By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif.
– There’s no better junior tournament in the nation to preview "Who’s Next" in American tennis than the ASICS Easter Bowl.
Granted a wild card into the main draw, precocious 13-year-old Michaela Gordon of Los Altos Hills, Calif., has burst onto the scene in a huge way over the past three days, winning three rounds without dropping a set and advancing to the quarterfinals of the girls’ 18s ITF event, being played this week at the Sunrise Country Club.
After her second straight 7-5, 7-5 victory – on Wednesday she upset No. 10-seeded Kaitlyn McCarthy of Cary, N.C. – Gordon now finds herself in the company of the Elite 8, who represent some of the best in junior girls’ tennis in the U.S.
"Coming into the tournament, I wanted to win just two rounds," said Gordon, who next faces Raquel Pedraza of Claremont, Calif., for a spot in the semis. "I just really wanted to play the better players. I never thought I’d get to the quarterfinals."
It’s actually been a pretty good run of three weeks for Gordon, who won the Claremont 18s ITF event, beating Peggy Porter in the final. Gordon trains at the Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy in Santa Clara, which in 2010 was designated a USTA Regional Training Center.
A day after a first-round bye, boys’ 18s top-seeded player Noah Rubin saw his first action at the ASICS Easter Bowl and got past future USC Trojan Robbie Bellamy, 6-4, 6-0.
Rubin was off for eight weeks after suffering a broken right wrist, had his cast removed just three weeks ago and played for the first time two weeks ago, which was just one week before he played for the first time in Carson, Calif.
"It’s good to get back out there," Rubin said. "While I was off, I did more agility work than I’ve ever done and worked with a personal trainer, so I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life."
Also winning second-round boys’ matches were No. 2-seeded Mackenzie McDonald, No. 3-seeded Luca Corinteli and No. 5-seeded Martin Redlicki.
In the marquee girls’ match of the day, last year’s girls’ 18s finalist Brooke Austin of Indianapolis beat Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee, 6-3, 6-0.
In the girls’ 16s, 2012 finalist Meredith Xepoleas, the No. 3-seeded player from Huntington Beach, Calif., defeated Paige Cline of Kentfield, Calif., 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.
Easter Bowl sightings on Wednesday include LSU women’s coach Julia Scaringe Sell and Michigan men’s coach Bruce Berque.
for the 18s singles draws.