Kalman Boyd, the boys' 18s No. 8 seed, dropped only three games total in his first-round match.
© David Kenas
By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – You can count Kalman Boyd as a fan of the ASICS Easter Bowl venue switch to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“This is unreal,” said Boyd, the boys’ 18s No. 8 seed from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., who for the second straight year eliminated Charlie Adams of Wayzata, Minn., from this event in a 6-2, 6-1 first-round victory on Monday. “It’s crazy being here. It’s almost like a dream to be here and playing on the courts where the pros play. I don’t know if anyone else is enjoying it as much as me, but I think it’s amazing.”
The sentiment was carried out throughout the day from the players, parents, officials and tournament directors – the setup at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was all first rate.
“We did have a great first day,” said ASICS Easter Bowl Tournament Chairman Lornie Kuhle. “Everyone seems really excited to be here, and the venue and Indian Wells Tennis Garden staff has been amazing to work with.”
It may have taken a little less than 360 days, but the bad taste of a loss in the ASICS Easter Bowl final may have finally left Boyd. One year ago in the final of the boys’ 16s, Boyd fell to top-seeded Sameer Kumar without winning a game, 6-0, 6-0.
“Yeah, I think I’m just trying to make this a brand new tournament,” Boyd said. “I was so nervous in that final. A couple months later, I beat Sameer in a practice match. I just think it was all the pressure of being in a final at this level.”
Boyd was forced to withdraw from last week’s USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif., because of a long illness suffered while he was playing ITF events in South America.
Boyd is working part time with the USTA and has spent time training in Boca Raton, Fla., this spring. He has been working primarily with Tommy Haas’ former coach Christian Groh and former ATP touring pro Guy Fritz.
Boyd said his ITF junior rank got to No. 120 before he got sick and has now fallen to No. 140.
“Now I feel like I’m playing better than I was before I got sick,” he said. “I had a very busy start to the year. I went to Costa Rica, then straight to Boca Raton to train. From there, I went to Bolivia, Chile and then Argentina to play Grade 1 ITF events. That’s when I got really sick in Paraguay and had to pull out of tournaments there, two in Brazil and Carson.”
Local player Austin Rapp of Rancho Mirage, Calif., had his ASICS Easter Bowl singles career end on Monday, as he fell to Cameron Klinger of Elk Grove, Calif., in three sets, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
“It was a tough match and could have gone either way,” said Rapp, who is headed to UCLA in the fall on a full-ride scholarship. “I didn’t play my best but should have been used to the conditions and the heat. This is my hometown, and I wish I would have been able to pull out a win.”
Rapp will play with Henry Gordon in doubles on Tuesday.
Fourteen-year-old Kelly Chen of Cerritos, Calif., opened up play on Monday in the girls’ 18s with a solid 6-2, 6-0 win over Sydney Riley of Dallas. Chen advanced to the semifinals of the 18s at last week's International Spring Championships, losing to eventual champion CiCi Bellis.
Chen said she was used to the venue, having played the BNP Paribas pre-qualifying two months ago and losing in the second round to Anne-Liz Jeukeng.
“My feet were burning out there,” Chen said of her match on Monday.
Chen's next opponent could be top seed Sophia Kenin on Wednesday, if she wins her first-round match as expected.
Reilly Opelka of Palm Coast, Fla., was named the winner of the daily ASICS Sportsmanship Award. Opelka beat Catalin Mateas of Braintree, Mass., 6-4, 7-5.
To keep up with the latest ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the official website, and check out the tournament on Facebook and Twitter.