By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif.
– Brooke Austin just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to draws in Southern California tournaments.
Faced with a very tough draw in the girls’ 18s division in four consecutive important ITF events in Southern California over the past two years, the 17-year-old Indianapolis resident survived three match points to upset top-seeded Jamie Loeb of Ossining, N.Y., 5-7, 7-6 (7), 6-3, in the second round of the 46th annual ASICS Easter Bowl on Tuesday.
"After last week, I sort of knew this was going to happen," said last year’s ASICS Easter Bowl 18s finalist Austin, still shaking and obviously excited to record the huge win at the Sunrise Country Club. Last week, Austin won just three games in a first-round loss to unseeded Mayo Hibi at the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif.
Last year, Austin lost to a very tough player in Belinda Bencic of Bradenton, Fla., in the second round at Carson and then came to the ASICS Easter Bowl and upset No. 5-seeded Samantha Crawford in the first round, eventually making it to the final, where she fell to Taylor Townsend.
Austin described her match on Tuesday as "so intense" and added, "I’m just shaking right now. I can’t believe I was able to overcome those three match points.
"I was just trying to win one point at a time and to stay aggressive and to keep her moving as much as I could because I knew if she got her feet set, the point would be over."
Austin said the added pressure of being a past ASICS Easter Bowl winner in the 14s and a finalist in the 18s may have spurred her on to victory.
"I thought about it once," she said. "I thought, ‘OK, Brooke, you got to the final last year, you are going to win this match,’ "
Her opponent on Wednesday in the round of 16 is her Carson doubles partner, Kimberly Yee from Las Vegas, whom Austin beat in their last meeting over the summer in an Intersectional event.
"I’m going to have to be really aggressive and not give her any free points," said Yee, who beat Terri Fleming of Alpharetta, Ga., 6-0, 7-5, to advance. "She hits the ball so hard and is always on the attack."
The 2011 ASICS Easter Bowl 16s champion Gage Brymer was on the attack for most of his first-round match against the No. 4-seeded Spencer Papa, pulling out a solid 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
"That last game was tough, but I was able to pull it out," said Brymer. "It went back and forth and had a lot of deuces. The nerves started to get to me, and I had several match points, and he had break points."
Like Austin, Brymer has been the victim of some self-described "unlucky" draws recently, including a second-round loss to No. 1-seeded Noah Rubin in Carson last week.
"It is unlucky we faced each other in the first round," he said of himself and Papa. "It’s just unlucky. That’s all it is."
Easter Bowl sightings on Tuesday include Taylor Dent and his father Phil, former Easter Bowl champion Alexa Glatch, Jose Higueras and USC women’s coach Richard Gallien, while on Monday, former ATP Touring pros David Pate and Larry Stefanki, USC women’s coach West Nott, USC men’s coach Peter Smith, UC-Berkeley Cal women’s coach Amanda Augustus were in attendance.
for the 18s singles draws.