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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.