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Sunday, March 31, 2024

Kennedy Leads ITF Junior Circuit in Wins with Seven Other Americans Also Featured in ITF's Review of Top 2024 Performances; Two Top 10 Upsets Sunday as UCLA Women Beat Stanford, Auburn Women Top Georgia

After back-to-back-to-back weeks at major junior tournaments, I'll be slowing down considerably in the next couple of days, and it may take me longer than that to get through the news I missed during this three-week stretch in Southern California.

But I did run across this article from the ITF last week, which highlights the top performances of the first three months of 2024 on the ITF Junior Circuit, with a handful of Americans featured, all but one of whom competed in one or more of the Southern California tournaments just concluded. 

Jack Kennedy, the ITF J300 San Diego champion, leads the ITF Junior Circuit in wins in 2024, with 23, while Yannik Alvarez, who represents Puerto Rico, but lives and trains in Georgia, leads the Junior Circuit in titles this year, with six. Ryan Cozad, Alvarez's friend and doubles partner, also rates a mention. Cozad, the 2023 Easter Bowl 14s finalist, will unfortunately be out with an elbow injury for the next four to six weeks; he slipped and fell in his second round match against Liam Alvarez(no relation to Yannik), leading to his retirement in both singles and doubles, where he and Yannick Alvarez were the top seeds and favorites. He had his arm in a sling at the Indian Wells Tennis Center the following day, but is expected to be back for the USTA Level 1s this summer, if not sooner.

Ian Mayew, Shannon Lam and Thea Frodin, all of whom competed in the two ITF J300s are mentioned, as is Ava Rodriguez, who finished third in the Easter Bowl 16s yesterday. Kaitlyn Rolls, who won the Banana Bowl J500 in Brazil this month, did not compete in the Southern California tournaments.

I'm sure I've missed some important developments in college tennis too, but two results stood out to me today in women's Division I. No. 16 Auburn defeated No. 4 Georgia 4-3 on Senior Day with fifth-year Carolyn Ansari clinching for the Tigers at No. 1 with a  6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Dasha Vidmanova of Georgia. Georgia did not have Alexandra Vecic, who has been playing at the No. 2 position, in the lineup. Auburn dropped the doubles point, but got wins from DJ Bennett at No. 2, Ariana Arseneault at No. 3 and Angella Okutoyi at No. 4 to put Ansari in the position to clinch. The recap of Auburn's win can be found here, with the full box score included.

The Pac-12 has been extremely competitive this year, with Stanford, USC, Cal and UCLA all capable of beating each other and doing so in various configurations this weekend. No. 17 UCLA got the biggest win today, beating No. 5 Stanford 4-3 on the road, with Kimmi Hance winning a third set tiebreaker from Connie Ma at No. 2 singles to deliver the fourth point. UCLA had a 3-0 lead before Stanford tied it up.  For more on the match, see this article from the UCLA website.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Manning, Wang and Payne Capture Titles in Early Morning Easter Bowl Finals; Collins Claims Miami Open Women's Singles Championship

©Colette Lewis 2024--
Indian Wells California--

Officials, players, coaches and families all breathed a sigh of relief Saturday morning when the last ball was struck at the FILA Easter Bowl at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with the skies darkening and the threat of rain increasing by the minute. Those competing on the final day, who had gotten up early in the morning in an attempt to beat the rain, were walking to the parking lot when the sprinkles began around 10 a.m., with their trophies in their bags and new Easter Bowl experiences in their memory banks.

For boys 18s champion William Manning, his last junior tournament delivered his first USTA gold ball, with the 2022 16s Easter Bowl finalist defeated unseeded Ronit Karki 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

A 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman at North Carolina State, Manning reached the final of the 16s division at Indian Wells in 2022, and he brought lessons from that experience into today's final.

"Two years ago, when I played in the finals, I think I was thinking about [a gold ball] too much," said the 18-year-old from Raleigh, who didn't lose a set in his six victories. "So going into this tournament, I knew it was going to be my last USTA, so I just wanted to enjoy every single moment, have fun. I think I did a really good job of just focusing on each point and not the outcome, and that really helped me."

Manning's serve, which exceeded 125 mph several times on the show court's speed display, was reliable throughout the final, although Karki did manage to get to deuce in three separate games, two of them in the first set.

"I had my chances to break in the first set, but I couldn't quite convert," said Karki, a 16-year-old from New Jersey, who played three matches on Friday, including the doubles title, which went past 8 p.m. "But he definitely locked in and played well on all the tight points, so hats off to him for that."

Manning's first few months as a member of the Wolfpack provided him with advantages and required adjustments when he returned to junior tennis this week.

"The intense training and hitting with bigger, stronger players has really helped me," said the No. 2 seed, who trains at the Raleigh Racquet Club, also the home of 16s champion Gavin Goode. "When you're in juniors, the balls aren't coming as fast, so adjusting to that was actually a little bit difficult at the beginning, because I wasn't used to the slow ball. But then I just decided to step into the court and play bigger tennis."

Manning, who said he's added 17 or 18 mph to his serve with the five inches he's grown since 2022, will now concentrate on lower level pro tennis this summer, with his 19th birthday in July making him ineligible for the Clay Courts and Kalamazoo.

"My main focus is Futures, trying to get into those, UTR tournaments and some of the PTTs maybe as well," said Manning, who plans on celebrating his first gold ball with Goode, who won his first in singles Friday afternoon.

Karki, who played three straight weeks, competing in the Indian Wells ITF J300, the San Diego ITF J300 and this week, is going to take some well-earned time off next month.

"I've played a lot of tournaments lately, so I'll probably just rest and go on a training block right now," said Karki, who trains at the Gooding Todero Academy in Orlando. "I'm looking forward to learning from this final and work on the things I want to work on."

While Manning earned his first gold ball, girls 18s champion Tianmei Wang collected her third, adding to those she won at the January 2023 18s Winter Nationals and 2021 14s Clay Courts when she defeated fellow No. 9 seed Daniela Borruel 6-4, 6-0.

Like Manning, Wang didn't drop a set in her six victories, posting five 6-0 sets; unlike Manning, it was not her serve, but her groundstrokes that did most of the damage throughout the event.

Wang admitted to being nervous to start, and although the first set began with four consecutive breaks, every game was full of lengthy rallies, with Borruel holding another deuce game for a 4-3 lead.  Wang saved a break point in her next service game and that sent her on a nine-game run to the championship.

"I was playing a little bit tight and she was pouncing on the short balls and I felt I was letting a lot of opportunities go, because I was a little nervous," said Wang, who turned 17 last week. "At 3-4, I told myself to get on the baseline, take the ball early and to run, because at the beginning my feet were kind of stuck to the ground."

Borruel had played for over three hours in her semifinal win over No. 2 seed Addison Lanton Friday afternoon, but didn't think that was responsible for her loss.

"I've had a lot of matches that have gone three hours in this tournament, so I'm kind of used to it," said the 17-year-old from Buena Park, who has played Wang often in Southern California sectional tournaments. "I was trying to stay with it, stick with it all the way through, but I don't think it had a significant impact on how I played."

Borruel, a high school junior who has verbally committed to USC for 2025, plans to play hard courts this year, but doesn't compete as much as the juniors who are enrolled in online school.

"I haven't been playing tournaments as much, because I go to public school, so I have to manage my schedule a lot more, but I'm going to try to play as much as I can and I think I'll play more women's ITFs," said Borruel, who was an Easter Bowl finalist in the 12s in 2019. 

"I always looked back at 12s, where I got to the finals of both doubles and singles, and I was like, oh man that was such a great tournament," said Borruel, who has been coached by her mother for years, but now has David Garcia helping her as well. "And now I have something new and different to remember the Easter Bowl by. It's a good way to remember that I'm still here, still developing my tennis."

Wang, who also attends regular school and has committed to Harvard for 2025, went out in the first round, to eventual champion Valerie Glozman, in the ITF J300 two weeks ago here in Indian Wells and lost in the second round of the ITF J300 in San Diego last week to Aspen Schuman.

"I think playing the ITFs before this really gave me a perspective on what level top players play at," said Wang, who is coached by former USC star and 1996 NCAA singles champion Cecil Mamiit in Burbank. "I try to channel what Valerie and Aspen did and I learned a lot from those matches."

Wang is considering competing at the Clay Courts in July, feeling the surface suits her game, and the Hard Courts in San Diego, where she had her best result in the Easter Bowl.

"When I was in 14s I got third, but that was the year it was held at Barnes(2021, due to the pandemic)," Wang said. "I usually play way better at Barnes."

While three of the four singles champions in the 12s and 14s also won the doubles title at the Easter Bowl, just one of the four in the 16s and 18s accomplished that feat: top seed Bella Payne.

Payne defeated No. 5 seed Isabelle DeLuccia 7-5, 6-0, after letting a 5-2 lead slip away in the first set, closing out the championship by winning the final eight games.

"I started playing less aggressive, hitting the ball a little shorter and giving her an opportunity to step in and rip it," said Payne, who didn't get to set point in her 5-2 service game and hit a drop shot wide on her one set point at 5-4. "She also started playing much better, hitting winners and taking control."

Down 15-40 in DeLuccia's 5-6 service game, Payne fought back to take the game and was able to close out the set on her third opportunity.

The second set went quickly, with DeLuccia attributing Payne's run to the pressure she was under.

"I had to play pretty perfectly, otherwise she would come in and take it, just rip the ball, said the 15-year-old New Jersey resident, who trains at the Garden State Tennis Center. "I had to go for a lot, and I just ended up making more errors than she did."

Payne, a left-hander who trains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, will be 17 in September, so she has the option of competing in the 16s at the Hard Courts in San Diego in August, and is leaning toward that, rather than the 18s. DeLuccia is also expecting to play the 16s as well.

After her recent run at USTA Level 1s, claiming the title at the USTA Winter Nationals in January, and sweeping singles and doubles here, Payne needed a minute to count up the number of gold balls she has earned in her junior career.

"Gold? Seven?" Payne said, not entirely confidently, but thrilled to have added two more to her total this week. "I definitely got a lot better as the week went on;  I think the conditions got easier to play in, the wind, and I got used to it and was able to read it a lot better."

For more on the boys 16s singles final and all four doubles finals, played Friday due to the forecast for rain Saturday, see my post from last night.

Complete results from 1-6 in singles and 1-4 in doubles here:

Singles Finals

B12s: Jiarui Zhang[2] d. Nathan Lee 6-2, 7-5

B14s: Andrew Johnson[2] d. Izyan Ahmad[4] 6-0, 6-2

B16s: Gavin Goode[2] d. Gus Grumet[1] 6-2, 6-1

B18s: William Manning[2] d. Ronit Karki 6-4, 6-1

G12s: Nikol Davletshina[1] d. Savannah Schmitz[9] 6-2, 6-2

G14s: Raya Kotseva[6] d. Anjani Vickneswaran[3] 6-0, 7-5

G16s: Bella Payne[1] d. Isabelle DeLuccia[5] 7-5, 6-0

G18s: Tianmei Wang[9] d. Daniela Borruel[9] 6-4, 6-0

3rd Place Matches

B12s: Rex Kulman[3] d. James Borchard[5] 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(6)

B14s: Safir Azam[1] d. Akshay Mirmira[7] 6-3, 6-0

B16s: Lukas Phimvongsa[3] d. Andrew Li Wo [inj]

B18s: Saahith Jayaraman[8] d. Jack Satterfield Wo [pc]

G12s: Nadia Poznick[2] d. Isabelle Nguyen 6-1, 6-0

G14s: Julia Seversen d. Kingsley Wolf 6-0, 6-2

G16s: Ava Rodriguez[9] d. Ellery Mendell 6-1, 6-2

G18s: Claire Hill[5] d. Addison Lanton[2] 5-7, 6-4, 6-1

Consolation Finals

B12s: Alexander Anderson[9] d. Daniel Gardality[4] 6-3, 4-6, [10-7]

B14s: Tabb Tuck[9] d. Luca Sevim[9] 6-4, 6-4

B16s: Liam Alvarez d. Vihaan Reddy 6-3, 6-3

B18s: Ian Bracks d. Callum Markowitz[9] 6-4, 6-3

G12s: Tanvi Pandey[9] d. Sophia Khomoutov[9] 6-0, 6-2

G14s: Reiley Rhodes[1] d. Boating Xu[8] 6-3, 6-7(5), [10-5]

G16s: Sena Yoon d. Carrie-Ann Hoo[6] 5-7, 6-3, [10-4]

G18s: Avery Nguyen[6] d. Sophia Webster 2-6, 7-5, [10-4]

Doubles Finals

B12s: James Borchard & Taiki Bortolin[1] d. Daniel Gardality & Andy Wu[2] 6-4, 6-2

B14s: Andrew Johnson & Izyan Ahmad[1] d. Gadin Arun & Paxton Au[3] 6-1, 6-1

B16s: Tyler Lee & Brayden Tallakson d. Adrien Abarca & Justin Riley Anson[5] 6-3, 6-3

B18s: Ronit Karki & Jack Satterfield[5] d. Krish Gupta & Rithvik Katpelly 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5

G12s: Isha Manchala & Nikol Davletshina[1] d. Audrey Dussault & Olivia Lin 6-4, 7-5

G14s: Raya Kotseva & Jordyn Hazelitt[4] d. Shaya Jovanovic & Julia Seversen[3] 6-4, 6-2

G16s: Bella Payne & Ava Rodriguez[2] d. Zimora McKnight & Anna Bugiaenko 6-4, 6-2

G18s: Sophia Webster & Olivia Center[5] d. Maren Urata & Sabrina Lin[5] 6-1, 3-6, 7-5

Doubles 3rd Place

B12s: Ashton Morey & Jason Zhao[3] d. Tanmay Konduri & Smyan Thuta[5] 1-6, 6-0, 6-2

B14s: Kahven Singh & Ryan Corcoran[4] d. Tabb Tuck & Arjun Krishnan 6-3, 6-0

B16s: Joseph Nau & Bryan Assi d. James Quattro & Yashwin Krishnakumar[5] 6-1, 7-6(4)

B18s: Cassius Chinlund & Dylan Jaen[5] d. John Cross & Niels Hoffmann 6-3, 6-0

G12s: Sophia Khomoutov & Tanvi Pandey d. Wendy Fan & Reena Alavalapati[4] 6-2, 6-2

G14s: Raina Kim & Madeleine Bridges[1] d. Bella Arwood & Reiley Rhodes 7-6(2), 6-3

G16s: Calla McGill & Georgia Kulevich[5] d. JoAnna Kennedy & Alyson Shannon[3] 7-5, 6-4

G18s: Katiana Gonzalez & Lani Brotman d. Kenzie Nguyen & Emily Deming 6-2, 6-1

Danielle Collins, who announced at the Australian Open that this would be her final year on tour, won her first WTA Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open in her home state. The 2014 and 2016 NCAA champion while competing for the University of Virginia, the 30-year-old Floridian is the lowest-ranked woman to ever win a Miami Open title. For more on her 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina in today's final, see this article.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Goode Claims Easter Bowl B16s Title with Two Wins Friday; Doubles Champions Crowned as Rain Looms for Saturday's Three Remaining Singles Finals

©Colette Lewis 2024--
Indian Wells California--

The days have been long all week at the FILA Easter Bowl, and even with the 12s and 14s divisions now complete, that continued into Friday. With rain forecast for Saturday, which was scheduled to be the final day of the tournament, players who won their semifinal matches were given the option of playing their final or rolling the dice on Saturday's weather.

All four doubles finals did finish, albeit some after 8 p.m., but only one of the singles finals was played Friday, with No. 2 seed Gavin Goode and No. 1 seed Gus Grumet, neither of whom was still in doubles, deciding to ensure their tournament would finish. (There is no option for holding over the tournament through Sunday). 

In their morning semifinals, Goode defeated No. 3 seed Lukas Phimvongsa 6-1, 7-5, while Grumet came from behind to beat unseeded Andrew Li 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. They agreed to play the final at 4 p.m., which coincided with the arrival of the Coachella Valley's famous winds, with gusts regularly exceeding 25 mph, with Goode negotiating that challenge better in his 6-2, 6-1 victory

Both players agreed that Goode's game style was more suited to the conditions, which had the chair umpire practically shouting the score to be heard over the flapping of the awnings over the court benches.

"The conditions didn't really favor him today," said Goode, a 15-year-old from Raleigh North Carolina. "He hits the ball a little bit flatter, not as much spin, he goes for more risks and the wind was just moving the ball all over."

"Wind doesn't really go that well with my game style," agreed Grumet, a 16-year-old from the San Francisco area. "If I wanted to win I'd have to make a lot of adjustments that would be really, really difficult for me to pull off. He has a great game that is more compatible with the wind, and my game style is to open up the court and use my backhand to finish off points, but that was really difficult with the wind today; it was tough to get games and complete strings of points because the wind was really unpredictable."

Goode went up 5-0 in the first set, but Grumet did manage hold and then to break Goode before he lost his serve again to drop the set. After Grumet returned from a bathroom break Goode's momentum continued, taking another 3-0 lead.

Given the difficult conditions, the match featured many long and entertaining points as the two left-handers did manage to engage in extended rallies.

Goode said the fact that Grumet was also left-handed actually helped him, given Grumet's stronger backhand.

"I played him almost like he was right-handed," said Goode, who is coached by his father Paul and Jonny Rigby at the Raleigh Racquet Club. "I thought he had a better backhand, his backhand is very good, so I was trying to go a little bit more to his forehand, like my forehand to a righty's backhand."

Goode stayed in front throughout the second set, and any opportunity for a comeback like the one Grumet pulled off in the morning's semifinal diminished as the winds increased.

"I kept my racquet speed up and made smart decisions, go for the smartest shots," said Goode, who showed signs of an ab problem when serving and even resorting to an underhand serve on one occasion. "Go for big targets, not play for the lines, and that really helped."

After closing out the match with an ace, Goode had earned his first gold ball in singles, adding it to the gold ball he won in doubles at the USTA Winter Nationals, where he reached the singles final.

Goode will head to Florida for the ITF J100 tournaments coming up next month, with both Goode and Grumet planning to play 16s in Kalamazoo in August.

The girls 16s singles final could not be played Friday, once top seed Bella Payne won her Friday morning singles semifinal, beating Ellery Mendell 6-2, 6-0 and then went on to win in doubles to advance to that final as well. Payne and partner Ava Rodriguez, who lost to Isabelle DeLuccia 6-4, 6-3 in her singles semifinal ended up claiming two victories. The No. 2 seeds defeated the unseeded team of Zimora McKnight and Anna Bugaienko 6-4, 6-2 to earn the doubles championship.

Tyler Lee and Brayden Tallakson won the boys 16s doubles title, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 5 seeds Adrien Abarca and Justin Riley Anson 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

The boys 18s final could not be played with Ronit Karki and Jack Satterfield both in the singles semifinals and, like Payne, competing in the doubles as well. Karki advanced to the boys final with a 6-4, 4-0 ret. win over Satterfield, having received treatment for a back problem down 3-0 in the second set. Satterfield said he was able to play doubles however, and the No. 5 seeds went on to take the title, beating the unseeded team of Krish Gupta and Rithvik Katpelly 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in the evening final.

The unseeded Karki will take on No. 2 seed William Manning in the boys 18s final Saturday, after Manning, the 2022 Easter Bowl 16s finalist, beat No. 8 seed Saahith Jayaraman 6-4, 6-2.

The girls 18s final will feature two No. 9 seeds, with Tianmei Wang facing Daniela Borruel. Wang continued her stroll through the draw with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Claire Hill in the semifinals, but Borruel needed nearly three and a half hours to eliminate No. 2 seed Addison Lanton 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and took her option to play the final on Saturday.

The girls 18s doubles championship closed out the day at the Indian Wells Tennis Center, with Sophia Webster and Olivia Center defeating fellow No. 5 seeds Maren Urata and Sabrina Lin 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.

All singles finals are scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday to maximize the opportunity to complete them at some point during the day. The consolation finals, as well as several third place matches are also on Saturday's schedule. Draws can be found here.

Live streaming of one of the finals will be available here.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Kotseva, Johnson and Davletshina Sweep Titles at Easter Bowl, Zhang Wins Boys 12s; Hill Ousts Top Seed Jauffret in Girls 18s Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2024--
Indian Wells California--

The FILA Easter Bowl Championships concluded Thursday for the 12s and 14s divisions on a warm and bright day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with both 14s winners and the girls 12s champion taking both singles and doubles titles.

Raya Kotseva is undefeated in Easter Bowl competition the past two years, claiming both singles and doubles in the 12s last year and repeating that twin triumph again today. The 13-year-old from Las Vegas avenged her two recent losses to Anjani Vickneswaran with a 6-0, 7-5 victory in the 14s singles final, then partnered with Jordan Hazelitt, her partner in 2023, for the 2024 doubles title.

Kotseva came out on fire against Vickneswaran, who had beaten her in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the USTA Winter National Championships, with Vickneswaran going on to capture the title.

The second set was a much closer affair, with multiple breaks, and it was Kotseva who got the last one, with Vickneswaran double faulting on match point.

"I went out there and said play aggressive, don't get tight," said Kotseva, who also lost to Vickneswaran last month at a USTA Level 2 in the 16s. "Just have fun and whatever happens, happens."

Kotseva's appreciation for the Indian Wells Tennis Garden certainly played a role in reversing her fortunes against Vickneswaran.

"This tournament is the best, I always love coming here playing amazing players, everything is amazing here, it feels like paradise," Kotseva said. "It always feels amazing coming here and playing."

In addition to avenging those recent losses, Kotseva also had an another incentive to perform well, with her coaches, including her sister Iren Kotseva Schneider and her husband Scott at the All In Academy, driving over from Las Vegas.

"My coaches came, so that was motivating at first," said Kotseva. "There was people watching, it just felt like paradise and I just had fun. I just felt free, like always."

Vickneswaran couldn't pinpoint a reason for her poor start. 

"I just had a really late start," said the 14-year-old from Arizona. "In the first set, I don't feel like I was there. She played very well, made a lot less unforced errors than she did last time. But I knew it was going to be close in the second set, because I felt I had more energy in the second set. But she played really well in the second set also."

Both Vickneswaran and Kotseva are moving on from the 14s, with Vickneswaran aging out in July and Kotseva, already a winner of a J60 this month in her hometown, eyeing the San Diego 16s this summer. But before she leaves Indian Wells, she plans to celebrate another sweep of the Easter Bowl titles.

"Last year we went to Cheesecake Factory and celebrated," Kotseva said. "This year, we might go to a friend's house where we are staying this tournament and to celebrate with them."

Andrew Johnson is also ready to leave the 14s age division after dominating the field once again. The 2023 Junior Orange Bowl and 2024 Winter Nationals champion, who didn't drop a set in claiming those titles, ran his winning streak in that age division to 20 matches, after defeating doubles partner Izyan Ahmad 6-0, 6-2 in a final that lasted less barely 50 minutes.

"I've been playing really well in general for the past few months," said Johnson, of Rancho Palos Verdes, who has been competing in the area's ITF Junior Circuit events and reached the semifinals of the J60 early this month in Las Vegas.

"But this week I learned not to take anything for granted," said Johnson, who is coached by Vasile Beches and Peter Smith. "I had a tough match early in the tournament, won 3 and 5, and I should have been more prepared for that. I have to focus on the matches in front of me, instead of looking to the future."

Johnson, the second seed, kept his focus in the final, even as Ahmad struggled.

"He is obviously a really good player and was playing at a high level, but I just had a really off day today," said the fourth-seeded Ahmad, a 13-year-old from New Jersey. "I completely wasn't making my shots. But when you're playing a guy as good as him and you're that off, it's hard to come back. I tried, but I really couldn't do much."

Ahmad, who reached the semifinals of the 14s last year, is hoping to continue his progression in Easter Bowl results in 2025.

"I'll hopefully come back here next year and play the 16s," said Ahmad, who trains at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. "Last year I got third place, this year I got second place, the next place up is winning, so it would be amazing if I could do well here in the 16s."

The 12s finals were both competitive, with No. 2 seed and 2024 Winter Nationals champion Jiarui Zhang defeating unseeded Nathan Lee 6-2, 7-5 for his second straight USTA gold ball and top seed Nikol Davletshina earning her first gold ball in singles with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Savannah Schmitz, a No. 9 seed.

Zhang was rolling along in the first set, winning the final four games, but Lee regrouped and took a 3-0 lead in the second set, which he then expanded to 5-2.

"I had a brain freeze or something and he started to play a lot smarter," said Zhang, a Houston resident who will turn 13 next month. "I didn't know what to do. But I held for 1-3 and 2-4, and then I had nothing to lose. There was a lot of deuces, at 3-4 and 4-5, and then when I got to 5-all I started playing better, started believing in myself."

Zhang relied on his serve plus one game in the final game, and as he prepared to catch a flight back home to Texas, he was satisfied with his six straight-sets victories and another gold ball.

"This is my last tournament in 12s, so it was a good ending," Zhang said.

While Zhang had won the Winter Nationals, Davletshina had settled for a silver ball in San Antonio, so she was determined to come out on top in her next Level 1 final.

After over 90 minutes of competition, with grueling points and multiple deuce games producing a score of 2-2 in the second, Davletshina found the key, reeling off the final three games in efficient fashion after holding serve in the lengthy fifth game.

"I started rallying after that and she started missing a lot," said the left-hander from Florida, who turns 11 next month. "I sometimes lost my focus in the match, but not in the last three games."

After losing in the second round her last year, Davletshina was pleased with her improvement and with her first gold ball in singles, accomplishing that goal without losing more than three games in any set.

"This feels very good," Davletshina said.

Davletshina added another gold ball in doubles, with she and Isha Manchala, the top seeds, defeating No. 5 seeds Audrey Dussault and Olivia Lin 6-4, 7-5 in the afternoon's final.

Top seeds Johnson and Ahmad took the boys title with a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 3 seeds Gadin Paxton and Arun Au.

The boys 12s doubles title also went to the top seeds, with James Borchard and Taiki Bortolin defeating No. 2 seeds Danile Gardality and Andy Wu 6-4, 6-2.

Kotseva and Hazelitt, the No. 4 seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Shaya Jovanovic and Julia Seversen 6-4, 6-2 to win their second straight Easter Bowl doubles title.

While the 12s and 14s were receiving their trophies Thursday, the 16s and 18s played their quarterfinal matches, with the No. 1 seeds still in contention in the 16s, but not the 18s. 

Boys 18s No. 1 seed Braeden Gelletich had lost in the first round Monday; today Girls 18s top seed Capucine Jauffret also lost in straight sets, with No. 5 seed Claire Hill holding off a late comeback by Jauffret to earn a 6-3, 7-6(1) victory.

"In the first set I was playing really well, being aggressive, coming into the net and attacking off her return," said the 17-year-old from North Carolina, who has committed to the Tar Heels and plans on joining the team in January of 2025.

Up 5-2 in the second, Hill let the lead slip away, with Jauffret saving three match points serving at 2-5 and then two more with Hill serving at 5-4, 40-15. 

"I double faulted, was getting kind of tight," Hill said. "I probably should have been a litte more aggressive at that point. I think the nerves were kicking in."

Jauffret held to go up 6-5, but Hill didn't let the disappointment of the unconverted match points effect her, holding to force a tiebreaker, which she welcomed.

"I just didn't want to play a third set," said Hill, who needed two and a half hours to get to that point. "In the tiebreaker, I knew I had to be aggressive, not regretting not going for it."

Jauffret appeared to have given all she had to reach the tiebreaker and Hill stepped up, with a volley winner, a backhand forcing an error and a forehand winner for a 6-1 lead. With yet another match point, this time Hill didn't hesitate, with Jauffret sending a backhand just wide to end the match.

Friday's 18s semifinal matches:

Claire Hill[5] v Tianmei Wang[9]
Daniela Borruel[9] v Addison Lanton[2]

Jack Satterfield v Ronit Karki
Saahith Jayaraman[8] v William Manning[2]

Friday's 16s semifinal matches:

Gus Grumet[1] v Andrew Li
Lukas Phimvongsa[3] v Gavin Goode[2]

Bella Payne[1] v Ellery Mendell
Ava Rodriguez[9] v Isabelle DeLuccia[5]

With rain in the forecast for Saturday, check the USTA tournament website for information about the possibility of semifinals and finals both being contested on Friday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

San Diego ITF J300 Recap; Winter National Champions Seek Second Straight USTA Gold Balls Thursday at Easter Bowl, Top Seed Grumet Saves Six Match Points to Advance to B16s Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2024--
Indian Wells California--

Wednesday was another busy day in Tennis Paradise, with the 16s and 18s hitting the midway point of the FILA Easter Bowl USTA Spring National Championships and the 12s and 14s deciding their finalists on a warm and sunny day in the desert.

But before we get to those results, check out my recap, up today at Tennis Recruiting Network, of last week's ITF J300 in San Diego, with Iva Jovic and Jack Kennedy securing their spots in the junior slams this summer by claiming their titles at the Barnes Tennis Center. Kennedy is up to a career-high 26 in the latest ITF rankings, with Jovic, who has been as high as No. 8, is now at 23, as she rebuilds her ranking after missing five months with injury last spring and summer.

Jiarui Zhang, Anjani Vickneswaran and Andrew Johnson will attempt to go back-to-back tomorrow, with the recent USTA Winter National champions playing for a second straight Level 1 gold ball in singles.

No. 2 seed Zhang, who won the boys 12s title in San Antonio in January, has not dropped a set this week, with his 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 3 seed Rex Kulman in today's semifinal on Stadium Court 4 demonstrating how he has dominated the field.

"It's my power," said Zhang, a Houston resident who will turn 13 next month. "I hit with a lot of power and a some of the smaller kids really can't generate that much power. Especially in the last set, after 3-1, I started hitting cleaner."

Although they are both competing in their first Easter Bowl, Zhang will not only have the advantage over unseeded Nathan Lee in size, but also in his experience in a Level 1 final. Lee, playing in just his second USTA Level 1, defeated No. 5 seed James Borchard 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals on Stadium 5, surprising himself in the process.

"I didn't think I was going to do this actually," said the 11-year-old from Orange County California. "But my energy was high and it never really dropped and I just played my own game, didn't focus on who I had next."

Although Lee hasn't played Zhang, he did some scouting during the quarterfinals Tuesday.

"He has a very strong game and how he plays is really solid," said Lee, who won a Level 3 last week in Anaheim. "He's very hard to break because he has a big serve, big ground strokes."

Vickneswaran had a much tougher match in her quest to get to a second straight USTA Level 1 final, needing more than three hours to beat unseeded Julia Seversen 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-1. 

The 14-year-old from Surprise Arizona said that winning the first set was such a relief that she lost her concentration in the second.

"I was not really in the court, just not as focused as I was in the first set," said the No. 3 seed. "I really wanted to get the first set, because I was down 2-4, so getting the first set was really good, but I slacked off a bit in the second set. But I feel in the third set, I polished my game in the third set, played really well."

Vickneswaran, a semifinalist here in the 12s in 2022, said winning the Winter Nationals in San Antonio in January was a big step forward for her.

"I definitely got a lot of confidence after Winter Nationals, I felt much better," said Vickneswaran, who turns 15 in July. "I had played a lot of L1s, but in all of them, quarterfinals, semifinals, I lost. Now I feel really good and I think I can definitely get it."

Vickneswaran will face No. 6 seed and 2023 Easter Bowl 12s champion Raya Kotseva, who defeated unseeded Kingsley Wolf 6-0, 6-4 to extend her Easter Bowl winning streak to 11 matches. Vickneswaran has defeated Kotseva twice in the past three months, both by 6-4, 6-3 scores, in the Winter Nationals quarterfinals and last month in the semifinals of a Level 3 in Long Beach. 

"I'm not thinking I have to beat her because I've beaten her the last two times," Vickneswaran said. "Playing her before I was not thinking about beating her, just about playing well and that's why I ended up winning the match. I think I definitely know how to play her right now, so if I do what I need to do, I should be fine."

A third Winter National champion will be contending for an Easter Bowl title, with No. 2 seed Andrew Johnson playing doubles  partner and No. 4 seed Izyan Ahmad for the singles championship, before partnering with Ahmad for the doubles title.

Johnson, who didn't lose any games in Tuesday's quarterfinal, lost just two today, beating No. 7 seed Akshay Mirmira 6-1, 6-1. Ahmad took out top seed Safir Azam 6-4, 6-2.

The girls 12s final will feature the only top seed remaining with No. 1 Nikol Davletshina taking on No. 9 seed Savannah Schmitz. Davletshina defeated unseeded Isabelle Nguyen 6-4, 6-3, while Schmitz took out No. 2 seed Nadia Poznick 6-3, 6-4 in a semifinal that lasted two hours and 30 minutes.

While all the the boys 18s round of 16 and several of the girls 18s round of 16 singles matches were played at other sites, the boys 16s were at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Way out on Practice Court 9, the drama was hidden from most viewers, when boys 16s top seed Gus Grumet saved six match points and went on to defeat unseeded Tyler Lee, Nathan's older brother, 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-3.

Grumet was down 2-5 in the second set, and Lee had two match points serving at 5-3, 40-15. He double faulted on the first one and lost a cross court angle exchange on the second, and Grumet hitting a backhand passing shot winner to close the gap to 5-4.

But serving to stay in the match, Grumet went down 30-40, yet managed to fight that match point off with a backhand forcing an error from Lee. With another ad, Lee had a fourth match point, but a great first serve from the left-handed Grumet saved that one. Grumet saved a fifth with a perfectly executed drop shot and pass combination, and had two game points that Lee fought off. On match point No. 6, Lee sent a backhand wide, one of the few unforced errors in the seven-deuce game, and he would not get another chance, with another unforced error and a shanked forehand giving Grumet the game.

Although Lee never changed his expression, the result of the next game suggested he was shaken by what had transpired. He served two double faults in his next game after going up 30-0 and when another forehand went astray, Grumet was serving for the set. He held at 40-15 to take the set, which did not surprise him. 

"I knew the end was near, he was making a lot of errors," said Grumet, who is from Mill Valley in Northern California. "That would happen a lot. He was very on and off. He'd have strings of really good tennis, like most of the second set, and then times when he'd make a lot of errors. So I knew at 6-5, when I was serving, I'd have control and would finish off the set. I was thinking about how I would celebrate."

Grumet, who generally indulges in exhortations only on big points, had a famous Tom Brady expletive prepared and started with "Let's F.." when he caught himself before saying the word that would have been a code violation, with a roving umpire in the vicinity.

"I was like, I'm not going to say that, and then I kind of lost control," said Grumet, who basically swallowed the phrase after the F came out.

Grumet went up 2-0 in the third set, only to see Lee get back on serve, but he broke at 3-all and held for 5-3. Lee continued to go for his shots, but his first serve, which had also deserted him in the final four games of the second set, eluded him, with is only first serve in the last game an ace. At 30-40, the drama in the second set was absent, with Lee hitting a forehand long to give Grumet the match.

"In that 4-3 game, I just dug deep and made a lot of first serves," said Grumet, who will not turn 17 until November. "That's not usually my typical thing. I just felt super confident in my first serve and I believed I was going to be able to make that first serve, and I did it in the key moments."

Grumet knew he would have to play better today than he did in his first few rounds, with Lee on a 23-match winning streak since losing in the quarterfinals of the Winter Nationals.

"I heard from everybody that he was playing incredible and his game was on," Grumet said. "And so I didn't come in expecting to win. We're pretty much around the same level and I needed to be confident in my game. I didn't play well in my first two matches, I'm usually a slow starter, so I wanted to come out and play my game, so that even if I lost, I'd be happy with my performance. Being the one seed doesn't matter at this level, everyone's so strong and they're all really good."

The 16s and 18s quarterfinals are Thursday, with these matchups:

Gus Grumet[1] v Tanishk Konduri
Andrew Li v Gray Kelley
Liam Alvarez v Lukas Phimvongsa[3]
David Wu v Gavin Goode[2]

Bella Payne[1] v Alexandra Wolf[8]
Ellery Mendell v Carrie-Anne Hoo[6]
Ava Rodriguez[9] v Nancy Lee[3]
Isabelle DeLuccia[5] v Alyson Shannon[2]

Ian Bracks v Jack Satterfield
Evan Burnett v Ronit Karki
Saahith Jayaraman[8] v Nicholas Reeves
Collum Markowitz[9] v William Manning[2]

Capucine Jauffret[1] v Claire Hill[5]
Jennifer Jackson[9] v Tianmei Wang[9]
Avery Nguyen[8] v Daniela Borruel[9]
Emily Deming[7] v Addison Lanton[2]

All four of the 12s and 14s singles finals are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and as of tonight, the one match that will be streamed has yet to be determined.

The doubles finals are also scheduled for Thursday, after the singles finals.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Last Alternate Burnett Ousts Defending Champion Chinlund in Easter Bowl 18s Second Round; Mixed Fortunes for Previous Easter Bowl Champions With Semifinals Set in 12s and 14s

©Colette Lewis 2024--
Indian Wells California--

Evan Burnett was not planning to compete in the FILA Easter Bowl this year. But the redshirt freshman at Texas kept his name on the alternate list, and when he received a text from the tournament that a position in the draw was available to him on Friday, he decided to take it. Four days later, the 18-year-old from Northern California had beaten defending 18s champion Cassius Chinlund 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in his first match ever at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

"My ranking isn't very high; I haven't played many junior tournaments," Burnett said. "So I wasn't planning on playing at all. But on Friday morning we got a text, and I talked to my parents and they said we can make it work. The team was going to be traveling to some away matches this week, since I'm redshirting I don't go to many away matches. So I thought it would be best to come play, get some matches."

Burnett, who attended regular school and wasn't highly ranked nationally when he was younger, didn't envision playing his first match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Stadium 6, a court used for the BNP Paribas Open just two weeks ago.

"It was a little overwhelming, not like on Practice Court 9 or something," Burnett said. "But it's an amazing setting here, reallly special. I found my groove though, and worked my way into the match, found a good level."

Chinlund, was a No. 9 seed this year, is loud and emotional on the court and can disrupt the concentration of his opponents. But Burnett said the last two months in Austin have helped him prepare for just such a challenge, both physically and mentally.

"The couple of months I've been training there, I feel I've grown a lot mentally, and I used that to my advantage today, to stay really composed, play a mature match," Burnett said. "I feel in the past I would have gotten mad or tired, but I just stayed with it, stayed composed out there, and that's what got me through."

Burnett said Chinlund served well in the first set, but he adjusted in the second, and after the taking that set and conversing with his coach during the 10-minute break before the third, kept his aggressive mindset. Burnett broke in the first game of the third set and led 3-1, but lost the next three games, and three hours into the match the score was 4-4. Chinlund cracked a bit in his next service game, with two double faults to start it and he was broken, given Burnett the opportunity to serve out the match.

But after a difficult overhead winner to set up a match point, Burnett double faulted, and couldn't manage another, with Chinlund breaking on his third break point of the game.

"I just knew I couldn't do anything about it and so I just moved forward," Burnett said. "I got a little tight at 5-4 obviously, double fault on match point, you never like to see that, but I felt I stayed composed, said it was over, and worked on breaking."

Burnett did get a break, crushing a forehand winner at 30-40, and Chinlund fell to the ground as he tried to reach it. He didn't appear to be seriously injured however, getting up after a few moments and walking with no problem to the bench and then after the changeover, to the baseline. 

Burnett started the game with an ace up the T, which Chinlund called out, but Chinlund's call was overruled by the roving umpire on court. Burnett then hit a forehand passing shot winner, and two Chinlund errors later, the three-hour and 30-minute match belonged to Burnett.

"It was a grueling match, it's not too hot, not too bad, but it was a tiring match," Burnett said. "Really long points, really long games, it was tough. I put away a couple of clutch volleys at the end, had to be brave and go for it, and it worked out for me."

In addition to Chinlund and Ian Bracks, the 2023 Boys 16s champion last year who beat the top seed yesterday in the 18s and won again today, four other current or former Easter Bowl champions were in action today at the various site in the desert.

Girls 12s 2023 champion Raya Kotseva made her way to the semifinals of the 14s this year, defeating No. 2 seed Lyla Middleton 6-2, 6-3.

"I love this place," said Kotseva, who has now won 10 straight Easter Bowl matches. "It's amazing, very peaceful and I feel very free when I play here."

Kotseva has not only a lengthy Easter Bowl winning streak going, but so far this year is 22-2, winning the ITF J60 in her home town of Las Vegas earlier this month, and following that with a Level 3 18s title last week, and playing in the older age divisions have helped her improve.

"I've physically gotten stronger, but I've added some strategy to my game too," said the 13-year-old, who represents Bulgaria on the ITF Junior Circuit. "I've changed my forehand a little bit and I'm being more aggressive."

Kotseva, the No. 6 seed, will play unseeded Kingsley Wolf, who defeated Allison Wang 6-4, 6-2. The other girls 14s semifinal will feature unseeded Julia Seversen, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over No. 9 seed Hannah Ayrault, and No. 3 seed Anjani Vickneswaran, who beat 2022 Girls 12s Easter Bowl champion Baotong Xu, the No. 8 seed, 6-3, 6-4.

2023 Girls 14s champion Nancy Lee is the No. 3 seed in 16s this year, and she has advanced to the round of 16s. 2023 Boys 14s champion Roshan Santhosh[9] will not go back-to-back, as he fell to Gray Kelley 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) in today's second round.

The semifinals for the 12s division are set for Wednesday, with the top two seeds still in the running for the girls title. No. 1 seed Nikol Davletshina defeated No. 9 seed Audrey Dussault 6-3, 6-2 to advance to a meeting with unseeded Isabelle Nguyen, who beat No. 5 seed Anna Scott Laney 6-4, 6-3. No. 2 seed Nadia Poznick defeated No. 7 seed Olivia Lin 6-3, 7-5 and will face No. 9 seed Savannah Schmitz, who beat No. 6 seed Isha Manchala 6-3, 6-4. 

The boys 12s semifinal in the top half of the draw will feature unseeded Nathan Lee, a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 winner over No. 9 seed Beau Bronson Foster, and No. 5 seed James Borchard, who beat No. 4 seed Daniel Gardality 6-4, 6-2.  In the bottom half, No. 3 seed Rex Kulman, who beat unseeded Wyatt Markham 6-1, 6-0, will play No. 2 seed Jiarui Zhang, who defeated No. 6 seed Jason Zhao 6-3, 6-2. Zhang is going for his second straight USTA Level 1 title, after winning the Winter Nationals in January.

In the boys 14s, three of the top 4 seeds are through to Wednesday's semifinals, with top seed Safir Azam playing No. 4 seed Izyan Ahmad, a semifinalist in the 14s last year. Azam defeated Carter Jauffret 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals, while Ahmad beat No. 9 seed Tabb Tuck 6-4, 6-3.

Junior Orange Bowl and Winter Nationals 14s champion Andrew Johnson, the No. 2 seed, blanked No. 9 seed Luca Sevim 6-0, 6-0 and will meet No. 7 seed Akshay Mirmira in the bottom half semifinal. Mirmira beat unseeded Colter Amey 6-3, 6-1.

Girls 18s top seed Capucine Jauffret had another tough match, beating Eva Oxford 6-3, 2-6, 6-0 to advance to the round of 16. No. 2 seed Addison Lanton also had a challenging second round contest, beating Katiana Gonzalez 7-6(9), 6-3.

Girls 16s top seed Bella Payne cruised into the third round with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Reagan Levine, while boys 16s top seed Gus Grumet also advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ilias Bouzoubaa. 

Live streaming of the matches assigned to Court 2 is available at the Easter Bowl website

Monday, March 25, 2024

Unseeded Bracks Beats No. 1 Gelletich Again, Ayrault and Bronson Foster Avenge Losses in Ousting Top Seeds in 14s and 12s at FILA Easter Bowl; Jose Higueras Speaks Out on USTA's Failure to Support Player Development

©Colette Lewis 2024--
Indian Wells California--

There are upsets and then there are matches when the No. 1 seed is beaten in the first round and it's not shocking. Ian Bracks' 6-3, 6-2 FILA Easter Bowl win today over 18s top seed Braeden Gelletich falls into the latter category, with the unseeded Bracks repeating his triumph on Practice Court 2, the court where he defeated Gelletich last year in the 16s final.

"It's always fun on that court, lots of people, a good atmosphere," said the 17-year-old from Oklahoma. "I felt probably a little more comfortable, because I played a few matches on it last year, so it was a lot of fun."

Bracks had a mixed reaction when he saw the draw.  

"It was a little surprising, but I was excited, because we always have good matches," said Bracks, who is now 5-0 against Gelletich. "We've played quite a few times and it's always been close. It's a good one to get into the tournament, starting out in full flight."

Bracks got off to good start, breaking Gelletich in the third game and holding serve all four times in the first set, then breaking Gelletich again to take the lead.

The same pattern held in the second set, with Bracks jumping out to leads of 3-0 and 5-1, before Gelletich began to raise his level. He broke Bracks for the only time in the 90-minute match when Bracks served for it at 5-1, but Gelletich couldn't convert either of his game points serving at 2-5 and Bracks broke for the win.

"I feel like I served effectively, hit the spots I wanted to," Bracks said. "I think the percentage was a little lower than I would have liked, but the second serve was working well, so it didn't cost me too much. I feel like I played the serve plus one pretty effectively and controlled the point early on, getting him behind the baseline."

With a 4-0 record against Gelletich coming into the match, Bracks was careful not to get complacent.

"Not against Braeden," Bracks said. "He's always a good fighter always brings something new to the match. It's always been close. That was 3 and 2, but there so many deuce games, so many long rallies, if you do get complacent, that's when he's going to get you."

Bracks, who has signed with Oklahoma State, said he understood why he wasn't seeded and it didn't bother him.

"I haven't done too many USTA tournaments," Bracks said. "But I'm not too worried about the seeding, I just go out and play my game."

Bracks will face George Cutone in the second round Tuesday.

Gelletich was the first of three No. 1 seeds to fall Monday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with the top seeds in the Girls 14s and Boys 12s going out in the third round today.

No. 9 Hannah Ayrault defeated No. 1 seed Reiley Rhodes 6-2, 6-3 on Practice Court 2 this afternoon, avenging a loss to Rhodes in the first round of a USTA Level 2 last February.

"I played her a year ago and lost, but I had match points," said the 13-year-old from Georgia. "So I knew coming in this was going to be a tough match."

Ayrault said she was not surprised by the result, given that she was able to execute her strategy despite the often tricky winds late in the match. 

"I used my feet, got around the ball and was able to hit the ball pretty nicely, I think," Ayrault said. "I adjusted pretty well to the wind. And I used my first serve well, to be able to attack my serve and plus one. I was very confident in my game going into the match. I didn't play well in my first two rounds, but I was playing well in practice, so I knew if I played my best, I'd have a really good chance at winning."

Ayrault's opponent in the quarterfinals Tuesday is unseeded Julia Seversen, who defeated No. 9 seed Jordyn Hazelitt 6-4, 6-3.

No. 9 seed Beau Bronson Foster had lost to No. 1 seed Smyan Thuta 6-0, 6-2 in the second round of the USTA Clay Courts 12s last summer, but he said his 6-3, 6-1 win today was more the result of a mental adjustment rather than a strategic one.

"My mental was a little up and down, said Bronson Foster, who trains with Clay Pereira in Long Beach California. "If I was winning, I'd be like really happy and then when I was down, I'd get down on myself, instead of bringing myself up like I did today." 

Bronson Foster made his Easter Bowl debut a memorable one, but he is no stranger to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, accompanying his sister Ginger Foster, a freshman at Georgia Tech, when she competed at the Easter Bowl here.

"I played really well, it was one of my best matches, I would say," Bronson Foster said. "I'd been watching him and I was really ready, locked in just to play him, I was really excited. So this feels really good."

Bronson Foster will face unseeded Nathan Lee, who defeated unseeded Michael Chernevkov 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 after Chernevkov served for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

The top seeds in the 16s earned straight-sets wins in their first round matches, with Bella Payne beating Riley Lepsi 6-3, 6-2 and Gus Grumet defeating Matthew Shapiro 6-4, 7-6(3). 

Girls 18s top seed Capucine Jauffret was tested by the big hitting Marina Fuduric, but escaped with a 7-6(2), 7-6(4) victory. Defending Boys 18s champion Cassius Chinlund, a No. 9 seed, advanced to the second round with 6-2, 6-1 win over Kaiaitz Mendibe.

Girls 12s top seed Nikol Davletshina advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Skylar Mandell, while Boys 14s top seed posted his second three-set win of the tournament, beating No. 9 seed Keshav Muthuvel 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

18s doubles were scheduled to be played Monday evening, but with matches running long throughout the day, those matches were postponed, although the 16s did play their first round of doubles under the lights.

Live streaming is available for Practice Court 2 matches at the Easter Bowl website.

Scores from all of today's matches, and Tuesday's schedule can be found at the USTA tournament page.

Last week I received an email from Jose Higueras about the issues he has with the USTA's disregard for the Player Development area of the organization. I will publish his email in full when I return home and have an opportunity to seriously consider it, which I currently do not have time to do while I'm covering these major California junior events.  But in the meantime, The Athletic has provided an overview of the Higueras email in this article published yesterday