Eastern

Eastern at the 2022 Easter Bowl

Scott Sode | April 13, 2022


Michael Antonius won the boys' 12s singles title at the 2022 Easter Bowl. Photo credit: Daniel Antonius

Keeping it in the East. For the second year in a row, an Eastern player has captured the boys' 12s singles title at the Easter Bowl, with fifth-seeded Michael Antonius of Buffalo, N.Y. defeating No. 2 seed Vihaan Reddy (of USTA Northern California) in the final in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2, to clinch the victory. Sebastian Bielen, of East Norwich, N.Y., lifted the trophy in the division at the 2021 event.

 

“It felt great to win a gold ball, especially at the Easter Bowl where there is such a strong field of players,” Antonius said after the prestigious junior tournament, which was held March 25-April 3 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. “I had some nerves at the beginning [of the week], but those disappeared as the tournament went along. The main challenge was really dealing with the hot weather for several days, though I don’t really mind the heat once I get used to it.”

 

If the desert conditions affected a player used to frigid western New York temperatures and indoor courts, you wouldn’t know it from the scorelines he produced over the course of the event. Astoundingly, of the six matches played to earn the championship, Antonius won two (in the Round of 32 and the Round of 16) without dropping a single game, 6-0, 6-0. He won another two (in the Round of 64 and the semifinals), ceding just one. 

 

“The key was being able to adapt to my different opponents,” he said. “I changed my game plan depending on the match.”

 

The final, against Reddy, proved to be his toughest task, with the first set culminating in a tiebreak before Antonius broke away in the second.

 

“I thought Vihaan adapted very well to my game and was able to move me around,” Antonius said. “So I tried to counterpunch more and go from defense to offense, which worked.”

 

Antonius’s run-of-form also extended to the doubles event, where he partnered with Jordan Lee (of USTA Florida) to reach another final during the week. He said he hopes the string of strong results—which includes a singles runner-up finish at the USTA National Indoor Championships this past November—helps him achieve even more for the remainder of 2022.

 

“[It’s] something to build on going forward,” he said. “My main goals are to keep pushing myself to get better and to continue playing at a high level. I just loved playing at Indian Wells and [competing against] top competition every day.”

 

Past champions of the Easter Bowl include John McEnroe, Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Andy Roddick, Sam Querrey, Taylor Townsend and Frances Tiafoe. The 54-year-old tournament was originally envisioned and developed by Seena Hamilton, an Eastern parent who wanted to create more playing opportunities for juniors. Although the competition is now located on the west coast, the inaugural event debuted in the Eastern Section at the Midtown Tennis Club in Manhattan in 1968. It is one of the USTA's five national championships to be held for juniors in 2022.

 

Other notable 2022 Eastern Easter Bowl results:

 

12s

Izyan Ahmad (Semifinals, Boys’ 12s Doubles)

 

14s

Sebastian Bielen and Jack Kennedy (Finalists, Boys’ 14s Doubles)

Ronit Karki (Semifinals, Boys’ 14s Singles and Bronze Ball, Boys’ 14s Doubles)

 

16s

Andrew Ena and Mark Krupkin (Bronze Ball, Boys’ 16s Doubles)

Stephanie Yakoff (Finalist, Girls’ 16s Doubles)

 

18s

Michael Zheng (Finalist, Boys’ 18s Doubles)

 

Complete Easter Bowl results:

 

Boys’ and Girls’ 12s, 14s, & 16s

Boys’ and Girls’ 18s

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