Eastern at the 2021 Easter Bowl
Call it an Eastern feast. Team Eastern posted top results at the 2021 Adidas Easter Bowl, taking home three singles championships and two in doubles throughout the esteemed annual event, held March 29-April 4 at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, California.
Theadora Rabman (pictured, above), of Port Washington, New York, captured the title in the Girls’ 16s division, defeating USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Tatum Evans in the final, 6-2, 6-1; Shannon Lam, of Highland Park, New Jersey, beat USTA Southern California’s Thea Frodin, 6-3, 6-0, to claim victory in the Girls’ 12s division; East Norwich, New York’s Sebastian Bielen defeated USTA Southern California’s Kimi Basamakov, 6-0, 6-2, to win in the Boys’ 12s division; Huntington, New York’s Jack Kennedy—who lost to Bielen in the singles semifinals—took home the Boys’ 12s doubles title with partner Trenton Kanchanakomtorn, upsetting No. 1 seeds Colin McPeek and Navneet Raghuram, 6-4, 6-2; and Valencia Xu, of Livingston, New Jersey, captured the doubles trophy in the Girls’ 18s division with partner Qavia Lopez, overcoming Sarah Hamner and Ashlyn Krueger in a match tiebreak, 5-7, 6-4, [10-8].
“It’s always been a dream of mine to win a super National and now that I have won two in two different age groups, it shows that the hard work is paying off,” said Rabman, who previously captured the 2019 USTA National Championships singles title in the Girls’ 14s division. “It feels amazing to win such a big title since so many top players competed in this tournament.”
Even with such a high caliber of competition, Rabman didn’t lose a set and never dropped more than six games in any of her matches. “I think the key to my success was my mental state,” she said. “I felt really good going into the tournament, playing some good tennis in practice and trying to always be positive. I think in the final match I played really well and smart to secure the win. I tried to stay calm and not let my nerves get the best of me since I was playing one of my best friends.”
Unlike Rabman, Lam is new to the national stage; the No. 4 seed was playing in just her second Level 1 (L1) tournament. Similar to Rabman, however, Lam also found her best form over the course of the event, winning five sets 6-0 en route to the title.
“I have been working very hard on tennis since last year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to go to school remotely,” Lam said. “All the hard work I put in paid off, and I feel really grateful towards everyone who helped me on this journey: my coach Edgar Arzamasov, my parents and everyone in the club. [And it’s] a journey that is still not over. It makes me look forward to future tournaments and competitions.”
- Sebastian Bielen adds his name to the "champion" line on the Boys' 12s singles draw. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Bielen captured the Boys' 12s singles title at the 2021 Easter Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Shannon Lam won the Girls' 12 singles title at the 2021 Eastern Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Lam won five sets by a score of 6-0 during the tournament. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Theadora Rabman captured the Girls' 16 singles title at the 2021 Easter Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Eastern's Jack Kennedy (right), with partner Trenton Kanchanakomtorn, captured the Boys' 12s doubles title at the 2021 Easter Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Eastern's Valencia Xu (left), with partner Qavia Lopez, won the Girls' 18s doubles title at the 2021 Easter Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Eastern duo Kayla Moore and Isabelle DeLuccia were the Girls' 12s doubles finalists at the 2021 Easter Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Eastern duo Olivia Benton and Christasha McNeil were the Girls' 14s doubles finalists at the 2021 Easter Bowl. Photo Credit: USTA / Derrick Tuskan
- Bielen prepared for the 2021 Easter Bowl by shoveling snow off nearby outdoor courts. Photo courtesy Sebastian Bielen.
Lam felt that she hit the ball cleanly, maintained her composure and didn’t make a lot of bad decisions on the court. She also handled the warmer San Diego conditions well, despite the fact that most of her preparations fell during a New Jersey winter.
“My opponent [in the third round] is from Southern California, so I knew she would be more accustomed to the weather than I would be,” Lam said. “The score was very close at the beginning of the first set, and every time someone would win a game, the other person would come back to even it out. I started putting more topspin on my shots and mixed that with drop shots to pull her in. That day was also very windy so I kept reminding myself to watch the ball longer before I hit it. It worked well and I won the set.”
Bielen, too, competed at a high level throughout the event. He also won five sets 6-0; one of his most challenging matches by scoreline was against Kennedy in the semifinals. (Eastern’s David Clarke also reached that round, which meant that three of the final four standing in the Boys’ 12s draw heiled from the section.)
“It feels amazing,” Bielen said of his victory. “I worked really hard for it—including snow shoveling the court back in New York to be ready for an outdoor tournament. It was only my second super national so I am very happy to bring the gold ball home.”
Bielen was most happy that he was able to adopt a positive mindset. “I was very consistent, moved very well and had a great energy and attitude [on the court],” he said. “My goal was to win the whole tournament, so I was trying to stay focused and do the right things in order to compete well.”
Past champions of the Easter Bowl include Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Andy Roddick, Sam Querrey, Taylor Townsend and Frances Tiafoe. The long-running, prestigious tournament is usually held in Indian Wells, California but was moved to the Barnes Tennis Center due to COVID-19 regulations. Even though restrictions meant some changes to national competition—like less people on site—Bielen was just happy to be traveling and competing after a 2020 without major junior tournaments.
“San Diego is a beautiful city and the Barnes Tennis Center is an amazing facility as well,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to finally start traveling for national tournaments! I am happy the Easter Bowl took place and I am looking forward to more big tournaments this year.”
Rabman agreed. “I enjoyed traveling again and seeing all my friends I don’t normally see,” she said. “The tournament was really well run and I had a great time. It felt amazing competing again since we couldn’t last year. And everyone has improved, so it’s nice to play at an even higher level.”
Other notable Eastern results:
Jack Kennedy (Bronze Ball/Third Place, Boys’ 12s singles)
David Clarke (Semifinals, Boys’ 12s singles)
Isabelle DeLuccia and Kayla Moore (Finals, Girls’ 12s doubles)
Nicolas Iantosca and Dominick Mosejczuk (Bronze Ball/Third Place, Boys' 14s doubles)
Braeden Gelletich and Shri-Keshav Murugesan (Semifinals, Boys' 14s doubles)
Christasha McNeil (Semifinals, Girls' 14s singles)
Olivia Benton and Christasha McNeil (Finals, Girls’ 14s doubles)
Claire An (Bronze Ball/Third Place, Girls' 14s doubles)
Stephanie Yakoff (Bronze Ball/Third Place, Girls' 16s doubles and Semifinals, Girls' 16s singles)
Madison Sieg (Semifinals, Girls' 18s singles and doubles)
Elise Wagle (Semifinals, Girls' 18s doubles)