Qualifier Epshteyn-Losev Celebrates Birthday with Easter Bowl Win Over No. 2 Seed Wiersholm; Dolehide Ousts No. 3 Seed Renaud
©Colette Lewis 2014--
Indian Wells, California
Mark Epshteyn-Losev gave himself a birthday present on Tuesday, upsetting No. 2 seed Henrik Wiersholm 6-2, 6-1 on a scorchingly hot day at the ITF Grade B1 Asics Easter Bowl at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Epshteyn-Losev, now 17, qualified for the tournament, as he had done at the International Spring Championships last week in Carson, which he said was beneficial.
"In Carson, it was very windy there, so when I played the qualifying rounds I got used to the conditions," said Epshteyn-Losev, who went on to reach the round of 16 there. "And same here. I get used to the conditions, get used to the courts, used to the balls, I get used to everything."
Epshteyn-Losev said it was the best match of the nine he's played in California, and admitted Wiersholm was not up to his usual level.
"I was playing well and he committed much more errors than he usually does," said Epshteyn-Losev, who recently began training with Robert Gomez in Coral Gables, Florida. "I know Henrik, he's a very good friend and usually he doesn't do that many mistakes. The score seemed pretty big in my favor; usually the score would never be like this. He didn't play well today, and today I was really feeling it."
Epshteyn-Losev wasn't the only player celebrating a birthday with a first round victory. No. 4 seed and International Spring Championship winner CiCi Bellis, who turned 15 today, defeated Caroline Turner 6-0, 6-1. Bellis is aiming for her second consecutive Easter Bowl title, having won the 16s last year.
Bellis managed to avoid any letdown from the ISC in Carson, but finalist Raveena Kingsley, the No. 9 seed, did not. Kingsley and 14-year-old wild card Kayla Day battled for nearly three hours, with Day winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Day trailed 4-2 in the first set, before the left-hander from Santa Barbara reeled off four straight games to take the first set. Kingsley came back to take a 3-0 lead in the second set, but despite the suffocating heat, Day didn't concede that set, with Kingsley expending a great deal of energy to take it 6-4. Kingsley fell behind 3-0 in the third, but got it back to 3-3, winning 11 of the 12 points contested from 3-0 down. With Day serving at 3-3 there was a scoring dispute, with Kingsley believing the score was 15-40, and Day saying it was 30-30.
Kingsley asked for a roving official, who had been on the court previously, but was not there for that game, and according to Day, she said at 15-0 she called the ball Kingsley hit out. Kingsley maintained she did not hear or see an out call, but the official ruled that he had to take Day's word for it. Rather than replay that disputed second point, as is required by the rules, he announced the score as 30-30, and Day went on to win the game.
Although Kingsley showed no outward sign of anger or frustration, she lost her next service game at love, leaving Day to serve for the match at 5-3. Day didn't get any first serves in play and Kingsley got the break she had to have with a forehand return winner. Kingsley fell behind 15-40 serving at 4-5, then saved two match points with some big hitting. But on the third match point Kingsley netted a backhand, and Day had completed the upset.
Caroline Dolehide, the 16s Easter Bowl finalist last year, got her first attempt at an 18s title off to a good start, downing No. 3 seed Johnnise Renaud 6-3, 6-3.
The 15-year-old Dolehide is known for her big serve and ground strokes, but she felt she had to change her strategy against Renaud.
"I did a lot of rolling," said Dolehide, who hadn't played Renaud before. "She's a really flat, hard-hitting player, and I just needed to get every ball back, wait for her to miss. You gotta play to win here. If she's hitting flat, you have to make every ball, grind it out to do well."
The third seed to lose in first round play Tuesday was No. 13 seed Cassandra Vazquez, who lost to Nicole Kalhorn 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. Top seed Sofia Kenin defeated Ally McKenzie 6-3, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Usue Arconada advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Elysse Graci.
Boys top seed Francis Tiafoe cruised into the second round with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Jesse Ruder-Hook.
In the first round of doubles Tuesday, girls top seeds Usue Arconada and Katie Swan lost to Francesca Di Lorenzo and Sofia Kenin 6-2, 7-6(2). No. 3 seeds Kingsley and Madison Bourguignon also fell, losing to 2013 16s champions Dolehide and Brienne Minor 6-4, 6-4.
Complete scores can be found at the TennisLink site.
For additional coverage of the tournament, see usta.com.