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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wet Weather Continues at ITF J300 San Diego, but Svajda and Filin Manage to Finish Off Seeds; Secord and Walker Take ITF Junior Circuit Singles Titles

©Colette Lewis 2023--
San Diego CA--

A two-hour hiatus from the rain was available for second round matches at the Youth Tennis San Diego ITF J300 Tuesday, and Trevor Svajda and Nikita Filin seized their moment, with Svajda defeating ITF J300 Indian Wells champion and No. 14 seed Cooper Woestendick 7-5, 6-4 and Filin avenging a previous loss to No. 4 seed Keegan Rice of Canada 0-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Svajda is a familiar name in junior tennis, with his older brother Zachary a two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion, but the 16-year-old from San Diego has played little on the ITF Junior Circuit, with this event the third of his career. Svajda trains at the Barnes Tennis Center, where he won the ITF J30 last November without dropping a set, and after reaching a Universal Tennis Pro Tennis Tour final early this month in Newport Beach, he was prepared to put his wild card to good use this week.

After beating Aayush Bhat 6-1, 6-0 Monday, Svajda faced the red-hot Woestendick in today's second round, and managed to play excellent tennis despite the unpleasant combination of cold and wind that prevailed throughout the match.

"He was a great player," said Svajda, who was aware of Woestendick's title last week. "It was pretty tight, both sets took just one break and I got lucky to break him."

Svajda pointed to his serve as a major reason for his win, and after Woestendick had saved a match point serving at 3-5 in the second set, he needed to rely on it one last time.

"The nerves were definitely there," Svajda said of the final game, which required saving a break point. "But throughout the whole match, I was serving great, even in this wind. I don't know how. It is usually windy here, but not like this."

With older brother Zachary living in Los Angeles and training at the USTA's center in Carson, Trevor also has opportunities to work out with the players there on occasion, although he doesn't recall seeing his next opponent, No. 1 seed Kaylan Bigun, there. Bigun defeated qualifier Nathan Blokhin 6-1, 6-0 in under an hour Tuesday.

"Tough draw," Svajda said. "But I don't play any junior tournaments, so everyone's new to me."

Filin was well versed in the game of his opponent, No. 4 seed Keegan Rice, who had beaten him 6-2, 6-2 en route to the ITF 300 title in Nicholasville Kentucky last fall.

It looked as if their second meeting was going to produce a similar result when Filin lost the first set 6-0, and was broken to start the second, but he roared back to earn a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.

"I thought to myself, just make it competitive, because the games that I lost were pretty close," said the 16-year-old from Illinois, who has verbally committed to Ohio State. "I was just giving him too many short balls, and it was pretty windy out there, so I had to swing harder to get the ball deeper."

Filin also found a tactic that produced the results he was looking for.

"I just tried to get him off his front foot, use my lefty rolls to my advantage, because he likes everything flat and in his strike zone," Filin said. "So I tried to mix it up with some slices, started to come in off my slice, serve and volley a little bit, try not to let him get a rhythm from the back, to mix it up more."

Filin will face No. 13 seed Max Exsted, his doubles partner, next, after Exsted defeated wild card Calvin Wang 6-2, 6-0.

The weather forecast for Wednesday contains a 50% chance of rain in the morning, which will likely mean another late night at Barnes, with none of the girls second round matches completed today and several boys second matches still in progress, and no boys doubles matches yet played.

Last week's ITF Junior Circuit produced not only all six champions at the ITF J300 Indian Wells, but also two singles and four doubles titles in other parts of North and Central America.

Fourteen-year-old Jack Secord earned his first ITF Junior Circuit title last week at the J30 in Monterrey Mexico. Seeded No. 16, Secord defeated the No. 1 seed in the first round and went on to defeat unseeded Maximo Llamas Castellanos of Mexico 6-4, 6-2 in the final, with all his victories coming in straight sets.

Catherine Walker swept the titles at the J60 in El Salvador, with the 18-year-old, seeded No. 2, beating No. 1 seed and doubles partner Sam Grosjean of France 6-4, 7-6(3) for her fourth ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Top seeds Walker and Grosjean defeated the unseeded Canadian team of Samila Jarrah and Havana Kadi 6-0, 6-1 in the final, giving Walker three ITF Junior Circuit doubles titles.

The boys doubles title in El Salvador went to Abhinav and Prathinav Chunduru, with the top seeds defeating the unseeded Colombian team of Lucas Castillo Sanchez and Juan David Robayo Arias 6-0, 6-3 in the final. It's the second ITF Junior Circuit doubles title for the twin brothers.

At the J200 in the Domincan Republic, the unseeded team of Oliva Center and Sophia Webster took the girls doubles title, beating the unseeded pair of Natalia Castaneda Guerrero of Mexico and Tereza Krejcova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-1 in the final. It's the fourth ITF Junior Circuit doubles title for the 17-year-old daughter of UCLA women's coach Stella Sampras Webster and the third for Center, who has verbally committed to UCLA. They did not lose a set in their five victories.

Andrew Delgado won the boys doubles title in the Dominican Republic, partnering with Ilyas Fahim of Morocco. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 5 seeds Thomas Faurel of France and Nikola Jovic of Serbia 3-6, 6-3 13-11 in the final. It's the fourth ITF Junior Circuit doubles title for the 17-year-old Delgado, who also reached the quarterfinals in singles.


Md Rasel Islam said...