Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thirteen-year-old Gordon Makes Easter Bowl ITF Quarterfinals; Former 14s Champion Escobedo Beats Sixth Seed Mylnikov in B18s Second Round

©Colette Lewis 2013--
Rancho Mirage, CA--

Michaela Gordon has been eligible for ITF events for less than a year, but she already has claimed two Grade 4 titles. Coming into the Asics Easter Bowl ITF B1 Closed however, the 13-year-old from Northern California wasn't expecting similar success, and was surprised to claim a 7-5, 7-5 third round victory over USTA 18s Spring National Champion Kaitlyn McCarthy.

Asked if she thought a victory today was possible, Gordon was candid.

"Honestly, I didn't really think so," said Gordon, who trains at the Eagle Fustar Academy in Santa Clara, Calif. "I just wanted to have a really close match, and I think it could have gone either way. Coming into the tournament, I just wanted to win maybe two rounds. I just wanted to play the better players, but I never thought I'd get to the quarters."

Gordon didn't look poised for the win over the No. 10 seed when she fell behind 4-0, but she recognized that she couldn't stay with the same game plan.

"I knew I had to change my game and I realized that hitting flat and hard wasn't working, since she's so consistent and she's really, really good at defense," said Gordon. "So I decided to try hitting higher heavier balls and be more steady."

Gordon will face another unseeded wild card, 15-year-old Raquel Pedraza, who reached her first ITF Grade 1 quarterfinal with a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 8 seed Ellie Halbauer.

The other quarterfinal in the top half of the draw will be a rematch of the first round at last week's International Spring Championships between Brooke Austin and Mayo Hibi, who went on to take the title.  Austin defeated Kimberly Yee 6-3, 6-0, and Hibi, the No. 13 seed, got by Peggy Porter 6-4, 6-1.

No. 14 seed Louisa Chirico had a 5-1 lead in the third set of her match with Megan McCray, but saw that dissolve before recovering for a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(4) win.  She will play unseeded Monica Robinson, who beat No. 11 seed Denise Starr 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

In the only girls 18s match between two seeded players Thursday, No. 6 seed Tornado Black will play No. 2 seed Marika Akkerman of Canada.

Black downed No. 9 seed Marie Norris 6-2, 6-3, and Akkerman took out Nicole Frenkel 7-6(8), 6-4.

The boys 18s second round produced plenty of drama, including three matches decided in third set tiebreakers. Gage Brymer advanced over Grant Solomon 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4), Stephen Watson edged past Walker Duncan 6-0, 2-6, 7-6(4) in a contentious ending, with Duncan questioning several of Watson's calls. "You play a clean match and then make three bad calls in the tiebreaker?" Duncan said to Watson. Duncan didn't want a roving umpire on the court, but Watson requested that he watch the end, and he did. Even after the last point, which was a double fault by Duncan, the two boys kept arguing about the calls.

The third match decided by a final tiebreaker was the last singles match of the day, with No. 15 seed Dennis Uspensky defeating Shane Monroe 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Three seeded boys were eliminated Wednesday, with No. 6 seed Tommy Mylnikov, No. 7 seed Daniel Kerznerman and No. 9 seed Jordi Arconada of Argentina falling in straight sets.

Ernesto Escobedo, the 2011 boys 14s Easter Bowl champion, had the misfortune of drawing eventual champion Stefan Kozlov in the first round at the Grade 1 International Spring Championships last week, but   in Wednesday's second round he dominated Mylnikov 6-3, 6-1.

"It was such a tough draw last week," said Escobedo, who didn't lose a game in his first round match on Tuesday. "I came in here this week just thinking positive about the tournament. Now I feel fine on the court."

Escobedo, who will be 17 in July, believes his game has gotten bigger in the past two years, but it is a less obvious trait that has made the most important difference.

"My game has grown, and I'm more patient on the court," said Escobedo. "But I'm more aggressive at the same time, just not so early in the the point. I take my time and I'm enjoying myself."

Wild card Alexandru Gozun defeated Kerznerman 7-6(3), 6-2 and Brandon Sutter downed Arconada 6-1, 7-5.

In the 14s, both top seeds were taken to third sets, but John McNally defeated No. 11 seed Noah Makarome 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 and Claire Liu downed Samantha Martinelli, a No. 17 seed, 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2. The 14s quarterfinals will be played at Sunrise Country Club beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

The top seeds in the boys 16s, Sameer Kumar and Kyle Seelig, advanced to the fourth round with straight set wins, but Ena Shibahara, the No. 2 seed and International Springs 16s champion, was beaten by No. 17 seed Rebecca Weissmann 6-0, 6-2.  Top girls 16s seed Francesca Dilorenzo did reach the round of 16 with a straight set win.

For the 14s and 16s draws, see this TennisLink site.

The 18s ITF draws are at this TennisLink site.


Wondering- said...

How is Mayo Hibi allowed to play since she plays under the Japanese flag? Thx

minnesota coach said...


You said Kyle Seelig won yesterday but the draw has him losing badly.

Can you verify Kyle's result? Kyle seems like a very over seeded at #2.

Colette Lewis said...

Seelig won. It was a mistake in the entering of the winner into the computer.

Colette Lewis said...

Hibi meets the USTA immigration status requirements for participation in their sanctioned events. I believe those requirements are listed on the player development or junior competition sections of usta.com

Tmom said...

Very happy for Gordon on her win. Good thing she's playing under 2013 rules and that's she's 13. Had rules applied year earlier, if playing age appropriate, she would be plating with a green dot ball.