country Club, while Hance took down No. 3 seed Zeke Clark 6-4, 6-4.
Perrone served for the first set against McNally at 5-4, but he was broken in his next two service games, and again early in the second set. McNally, of Cincinnati, Ohio, made that lead hold up to reach his second consecutive USTA Level 1 championship.
"My mom (Lynn Nabors-McNally) won gold balls in juniors, she won a couple in doubles, and I always wanted one," said McNally, the reigning boys 14s Winter National champion, who beat Clark in that final. "So when I won that gold ball, it was a weight off my shoulders. I said you've got that, so you might as well start playing, having fun. So that's what I'm doing out here, having fun."
Hance and Clark slugged it out from the baseline, with many a long and punishing rally.
"The average rally was like twenty shots," said Hance, from Torrance, Calif. "I was playing smart, trying to keep it deep so he couldn't pass and going for it when I had the right ball. He doesn't give you a lot of balls that you can put away. He's a really good player, so I had to do a lot of slices, lobs, to throw him off a little bit. But it's hard to get it by him, because he is so fast, so I ended up grinding with him."
Hance, who is famous in tennis circles for his role as Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf's son in a Genworth Financial ad featuring he and Taylor Dent playing a match, is looking forward to finally playing McNally.
"It's strange, because we play all the same tournaments, but we're just always on the other side of the draw," said Hance. "So I'm excited to finally get to play him. He has a gigantic forehand that I'm going to have to stay away from, but I have a plan, I think."
The girls 14s final Saturday afternoon will also be a first-time meeting, with No. 3 seed Jaeda Daniel against No. 11 seed Ashley Lahey.
Lahey, who had never gone past the fourth round of a USTA Level 1 tournament before, beat best friend and USTA-West training partner Ryan Peus 6-2, 6-2.
"We're inseparable, so it's kind of tough to play your best friend, but eventually you get over that mental barrier of who you're playing," said Lahey, who is originally from Colorado, only moving to Southern California in the past year.
Lahey called the Easter Bowl her breakthrough tournament, and she is looking forward to collecting her first USTA ball on Saturday.
"It's feels really good to have a good chance at a gold ball," said Lahey. "Hopefully I can play one more good match."
Daniel will also be contesting her first USTA Level 1 final after a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 win over Alexa Graham, a No. 17 seed.
"It not something I ever expected really," said the 13-year-old left-hander from Port Charlotte, Florida. "I always just play match by match and if I got there, I got there. I've never said that's what I want. I just want to play and improve and hopefully get to the best level there is."
The quarterfinals in the 16s and the boys 18s were played on Friday, with two of the top three seeds surviving.
Noah Rubin, No. 1 in the 18s, eliminated wild card Alexandru Gozun 6-4, 6-0 and will play No. 3 seed Luca Corinteli, who down unseeded Ernesto Escobedo 6-1, 6-4. The other 18s semifinal will be between unseeded Gage Brymer, who beat No. 8 seed Michael Mmoh 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, and No. 5 seed Martin Redlicki, who beat defending champion and No. 2 seed Mackenzie McDonald 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
Top boys 16s seed Sameer Kumar has yet to drop a set in the tournament, and he advanced to the semifinals with a 7-5, 6-4 win over International Spring 16s champion Jake DeVine. He will play No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz, who posted an impressive 6-1, 6-0 victory over No. 9 seed Victor Pham. The other boys 16s semifinal is between two No. 17 seeds: Emil Reinberg and Kalman Boyd. Reinberg outlasted No. 4 seed Chase Colton 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, and Boyd crushed No. 2 seed Kyle Seelig 6-0, 6-1.
Francesca Dilorenzo, the top girls 16s seed, fell to No. 8 seed CiCi Bellis 7-5, 6-2, to set up a rematch of the 2012 girls 14s Easter Bowl final against Emma Higuchi. Higuchi, who beat Bellis for that championship, now has a 10-match winning streak at the Easter Bowl after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Emma Davis, a No. 17 seed.
The other girls 16s semifinal will feature unseeded Hanny Chang against No. 7 seed Caroline Dolehide. Chang beat 2012 16s finalist Meredith Xepoleas 6-4, 6-3, and Dolehide downed No. 11 seed Meghan Kelley 6-3, 7-5.
The first Asics Easter Bowl title of 2013 was decided on Friday afternoon, with top seeds Hada Change and Abigail Chiu defeating No. 2 seeds Kelly Chen and Annette Goulak 6-2, 6-2 for the girls 14s doubles championship.
The schedule for the Saturday finals in the 14s and girls 18s will start with the boys 14s at 10 a.m., followed by the girls 18s and the girls 14s.
For the 14s and 16s draws, including doubles results, see this TennisLink site.
The 18s ITF draws are at this TennisLink site.
Complete results from Friday's action below:
Boys’ 18s Singles (Quarterfinals)
Gage Brymer Irvine, CA def. Michael Mmoh (8) Temple Hills, MD 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Martin Redlicki (5) Boca Raton, FL def. Mackenzie McDonald (2) Piedmont, CA 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Luca Corinteli (3) Alexandria, VA def. Ernesto Escobedo West Covina, CA 6-1, 6-4
Noah Rubin (1) Rockville Centre, NY def. Alexandru Gozun Sarasota, FL 6-4, 6-0
Boys’ 18s Doubles (Quarterfinals)
JC Aragone / Mackenzie McDonald (4) def. AJ Catanzariti / Dennis Uspensky (7) 6-4, 6-0
Luca Corinteli / Martin Redlicki (1) def. Justin Butsch / Tommy Mylnikov (5) 6-3, 6-3
Robbie Bellamy / Joseph Di Giulio def. Michael Mmoh / Francis Tiafoe (3) 6-2, 6-4
Jordi Arconada / Spencer Papa (2) def. Gregory Garcia / Tyler Lu 7-5, 6-4
Girls’ 18s Singles (Semifinals)
Tornado Ali Black (6) Miami, FL def. Louisa Chirico (14) Harrison, NY 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
Mayo Hibi (13) Irvine, CA def. Michaela Gordon Los Altos Hills, CA 6-2, 6-0
Girls’ 18s Doubles (Semifinals)
Josie Kuhlman / Katerina Stewart def. Brooke Austin / Mayo Hibi (6) 6-2, 6-2
Spencer Liang / Peggy Porter def. Maegan Manasse / Jamie Loeb 3-6, 6-4, 10-6
Boys’ 16s Singles (Quarterfinals)
Kalman Boyd (17) Rancho Santa Fe, CA def. Kyle Seelig (2) Hatfield, PA 6-0, 6-1
Sameer Kumar (1) Carmel, IN def. Jake DeVine (17) Boca Raton, FL 7-5, 6-4
Taylor Fritz (3) Rancho Santa Fe, CA def. Victor Pham (9) Saratoga, CA 6-1, 6-0
Emil Reinberg (17) Atlanta, GA def. Chase Colton (4) Davie, FL 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Boys’ 16s Doubles (Semifinals)
Jake DeVine / Catalin Mateas (7) def. Henry Gordon / Austin Rapp (6) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Grayson Broadus / Jean Thirouin (5) def. Chase Colton / Alfredo Perez (12) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Girls’ 16s Singles (Quarterfinals)
Hanna Chang Fontana, CA def. Meredith Xepoleas (3) Huntington Beach, CA 6-4, 6-3
Catherine Bellis (8) Atherton, CA def. Francesca Dilorenzo (1) New Albany, OH 7-5, 6-2
Emma Higuchi (4) Los Angeles, CA def. Emma Davis (17) Cohasset, MA 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Caroline Dolehide (7) Hinsdale, IL def. Meghan Kelley (11) Falmouth, ME 6-3, 7-5
Girls’ 16s Doubles (Quarterfinals)
Jada Hart / Stephanie Hazell def. Jessica Livianu / Alexandra Sabe 6-4, 6-2
Caroline Dolehide / Brienne Minor (1) def. Ena Shibahara / Savannah Slaysman (7) 4-6, 6-4, 10-8
Emma Higuchi / Rebecca Weissmann (3) def. Kenadi Hance / Risa Nakagawa (8) 7-5, 7-6(4)
Jessie Aney / Alexis Nelson (6) def. Katharine Fahey / Jacqueline Urbinati (2) 6-3, 6-1
Boys’ 14s Singles (Semifinals)
John McNally (1) Cincinnati, OH def. Nathan Perrone (5) Mount Laurel, NJ 7-5, 6-3
Connor Hance (2) Torrance, CA def. Zeke Clark (3) Tulsa, OK 6-4, 6-4
Boys’ 14s Doubles (Semifinals)
Bryce Pereira / Michael Zhao (5) def. Jonathan Dollahite / Dylan Levitt (16) 6-2, 6-3
Jake Van Emburgh / JJ Wolf (6) def. Connor Hance / Sam Riffice (14) 7-6(1), 6-4
Boys' 14 Singles (Gold Draw Quarterfinal Losers; Semifinal Round)
Max Pham Newport Coast, CA def. Robert Baylon Buena Park, CA 6-1, 6-0
Justin Lee Cos Cob, CT def. Jacob Brumm Rancho Santa Fe, CA WO (ill)
Boys' 14 Singles (Gold Draw Quarterfinal Losers; Final Round)
Max Pham Newport Coast, CA def. Justin Lee Cos Cob, CT 6-2, 6-2
Boys' 14 Singles (Silver Draw 4th Round Losers; Final Round)
Conrad Russell Palo Alto, CA def. Michael Zhao Princeton Jct, NJ 6-2, 6-2
Girls’ 14s Singles (Semifinals)
Ashley Lahey (11) Hawthorne, CA def. Ryan Peus (9) Caprinteria, CA 6-2, 6-2
Jaeda Daniel (3) Port Charlotte, FL def. Alexa Graham (17) Garden City, NY 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-1
Girls' 14 Singles (Gold Draw Quarterfinal Losers; Final Round)Kylie McKenzie, Anthem, AZ def. Claire Liu, Thousand Oaks, CA 6-4, 7-6(7)
Girls' 14 Singles (Gold Draw Quarterfinal Losers; Semifinal Round)
Claire Liu Thousand Oaks, CA def. Ellie Douglas McKinney, TX Wo (inj)
Kylie McKenzie Anthem, AZ def. Janice Shin Houston, TX 6-3, 6-3
Girls' 14 Singles (Silver Draw 4th Round Losers; Final Round)
Riley McQuaid Tustin, CA def. Abigail Desiatnikov Gates Mills, OH 7-6(4), 1-6, 14-12
Girls’ 14s Doubles (Finals)
Hada Chang / Abigail Chiu (1) def. Kelly Chen / Annette Goulak (2) 6-2, 6-2
Girls' 14 Doubles (Playoff)
Samantha Martinelli / Delaney Nothaft (3) def. Darya Possokhova / Katya Tabachnik (8) 6-4, 6-4