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Saturday, April 16, 2016

USTA Asics Easter Bowl Recap; Stanford Women Hand No. 1 Cal First Loss; Kozlov Reaches Final in Little Rock; Falconi Advances to First WTA Tour Final

This year I'm doing two recaps of the Asics Easter Bowl for the Tennis Recruiting Network. The first one, which covers the 12s, 14s and 16s, is up today.  The ITF Easter Bowl recap will be up next week. I'm hoping to get the slide shows and videos up for Carson and the Easter Bowl in the next couple of weeks.

In the big women's tennis match of the day, No. 17 seed Stanford defeated No. 1 Cal 4-3, handling the Bears their first loss of the season. Cal had beaten Stanford 4-3 in Berkeley two weeks ago, with Stanford winning the doubles point there; today, Cal won the doubles point and lost four of six singles matches.  Stanford got quick, straight set wins from Carol Zhao at 1 and Krista Hardebeck at 4 to take a 2-1 lead; Cal countered with Klara Fabikova's 6-4, 6-4 win over Taylor Davidson at No. 2 to make it 2-2. Caroline Doyle saved five match points to defeat Lynn Chi at No. 3 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, making it 3-2 Stanford, but that lead was short-lived, as Karla Popovic beat Melissa Lord 7-6, 7-5 at line 6 to pull the Bears even.

The match came down to line 5, with two freshmen, Caroline Lampl and Olivia Hauger battling in a third set. The scoreboard on the live stream wasn't working, but with Hauger serving at 3-4 she was broken, I believe on a deciding point, and Lampl served out the match with ease. Hauger was familiar with her position, having won the match that decided the National Team Indoor champioship back in February. The win gives Stanford a chance at the Pac-12 title and most likely, an opportunity to host the first two rounds of the NCAAs.

Stefan Kozlov advanced to the final of the $25,000 Futures in Little Rock with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Tennys Sandgren.  Kozlov, the No. 3 seed, beat No. 2 seed Sandgren in a semifinal for the second time in four months, having beaten the former Tennessee All-American 6-1, 6-1 in the Los Angeles Futures back in January.  The 18-year-old Kozlov, who reached the final of the ATP Challenger in Guadeloupe last week, will play No. 5 seed Eric Quigley, who defeated Dennis Nevolo 6-3, 6-1.

At the $100,000 Sarasota Challenger, Bjorn Fratangelo, the last US man still alive, lost to Mischa Zverev of Germany 6-2, 6-4. Zverev will play No. 3 seed Gerald Melzer of Austria in the final.

At the $25,000 Women's USTA Pro Circuit event in Pelham, Alabama, Grace Min will go for her second straight title Sunday against unseeded Bernarda Pera.  Min, the No. 6 seed, defeated Lauren Albanese 6-3, 7-5, while Pera eliminated qualifier Taylor Townsend 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.  Townsend did get a title on Saturday, partnering Asia Muhammad to take the doubles title. The top seeds beat No. 3 seeds Caitlin Whoriskey and Sophie Chang 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

Former Georgia Tech star Irina Falconi has reached the first WTA final of her career in Bogota, beating No. 4 seed Lara Arruabarrena of Spain 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.  Falconi, the No. 5 seed, will play another Spaniard, unseeded Silvia Soler-Espinosa in Sunday's final. For more on the semifinal matches, see the WTA website.