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Monday, April 2, 2018

Sands, Bernard Oust Seeds on Day One of ITF International Spring Championships, Top Seeds Take the Courts on Tuesday

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Carson, CA--

The first day of the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships saw 14 of the 32 seeds in action, with five of them falling in the first round on a cool and cloudy day at the USTA Player Development West courts at Stubhub Center.

Andrew Fenty, the No. 3 seed, was the only top four seed to play on Monday and he had no difficulty getting past wild card Daniel Milavsky 6-2, 6-1.  Top boys seeds Drew Baird and Tristan Boyer will play on Tuesday, but Boyer will not face Easter Bowl semifinalist Siem Woldeab, who withdrew on Monday, with John Bernard replacing him as a lucky loser. 

Bernard's younger brother Alex was one of the players pulling off an upset Monday, with the 14-year-old from Florida defeating No. 15 seed Tomas Kopczynski 7-5, 7-6(8).

Bernard, who competed in the 16s division at the Easter Bowl, finishing sixth, played seven singles matches in the desert heat, so adjusting to the markedly different conditions was the first order of business.

"It was a tough week," Bernard said of his Easter Bowl results. "I didn't play my best, but I thought I competed pretty well. Physically it was a tough week also, a lot of matches, and quite different circumstances, windy and colder. I was a little bit sluggish from that."

Bernard converted his only break point to go up 6-5 in the first set and held to win it. He got a late break in the second set, serving for the match at 5-4, 30-0, but four unforced errors later it was 5-all.  Kopczynski, 17, had three set points with Bernard serving at 5-6, 0-40, but Bernard saved them and two more set points in the tiebreaker to claim the win.

"It was a tough match, trying to get his serve back," Bernard said. "He's a really big guy. In the second set, I started to get a little bit tired, I could feel it a little bit, so I tried to focus on some short points, keep my energy up, because it could have gone the other way really quickly."

In addition to Kopczynski, three other boys seeds in the bottom half of the draw went out Monday.  Alexander Kiefer beat No. 11 seed Jaycer Lyeons 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, Brian Shin defeated No. 14 seed Vikash Singh of India 7-6(5), 6-2 and Jake Sands downed No. 6 seed Keenan Mayo 6-3, 6-4.

Sands, who received a wild card into the tournament, had a comfortable 6-3, 4-2 40-15 lead over Mayo when the tide began to turn. Sands made a few errors, Mayo stayed in the points longer, and on his first break point opportunity of the set, Mayo converted to get back on serve. Mayo held in a three-deuce game to make it 4-4 and Sands went down 30-40, but he came up with a clutch winner to save the break point and went on to hold.

"It was so important to hold that game," said Sands, an 18-year-old from nearby Pacific Palisades. "He would have served for the set, and he was playing pretty confidently at that point, a few games in a row."

Mayo had been complaining to the chair umpire about calls frequently throughout the match and had received a warning for racquet abuse earlier. After Sands held for 5-4, Mayo was given a point penalty for an audible obscenity, so Sands started the game up 15-0 when Mayo needed a hold to stay in the match.

"That 0-15 point is huge, because if I win the next point it's already 0-30," Sands said. "I knew he would be pissed getting down 0-30 right away."

Sands did get that point for 0-30, then hit a great forehand at the feet of Mayo, who was approaching the net, to go up 0-40.  Another foray into the net by Mayo ended the match, when he netted a volley to give Sands the victory.

Sands said the many conversations between Mayo and the chair umpire didn't bother him.

"I just focused," said Sands. "It kind of helped me knowing he was complaining and whining out there."

Although he doesn't travel outside of Southern California to compete very often, Sands believes his level is comparable to that of many of those playing ITF tournaments.

"I know I'm in there with them," said Sands, who has committed to USC for this fall. "It doesn't really matter. A lot of these guys are traveling a lot and I think there are other closer tournaments to play. I just know I'm in there and I'm confident, so it helps."

The fourth boys seed to fall was No. 16 seed Axel Nefve, who lost to Alex Lee 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(8).

The only girls seed to lose on Monday was No. 16 seed Abigail Forbes, who went out to 13-year-old wild card Robin Montgomery 7-5, 6-3. Top seeds Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine and Natasha Subhash will play their opening matches against qualifiers on Tuesday.

No. 4 seed Gabby Price withdrew Monday and will be replaced by lucky loser Elaine Chervinsky.

The 18s doubles will begin on Tuesday, with boys top seeds Drew Baird and William Woodall and No. 2 seeds Boyer and Eliot Spizzirri getting byes. Bilokin and Elli Mandlik are the top seeds in the girls doubles, with Hailey Baptiste and Peyton Stearns the No. 2 seeds. They also have byes into the second round.

All 16 of the seeded singles players in the 16s division had byes today, with boys top seeds Spencer Brachman and Hunter Heck and girls top seeds Mell Reasco Gonzalez of Ecuador and Lauren Anzalotta-Kynoch of Puerto Rico playing second round matches Tuesday.

Complete results from today's 16s and 18s singles and 16s doubles can be found at the tournament website.


Spectator at the Match said...

The chair umpire admitted after the match that the so-called obscenity was actually inaudible and that it was "muttered under his breath." This is yet another example of a power-hungry official insinuating himself into a hotly-contested match involving two quality players resulting in an unfair influence on the outcome. These chair umps frankly have no business making all of the line calls from the chairs and bad calls happen every single year at this tournament unfortunately.