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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tran Ousts No. 6 Seed Forbes; No. 4 Seed Kodat Survives Third Set Tiebreaker to Move into Adidas Easter Bowl ITF Third Round; Woestendick and Bhakta Save Match Points to Make Finals in 12s and 14s Divisions; Top Seed Maslova Falls in 16s

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Indian Wells, CA--

After the girls draw lost only one seed in the first round Tuesday at the ITF Grade B1 Easter Bowl, things changed in Wednesday's second round, with four seeds exiting, including two of the top 8.

Reilly Tran pulled off the biggest upset, with the 17-year-old left-hander from Virginia taking out No. 6 seed Abigail Forbes 6-4, 7-6(4) in just her second ITF Junior Circuit tournament.

Despite her unfamiliarity with the ITF Junior Circuit scene, Tran wasn't stressed about playing a seeded player on the Center court.

"I felt so relaxed when I was out there, I wasn't even thinking about the score," said Tran, a junior who has verbally committed to North Carolina. "It was probably good that they (the live streaming crew) was keeping score. I just focused on doing my shots and I didn't let anything bother me too much. Even when I missed, I still felt like I was in there. I wasn't getting too down or anything."

Tran showed that composure in the second set tiebreaker, when she made an unforced error with a 5-3 lead. With Forbes back on serve, Tran stepped up, hitting her two-handed forehand for winners on the next two points to close out the win.

Tran understands the limitations of her two-handed forehand, but has determined that is how she wants to play the game.

"I've played tennis since I was five, and started out with two hands," Tran said. "The place I was at, they wanted me to change, because it's a really big disadvantage running-wise, but I was small, and I wanted to hit hard. So I was like, you know what, I'm going to do it this way. I know it's going to be hard, and I'll have obstacles and people aren't going to like it, but it's the way I want to play."

Tran didn't have to be prompted to name a player with a similar approach to the game.

"Monica Seles has obviously been my biggest inspiration, and [Marion] Bartoli," Tran said. "I watch her matches and it's really inspiring to have those people up there playing with two hands so I feel like I can do it."

Tran was out for a long stretch at the beginning of 2018 after having hip surgery and did not return to action until August.

"I've just been training a lot, trying to get my stamina back where I want it to be," Tran said. "I go to regular school, so I don't really travel for ITFs. This is my second ITF, first ITF main draw, so it's been a great experience."

Top seed Hurricane Tyra Black was leading Anna Zhang 6-4, 4-1, but lost five straight games to find herself in a third set. She regained her form however, and went on to post a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.  No. 2 seed Elli Mandlik defeated Natasha Subhash 7-5, 6-4.

No. 8 seed Charlotte Chavatipon lost to Fiona Crawley 7-5, 6-3; No. 9 seed Kylie Collins lost to Sanyukta Gawande 6-3, 6-4 and No. 11 seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico lost to wild card Kimmi Hance 7-6(3), 6-3.
The boys second round didn't produce any major upsets, although No. 4 seed Toby Kodat was on the brink against unseeded Stefan Dostanic before pulling out a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4) victory.  Kodat saw a 3-0 lead get away in the third set.

"I was up in the beginning, but I let him back in," said Kodat. "It came down to just a couple of points in the end that decided it."

One of those points came with Dostanic serving at 3-3 in the third set tiebreaker, when Kodat's slice, which looked certain to catch the tape, skimmed over it, catching Dostanic completely off guard.

"Yeah that slice, I was surprised it went over too, and he didn't play it," said Kodat, 16. "It was a lucky shot."

Kodat then followed with a more conventional forehand winner, then dropped a soft short forehand over the net to give him a 6-3 lead. He didn't convert his first match point, but Kodat got the win on his second opportunity, with Dostanic netting a forehand to end it.

"He was a aggressive player," said Kodat, who found himself playing plenty of his one-handed backhands, as Dostanic kept attacking that corner. "So I needed to defend well."

Kodat wasn't done with stress-filled matches, as he and partner Martin Damm, the top seeds in doubles, saved two match points after coming back from 8-4 in the match tiebreaker to beat Saiprakash Goli and Presley Thieneman 6-0, 6-7(4), 15-13 in the second round.

2018 16s Easter Bowl champion Keshav Chopra, the No. 12 seed, was beaten by wild card Aidan Mayo 6-2, 7-6(4).

The finals are set for Thursday in the 12s and 14s divisions, with two players getting there by saving multiple match points.

Boys 12s second seed Cooper Woestendick saved three match points and needed three hours and 40 minutes to subdue No. 3 seed Darren Huang 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-7.  Points were often minutes long, as moonballs were a common strategy for both players, with Woestendick occasionally trying to sneak in to take Huang's high loopers out of the air. In the match tiebreaker, Woestendick went up 9-3, but made a couple of uncharacteristic errors and began to get nervous when Huang got it to 9-7. But Woestendick opted to be aggressive on the next point and drove a winner past Huang. The boys embraced, exhausted, at the net.  Woestendick will face No. 13 seed Abhishek Thorat, who overpowered top seed Maxwell Exsted 6-2, 6-2.

The other player saving match points was Girls 14s No. 2 seed Ria Bhakta, who turned away five in her 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over No. 15 seed Qavia Lopez. Bhakta will play No. 3 seed Tsehay Driscoll, who beat top seed Stephanie Yakoff 7-5, 6-3.

The boys 14s final will feature No. 12 seed Juncheng (Jerry) Shang and No. 3 seed Lucas Brown.  Shang defeated top seed Aidan Kim 6-0, 6-2 and Brown got by No. 15 seed Learner Tien 6-4, 7-5.

The lone No. 1 seed playing for a singles title on Thursday is Girls 12s Thea Latak, who advanced to the final with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Emily Deming. Latak will face unseeded Daniela Borruel, who beat No. 14 seed Annika Renganathan 6-3, 6-2.

Live streaming will be available for the 12s and 14s singles finals at Easterbowl.com

The 12s and 14s doubles finals are also set for Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. See below for the results from today's semifinals.

Boys' 12 Doubles (Semifinal Round)
Abhinav Chunduru (Plano, TX)/Prathinav Chunduru (2) (Plano, TX) def. Brandon Vu (Chino Hills, CA)/Vincent Yang (3) (Kirkland, WA) 6-3; 6-3
Andrew Ena (Rego Park, NY)/Mark Krupkin (4) (Millburn, NJ) def. Maxwell Exsted (Savage, MN)/Cooper Woestendick (1) (Olathe, KS) 6-1; 3-6; 1-0(5)

Boys' 14 Doubles (Semifinal Round)
Lucas Brown (Plano, TX)/Aidan Kim (1) (Milford, MI) def. Andrew Delgado (High Point, NC)/Quang Duong (Manhattan Beach, CA) 6-3; 6-2
Waleed Qadir (Greenville, NC)/Cooper Williams (4) (New York, NY) def. Nicholas Godsick (Chagrin Falls, OH)/John Lasanajak (2) (Lawrenceville, GA) 6-4; 1-6; 1-0(7)

Girls' 12 Doubles (Semifinal Round)
Thea Latak (Darien, IL)/Natasha Rajaram (2) (Cupertino, CA) def. Fiona Lee (Ladera Ranch, CA)/Krisha Mahendran (Oak Park, CA) 6-2; 6-2
Daniela Borruel (Buena Park, CA)/Rebecca Kong (San Diego, CA) def. Bianca Molnar (Ladera Ranch, CA)/Aspen Schuman (5) (Menlo Park, CA) 6-3; 6-2

Girls' 14 Doubles (Semifinal Round)
Tsehay Driscoll (La Canada Flintridge, CA)/Madison Smith (2) (Bountiful, UT) def. Grace Levelston (Vero Beach, FL)/Maddy Zampardo (Grosse Pointe Farms, MI) 6-4; 2-6; 1-0(5)
Natalie Block (Plantation, FL)/Lara Smejkal (1) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Lauren Joyce (Lodi, CA)/Madison Weekley (5) (Alamo, CA) 6-4; 6-4

The quarterfinals are set in the 16s division, with girls top seed Nadejda Maslova falling to No. 9 seed Vivian Ovrootsky 7-5, 7-5 in today's round of 16 matches at Palm Valley Country Club.  Ovrootsky won the ITF Grade 4 in Irvine last week.

The results from today's 16s third round singles are below.

Boys' 16 Singles (Round of 16)
Aryan Chaudhary (1) def. Luke Neal (14) 6-3; 6-7(1); 7-5
Gabrielius Guzauskas (6) def. Sundeep Chakladar 6-3; 6-2
Samir Banerjee (3) def. Ethan Quinn 6-3; 6-3
Victor Lilov (16) def. Jake Krug 6-4; 6-2
Jake Sweeney def. Daniel Schmelka (10) 6-2; 6-2
Thomas Paulsell (4) def. Evan Wen 5-7; 6-1; 7-6(3)
JJ Tracy (9) def. Kyle Kang 6-2; 5-7; 6-4
Adit Sinha def. Andrew Chang 4-6; 6-3; 6-1

Girls' 16 Singles (Round of 16)
Vivian Ovrootsky (9) def. Nadejda Maslova (1) 7-5; 7-5
Sophia Fornaris (14) def. Jennifer Riester (8) 7-6(2); 6-4
Gracie Epps def. Sydni Ratliff (11) 6-2; 6-1
Emma Charney def. Ava Catanzarite (15) 6-3; 7-5
DJ Bennett (10) def. Katherine Hui 6-1; 6-0
Julia Fliegner (3) def. Gavriella Smith (16) 3-6; 6-1; 6-4
Daniella Benabraham (12) def. Eleana Yu (7) 2-6; 6-2; 6-3
Reese Brantmeier def. Brooke Killingsworth (13) 6-3; 6-3