Eastern at the 2023 Easter Bowl

Scott Sode | April 11, 2023

For the second time in three years, an Eastern junior has claimed the girls’ 16s title at the Easter Bowl, as New York, N.Y.’s Claire An came back from a set down in the final to defeat USTA Southern’s Alanis Hamilton, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4. Theadora Rabman, of Port Washington, N.Y., previously lifted the championship hardware in the same division in 2021.


“It feels like an amazing accomplishment,” An said after the legendary junior event, which was held March 25-April 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. “I knew that everyone would be playing at a high level given the significance of this tournament, so I expected to battle every day. ”


It’s not a hyperbole to say that’s exactly what she ended up doing. To claim victory, An played five three-setters in six matches, coming back from a one-set deficit on four separate occasions. Only her opening round match—which she won by a tidy scoreline of 6-0, 6-2—didn’t go the distance.


“I think my mental [toughness] and desire to compete are two of the greatest strengths of my game,” she said. “Throughout the tournament I was very proud of the way I was competing, just fighting until the very end.”


Those qualities were on full display as she dug deep to advance each round.


“When things are not going your way, you end up battling your nerves and sometimes that can feel harder than the match itself,” she explained, reflecting on her second round duel against USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Blair Gill, the first of those five three-set contests. “I learned that it’s OK to win ugly, to win without playing my best.”


Eking out dramatic, tight victories ultimately prepared her for the final against No. 3 seed Hamilton, a close friend. Earlier this year, the pair teamed up to play doubles together at junior ITF tournaments in Barranquilla, Colombia—where they reached the semifinals—and in San Jose, Costa Rica—where they finished as runners-up.


“It was a different feeling playing someone you know, and someone who knows your own strengths and weaknesses as well,” An said. “[But] I definitely think having won a number of three-setters preceding my final helped me. I felt towards the end of the second set that I was playing my best tennis of the match and dictating points much better. I became much more confident in my shots which transferred to a good start in the third.”


Now that she's won such a big event, what's the rest of 2023 looking like for An? More ITF tournaments. "I’m still working to get my ITF ranking up so that I can eventually compete in the Junior Grand Slams," she said. 


In addition to An, Eastern juniors enjoyed a particularly strong showing in the 16-and-under age group at the annual championship. Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Leena Friedman—who recently captured a title at the USTA National Winter Championships—reached the semifinals in girls' singles (losing to Hamilton) and eventually won the Bronze Ball. On the boys’ side of the division, Goshen, N.Y.’s Braeden Gelletich contested the singles final, while Glen Cove, N.Y.’s Sebastian Bielen scored a semifinal berth, also claiming a Bronze Ball. Another notable Eastern result: Izyan "Zizou" Ahmad—who this past January represented the United States contingent at the Les Petits As international junior tournament in France—received the event's sportsmanship award in the boys' 14s division.


Past champions of the Easter Bowl include John McEnroe, Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Andy Roddick, Sam Querrey, Taylor Townsend and Frances Tiafoe. The 55-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 2023.


Notable Eastern results:



Raghav Narayanan (Silver Ball, Boys’ 12s Doubles)

Aayush Vartak (Bronze Ball, Boys’ 12s Doubles)



Isabelle DeLuccia (Gold Ball, Girls’ 14s Doubles)

Izyan Ahmad (Bronze Ball, Boys’ 14s Singles and Boys’ 14s Sportsmanship Award)

Jesse Yang (Semifinals, Boys’ 14s Doubles)



Claire An (Gold Ball, Girls’ 16s Singles)

Leena Friedman (Bronze Ball, Girls’ 16s Singles)

Braeden Gelletich (Silver Ball, Boys’ 16s Singles)

Sebastian Bielen (Bronze Ball, Boys’ 16s Singles)

Dominick Mosejczuk (Bronze Ball, Boys’ 16s Doubles)

Kady Tannenbaum (Bronze Ball, Girls’ 16s Doubles)

Sophia Holod and Julia Werdiger (Semifinals, Girls’ 16s Doubles)



Shannon Lam (Bronze Ball, Girls’ 18s Singles)


Complete Easter Bowl results


Learn more about junior competition in the USTA Eastern section




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