By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif.
– You’d think there couldn’t be a better day for junior tennis in the Hoosier state than the one last month, when Indiana childhood friends Ronnie Schneider and Brooke Austin both won gold balls at the USTA 18s Spring Nationals in Mobile, Ala.
Then Thursday came.
Both unseeded and playing in the ITF Grade B1 event at the 45th annual Easter Bowl, Schneider and Austin pulled off huge and convincing wins by identical 6-3, 6-2 scores, upsetting two of the nation’s top players and ending two big streaks in the process.
Schneider beat top-seeded and Carson 18s champion Mitchell Krueger in the round of 16 to snap Krueger’s eight-match personal winning streak. Austin beat No. 2-seeded Kyle McPhillips to hand her her first loss at the Easter Bowl since 2009. Coming into the day, McPhillips had won 16 consecutive matches at the Easter Bowl, taking the 16s title over Austin in 2010 and winning the 18s last year.
Austin spied Schneider’s first game before she got called to stadium court to begin play. Schneider’s match finished midway through Austin’s second set, and she didn’t know his result until she was finished playing.
"I had no idea till after my match," Austin said. "I could hear him screaming, ‘Come On!’ but now I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I’m so in shock right now. It’s really amazing."
Schneider, a junior in high school, has already declared he will play for the University of North Carolina in 2013-14. Schneider had an early game plan and executed it to near perfection.
"I just tried to stay on the baseline and take the balls early and keep the pressure on him," Schneider said. "I knew I had to be in every single point. There were times in the past when I could have … not folded, but just given him a little bit. But I don’t think I gave him an inch today. And because I didn’t give an inch, the errors started creeping into his game, and that was not the result of him playing poorly but of me keeping the pressure on him.
"That was a goal of mine going in -- to try and get under his skin, be a blister on the brain. I just wanted to frustrate him, and I felt I did that with my constant pressure. I think he always felt my presence, and that was why he started to make errors."
Schneider played traveling team basketball and baseball through seventh grade but said he finally decided he had to put his full focus on tennis after his seventh-grade year.
"I put my sole focus on tennis because that’s what I knew I wanted to do," he said. "Where I grew up in Bloomington, it’s tough to escape the basketball because it’s everywhere. My dad’s had season tickets to Indiana basketball games since he was five years old."
Austin was not only in shock about her good friend Schneider’s score but hers, as well.
"Kyle is such a great player, so to win this match is sort of a big deal for me," she said. "It was a big match for me to win. I really feel like I’m playing the best I’ve played since I got hurt."
Austin was sidelined from August of last year till the end of 2011 with a broken foot. "Everything just seemed to be clicking like it was before I got hurt," she said.
She will have a tall task in taking on No. 7 Allie Kiick of Plantation, Fla., who beat Chalena Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., 6-1, 6-3, in her quarterfinal. In the other semifinal, it will be top-seeded Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., against Mayo Hibi of Irvine, Calif.
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Boys' 18s ITF Singles Round of 16 Scores
Stefan Kozlov (9) Pembroke Pines, FL def. Trey Strobel (8) Bradenton, FL 6-4, 7-6(5)
Thai Kwiatkowski (6) Charlotte, NC def. Shane Monroe Ventnor City, NJ 6-4, 6-1
M. Mackenzie. McDonald (3) Piedmont, CA def. Justin Butsch Miami Beach, FL 6-0, 6-2
Austin Siegel (5) Tarrytown, NY def. Luca Corinteli (11) Alexandria, VA 6-2, 7-5
Jared Hiltzik Wilmette, IL def. Henry Craig Murrieta, CA 6-4, 6-1
Alexios Halebian (4) Glendale, CA def. John Richmond Pawleys Isl, SC 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
Noah Rubin (2) Rockville Centre, NY def. Ryan Shane Falls Church, VA 6-4, 6-4
Ronnie Schneider Bloomington, IN def. Mitchell Krueger (1) Aledo, TX 6-3, 6-2
Girls' 18s ITF Singles Quarterfinal Scores
Taylor Townsend (1) Stockbridge, GA def. Kelsey Laurente (10) Miramar, FL 6-3, 6-2
Brooke Austin Indianapolis, IN def. Kyle McPhillips (2) Willoughby, OH 6-3, 6-2
Alexandra Kiick (7) Plantation, FL def. Chalena Scholl (3) Pompano Beach, FL 6-1, 6-3
Mayo Hibi Irvine, CA def. Caroline Doyle San Francisco, CA 6-3, 7-5
Boys’ 16s Singles Round of 16 Scores
Ernesto Escobedo West Covina, CA def. Logan Staggs Tracy, CA 6-2, 6-2
Yale Goldberg (1) Chagrin Falls, OH def. William Griffith (15) Fresno, CA 6-4, 7-6(4)
Garrett Auproux (6) Studio City, CA def. AJ Catanzariti (10) Pittsburgh, PA 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Joseph Di Giulio (12) Newport Beach, CA def. Joshua Yablon (5) New York, NY 6-2, 6-0
Logan Smith (16) Carlsbad, CA def. Cameron Klinger San Jose, CA 6-3, 6-4
Aron Hiltzik (9) Wilmette, IL def. Mitch Stewart (2) Federal Way, WA 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
Christian Langmo Boca Raton, FL def. Kial Kaiser Saratoga, CA 6-1, 6-0
Thomas Fawcett (17) Winnetka, IL def. Daniel Kerznerman (13) Brooklyn, NY 7-6(9), 6-4
Girls’ 16s Singles Round of 16 Scores
Terri Fleming Alpharetta, GA def. Ellyse Hamlin (7) Fairfield, CT 6-4, 6-0
Kaitlyn McCarthy (17) Cary, NC def. Chloe Ouellet-Pizer (17) Chapel Hill, NC 6-2, 6-0
Jessica Golovin New York, NY def. Mia Horvit (17) Parkland, FL 6-2, 6-2
Mary Haffey Naples, FL def. Carolyn Xie Rancho Santa Fe, CA 6-4, 6-4
Brooke Broda (8) West Chester, OH def. Kimmy Guerin (9) Weston, CT 1-6, 6-0, 6-2
Ayla Aksu San Francisco, CA def. Victoria Olivarez (17) Virginia Beach, VA 4-6, 6-0, 6-4
Meredith Xepoleas Huntington Beach, CA def. Elizabeth Profit (3) Bellflower, CA 6-3, 6-3
Meghan Kelley Falmouth, ME def. Rebecca Weissmann Loveland, CO 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
Boys’ 14s Singles Quarterfinal Scores
Anudeep Kodali (1) Durham, NC def. Ryan Dickerson (8) Marlton, NJ 7-5, 6-0
Kyle Seelig (2) Hatfield, PA def. Abhin Sharma (6) Alpharetta, GA 6-2, 6-1
Johnathan Small (4) Midland, MI def. Max Pham (17) Newport Coast, CA 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1
William Blumberg (14) Greenwich, CT def. Nathan Ponwith (5) Scottsdale, AZ 6-1, 7-6(9)
Boys' 14 Singles Silver Draw, Fourth-Round Losers Quarterfinal Round
Victor Pham Saratoga, CA def. Gabriel Pilones Bradenton, FL 6-4, 6-2
Taylor Fritz Rancho Santa Fe, CA def. Alex Phillips Peachtree City, GA 6-3, 6-1
Nikola Samardzic Bradenton, FL def. Connor Hance Torrance, CA 7-5, 4-6, 1-0(8)
Steven Karl Brentwood, TN def. Gianni Ross Burr Ridge, IL 6-3, 7-6(1)
Boys' 14 Singles Silver Draw, Fourth-Round losers Semifinal Round
Taylor Fritz Rancho Santa Fe, CA def. Victor Pham Saratoga, CA 2-6, 6-2, 1-0(5)
Nikola Samardzic Bradenton, FL def. Steven Karl Brentwood, TN 6-3, 2-6, 1-0(8)
Girls’ 14s Singles Quarterfinal Scores
Emma Higuchi (1) Los Angeles, CA def. Alexandra Letzt Scottsdale, AZ 6-4, 6-3
Catherine Bellis (17) Atherton, CA def. Adriana Reami Miami, FL 6-2, 6-1
Raquel Pedraza (2) Claremont, CA def. Sofia Kenin (17) Pembroke Pines, FL 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Usue Arconada (4) Rio Piedras, PR def. Angela Kulikov Sun Valley, CA 6-4 Ret (inj)
Girls' 14 Singles Silver Draw, Fourth-Round Losers Quarterfinal Round
Elizabeth Porter Dallas, TX def. Francesca Dilorenzo New Albany, OH Wo (ill)
Helen Altick Monroe, LA def. Riley McQuaid Tustin, CA 3-6, 7-6(6), 1-0(5)
Jada Hart Colton, CA def. Michaela Gordon Los Altos Hills, CA 7-6(5), 6-2
Dominique Schaefer Ventura, CA def. Ashley Lahey Boulder, CO 6-0, 6-2
Girls' 14 Singles Silver Draw, Fourth-Round Losers Semifinal Round
Dominique Schaefer Ventura, CA def. Elizabeth Porter Dallas, TX 6-2, 6-1
Jada Hart Colton, CA def. Helen Altick Monroe, LA 3-6, 6-4, 1-0(3)
Boys’ 18s ITF Doubles Second-Round Scores
Sean Karl / Maxx Lipman def. M. Mackenzie. McDonald / Trey Strobel (3) 6-4, 6-4
John Richmond / Nick Wood def. Roy Lederman / Carter Lin (7) 7-6(1), 6-2
Dylan Brown / Mac Roy def. Noah Rubin / Ognjen Samardzic (6) 6-4, 6-4
Alex Lawson / Paul Oosterbaan def. Gage Brymer / Jared Hiltzik 4-6, 6-2, 1-0(7)
Alexios Halebian / Mitchell Krueger (1) def. George Goldhoff / Ronnie Schneider 6-1, 6-1
Jordan Daigle / Austin Siegel (2) def. Robbie Bellamy / Wyatt Houghton 7-6(1), 6-3
Luca Corinteli / Stefan Kozlov (5) def. Henry Craig / Seth Stolar 6-3, 6-4
Brendan McClain / Thomas Pura def. Lamar Remy / Dennis Uspensky 6-3, 6-4
Girls’ 18s Doubles Semifinal Scores
Julia Elbaba / Camila Fuentes (7) def. Denise Starr / Katrine Steffensen (4) 3-6, 6-4, 1-0(8)
Gabrielle Andrews / Taylor Townsend (1) def. Zoe Katz / Maegan Manasse 6-2, 6-4
Breaunna Addison / Catherine Harrison (8) def. Stephanie Nauta / Chalena Scholl (2) 7-6(3), 6-4
Samantha Crawford / Alexandra Kiick (3) def. Rasheeda McAdoo / Johnnise Renaud 6-4, 6-4
Boys’ 16s Doubles Quarterfinal Scores
Winston Limhengco / Cody Rakela def. Connor Curry / William Little 4-6, 6-3, 1-0(6)
Garrett Auproux / Fabian Schaefer def. William Griffith / Kial Kaiser (9) 6-4, 6-2
Jake Devine / Cameron Klinger def. Grayson Goldin / Will Showers (9) 6-4, 6-3
Joseph Di Giulio / Logan Smith (5) def. Yale Goldberg / Aron Hiltzik (1) 7-5, 6-0
Girls' 16 Doubles Round of 16 Scores
Alexis Pereira / Elizabeth Profit (6) def. Mia Horvit / Meredith Xepoleas 6-4, 6-1
Hadley Berg / Kristina Hovsepyan (9) def. Anna Fuhr / Elizabeth Stewart 4-6, 6-2, 1-0(7)
Aryn Greene / Adi Milstein (5) def. Ndindi Ndunda / Rebecca Weissmann (9) 6-1, 2-6, 1-0(10)
Isabella Heidenreich / Maria Smith def. Ayla Aksu / Emma Critser 6-4, 2-6, 1-0(6)
Caroline Brinson / Megen Cochran (2) def. Alexandra Baer / Savannah Durkin (9) 6-3, 6-4
Paige Cline / Annika Ringblom def. Mary Haffey / Marie Norris 6-1, 6-4
Summer Collins / Courtney Meredith def. Ellyse Hamlin / Meghan Kelley (8) 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(9)
Shannon Hudson / Olivia Sneed (1) def. Sophie Chang / Caroline Lampl 6-1, 4-6, 1-0(9)
Boys’ 14s Doubles Quarterfinal Scores
William Blumberg / Brian Tsao (8) def. Ryan Dickerson / Kyle Seelig (2) 1-6, 6-4, 1-0(5)
Anudeep Kodali / Johnathan Small (1) def. Mwendwa Mbithi / Alex Ross (9) 6-3, 6-4
Lane Leschly / Victor Pham (7) def. Taylor Fritz / Riley Smith (3) 6-3, 7-5
Alexander Hwang / Sreyas Kolachalam def. Matthew Gamble / Brenden Volk (6) 4-6, 7-5, 1-0(8)
Girls’ 14s Doubles Semifinals Scores
Ena Shibahara / Savannah Slaysman def. Jessie Aney / Alexis Nelson (6) 7-5, 3-6, 6-1
Sofia Kenin / Parris Todd (8) def. Helen Altick / Catherine Bellis (1) 6-2, 7-5