Mark Epshteyn-Losev celebrated his 17th birthday with a straight-sets win over No. 2 seed Henrik Wiersholm.
© David Kenas
Gabby Andrews, the girls' 14s Easter Bowl champion in 2011, dropped just two games in her first-round match.
© David Kenas
By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Mark Epshteyn-Losev couldn’t have picked a better day to come up with the biggest win of his young tennis career.
On his 17th birthday Tuesday, the Sunny Isles, Fla., resident upset No. 2 seed and world No. 45-ranked Henrik Wiersholm, 6-2, 6-1, in the first round of the boys’ 18s singles at the ASICS Easter Bowl, being played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“For sure that was the best present I have ever given myself,” said Epshteyn-Losev, who was born in New York but now trains near Miami with Robert Gomez. “Henrik didn’t play his best today and made a lot of errors.”
Also moving on was unseeded girls’ 18s player Gabby Andrews of Pomona, Calif., who beat Paris Corley, 6-1, 6-1, in her first-round match.
Andrews has had strong results at the ASICS Easter Bowl in the past. In 2011, at age 14, she was a finalist in the 18s draw, falling to Kyle McPhillips. A year earlier she won the girls’ 14s crown.
“I’ve had some minor injuries,” said Andrews on Tuesday before she and doubles partner Jessica Ho beat Olivia Hauger and Marie Norris in a first-round match, 6-0, 6-2.
“I took a break last year from tennis after the Claremont ITF, and I didn’t play Carson or the Easter Bowl,” she said. “I was just trying to get my mind back together. It was just a mental break. I’m just trying to play as many matches and tournaments as I can. I love the Easter Bowl, and it’s so great to be back here.”
Andrews made international headlines in 2012, when she teamed with current WTA pro Taylor Townsend to win both the Australian Open and US Open junior doubles titles. She spent some time with her best friend Townsend last month during the BNP Paribas Open.
“We hung out all day and just talked,” she said. “It was great to be with her, even if it was just for one day.”
One of the new features at this year’s ASICS Easter Bowl is a speed gun on the main court that tracks how fast a player is serving. On Tuesday, 16-year-old No. 7 seed Taylor Fritz cranked a couple at 130 mph during his 6-4, 6-2 boys' 18s win over McClain Kessler.
Epshteyn-Losev was not the only one with the big upset on Tuesday, as 15-year-old Caroline Dolehide of Hillsdale, Ill., beat girls' 18s No. 3 seed Johnnise Renaud, 6-3, 6-3.
“I was just getting to every ball and playing my game,” said Dolehide, who lost in the 16s finals last year to CiCi Bellis. “Being back here is nice. It’s a little hot. Last year was a great tournament for me.”
Dolehide said she doesn’t look ahead in the draw, giving that chore to her coach Tom Lockhart. “I don’t look at the draw,” she said. “My coach does. It’s best not to look ahead. You just have to go out there and play.”
Another player recording a significant upset on Tuesday in the first round of the 18s was 14-year-old Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif. Day posted a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over No. 9 seed Raveena Kingley, a semifinalist last week at the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif.
To keep up with the latest ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the official website, and check out the tournament on Facebook and Twitter.