Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kirkov Survives Tough Second Round at Adidas Easter Bowl ITF, then Withdraws with Injury; Tsygura on Boland's Departure; Finals Set for 12s and 14s Divisions

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Indian Wells, CA--

Temperatures rose into the 90s for the second round of the adidas Easter Bowl ITF tournament Wednesday, but the energy-sapping heat didn't result in any major upsets.

Unseeded Paul Barretto took down No. 16 seed Keenan Mayo 6-0, 6-3 in the only match a seeded boy lost Wednesday; two seeded girls were eliminated, with Alexa Noel taking out Natasha Subhash 6-2, 7-6(1) and Rachel Lim, the 2014 girls 14s champion, beating No. 8 seed Nicole Mossmer 7-6(5), 6-2.

No. 3 seed Vasil Kirkov was on the verge of being upset by Blake Croyder, two points from elimination serving at 4-5 in the third set, but Kirkov managed to survive by winning several key points near the end to take a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory. It was the only three-set match of the 16 played in the boys draw.

"He was playing really relaxed, as if he had nothing to lose," said Kirkov. "He was just going out swinging. We're good friends, we've played a lot of junior tournaments together and trained at Boca. In the first set, I played all right, maybe I was trying to force a little too much early on."

Kirkov is suffering from a sprained finger on his right hand, and he used a medical timeout to get treatment on it after the first set. Kirkov then went on a run, winning eight of the next nine games, to take a 2-0 lead in the third set, but Croyder wasn't done, getting the break back. Both players held, with Kirkov using some good serving to get out of that 4-5 0-30 hole.

"I hit some good services, one ace, a couple of unreturnables," Kirkov said. "Maybe he felt a little pressure after that, that he missed his chance a little bit. At 5-all he made a couple of mistakes, but I felt I did a good job of making him play."

Croyder missed a volley to go down 30-40 and then netted a forehand to give Kirkov the break. He closed out the match with more good serving, finishing it on his first match point, with a good first serve and forehand in the corner."

Kirkov played the qualifying for the Miami Open two weeks ago, going three sets with Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.  The finger sprain was an issue back then as well, and Kirkov considered dropping out of the Easter Bowl due to the persistent pain, but decided to try to play knowing he is not 100 percent.

"I'm not expecting a lot of myself," said Kirkov, who pulled out of the second round of doubles today. "I thought why not, everything's paid for already, so I might as well give it a try, but it's probably not going to work out."

Later in the day, Kirkov withdrew from singles as well, giving No. 14 seed Kyrylo Tsygura a walkover into to the quarterfinals.

Tsygura advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Austen Huang, focusing well despite his surprise upon learning that the coach he thought he would be playing for at the University of Virginia next year, Brian Boland, was leaving to head men's tennis at the USTA.

"I was pretty surprised because I didn't hear anything about it," said Tsygura, who saw the news on twitter Tuesday night, but wasn't certain until this morning, when he received a call from Boland."The team was doing so good, and everything seemed to be going so good, it just kind of shocked me, I guess."

Tsygura, who turns 18 in May, said that Boland was a "super important" part of his decision to commit to Virginia.

"He was one of the best coaches in college tennis," Tsygura said. "After we met him, my parents, they loved him too. I was looking forward to working with him for the next few years. Now it's getting ready to who is coming in and adjust for that. Four seniors are leaving, coach Boland is leaving, so it will be a fresh start almost."

Although Tsygura is disappointed that he won't be coached by Boland in the next few years, he understands why Boland chose to leave.

"I told him I was really happy for him," Tsygura said. "He's so outgoing and resourceful and he knows so many people, I think he can really help the USTA. I'm sure he'll know what to do, because he's been with juniors and college and all those guys for so long."

Top seed Trent Bryde defeated Ryan Goetz 6-3, 6-4 to advance against Barretto.  A rematch of the 2015 Kalamazoo 16s final will be played Thursday, with No. 9 seed Alexandre Rotsaert taking on No. 6 seed Patrick Kypson.  Rotsaert defeated Bill Duo 6-0, 6-1, while Kypson came from two breaks down in the first set to defeated Axel Nefve 7-5, 6-2.

Top seed Claire Liu beat Malkia Menguene 6-4, 6-3 and will play No. 16 seed Elli Mandlik Thursday.  No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson kept the drama to a minimum in her rematch with Kelly Chen, after Chen had failed to convert a match point in the second round last week in Carson. Johnson won today 6-3, 6-2, and will play No. 14 seed Vanessa Ong on Thursday.

The most exciting finish of a girls match today was No. 12 seed Amanda Meyer's 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) win over Janice Shin.  Meyer was broken serving for the match at 5-4 in the third without getting a match point, but she raised her level dramatically in the tiebreaker, hitting winners and forcing errors from Shin.  Meyer will play No. 5 seed Hailey Baptiste, who also came from a set down, beating Salma Ewing 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

The draws can be found at the ITF junior website.  The order of play is available at the Easter Bowl website.

The singles finals for the 12s and 14s divisions will be played Thursday morning at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The boys 14s championship match will feature No. 9 seed Alexander Bernard and No. 2 seed Aryan Chaudhary. The girls 14s title will be decided between top seed Gianna Pielet and No. 8 seed Charlotte Owensby.

In the boys 12s, Nishesh Basavareddy and Kyle Kang will play for the championship, while the girls 12s final will feature Priya Nelson and Eleana Yu. None of the 12s finalists are seeded.

The doubles finals were played Wednesday evening, with Pielet, Basavareddy and Chaudhary winning gold balls in advance of their singles finals Thursday.  Below are photos of the winners.  Complete results can be found at the TennisLink site.

Boys' 12 Doubles (Final): Landon Ardila/Nishesh Basavareddy def. Brock Anderson/John Kim 6-3, 7-6(4)

Girls' 12 Doubles (Final): Gracie Epps/Ireland Simme (5) def. Phoebe Peus/Matilyn Wang 6-3, 2-6, 10-6

Boys' 14 Doubles (Final): Timothy Li/ Aryan Chaudhary (3) def. Martin Damm/Aidan Mayo 7-5, 6-1

Girls' 14 Doubles (Final): Kylie Collins/Gianna Pielet (1) def. Avery Durham/Allie Gretkowski 6-0, 6-4

Boys' 14 Singles (Semifinal Round)
Alexander Bernard (9) (Bonita Springs, FL) def. Maxwell McKennon (1) (Newport Beach, CA) 6-3, 6-1
Aryan Chaudhary (2) (Santa Clara, CA) def. Martin Damm (Bradenton, FL) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

Boys' 14 Doubles (Third Place)
Jameson Corsillo / Maxwell McKennon def. Grant Durham / Isaac Smith 6-1, 6-3

Girls' 14 Singles (Semifinal Round)
Gianna Pielet (1) (El Paso, TX) def. Kailey Evans (6) (Ennis, TX) Wo (inj)
Charlotte Owensby (8) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Connie Ma (14) (Dublin, CA) 6-3, 6-3

Girls' 14 Doubles (Third Place)
Amber Fuller / Sophia Strugnell def. Kailey Evans / Katherine Petty (2) Wo (inj)

Boys' 12 Singles (Semifinal Round)
Kyle Kang (Fullerton, CA) def. Lucas Brown (3) (Plano, TX) 4-6, 6-1, 10-5
Nishesh Basavareddy (Carmel, IN) def. Cooper Williams (4) (New York, NY) 6-2, 6-4

Boys' 12 Doubles (Third Place)
Jelani Sarr/Cooper Williams (1) def. James Rico/Learner Tien (5) 6-2, 6-4

Girls' 12 Singles (Semifinal Round)
Priya Nelson (Sacramento, CA) def. Violeta Martinez (9) (Port Saint Lucie, FL) 6-4, 2-6, 10-2
Eleana Yu (Mason, OH) def. Matilyn Wang (1) (Scottsdale, AZ) 6-4, 6-2

Girls' 12s Doubles (Third Place)
Jaiden McKee/Stephanie Yakoff (5) def. Daria Smetannikov/Elizabeth Tkachenko 6-4, 6-4