Dominant semifinalists to
square off at ISC
Arthur Kapetanakis | April 5, 2019
The 18s semifinalists at the USTA International Spring Championships have been dominant all week in Carson, Calif., with six of the eight yet to drop a set on the SoCal hard courts. In an event filled with upsets, the top seeds in both the boys’ and girls’ draws—Liam Draxl and Hurricane Tyra Black, respectively— have maintained some semblance of order by winning eight consecutive sets to reach the final four.
The girls’ defending champ, Black, has grown stronger throughout the week, hitting top gear with a pair of shutout sets in both the third round and the quarterfinals. The Boca Raton, Fla., native defeated Victoria Hu, 6-2, 6-0, in Round 3, before booking her semifinal spot in a 6-1, 6-0 clinic against No. 12 Emma Jackson. Despite the defeat, Jackson can look back on a successful two-week run that also included a quarterfinal appearance at the Easter Bowl.ADVERTISEMENT
All four girls’ semifinalists are a perfect eight-for-eight in sets played on the week. Katrina Scott (pictured above), Black’s next opponent, helped make sure it would be an all-American final four with her 6-0, 6-3 result over Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic. It was the second consecutive seeded scalp for the unseeded 14-year-old, who took out Mo. 15 Alexandra Yepifnova in Round 3.
Another 14-year-old, Robin Montgomery, took out No. 8 Lauren Anzalotta Kynoch of Puerto Rico in a 7-5, 6-3 quarterfinal. Montgomery, an Easter Bowl finalist, will face wild card Connie Ma on Saturday. Ma previously upset No. 14 Jenna Defalco, 6-2, 6-4, in her quarterfinal match.
On the boys’ side, Canada’s Draxl has lived up to his billing by knocking out a pair of seeded Americans in the last two rounds. After topping No. 13 Ronan Jachuck, himself an Easter Bowl quarterfinalist, in Round 3, he got past No. 5 Toby Alex Kodat in the quarters. Kodat provided Draxl’s toughest test of the tournament, pushing him to his only tiebreak of the week in a 7-6, 6-1 decision.
Andrew Dale will provide the opposition for Draxl in Saturday’s semis, after a 7-5, 6-0 quarterfinal victory against No. 15 Jacob Bullard, who took out No. 3 Tyler Zink in Round 3. Both Draxl and Dale reached the weekend without dropping a set.
Wild card Zachary Svajda and unseeded Stefan Dostancic will square off in an all-American semi. Svajda took out No. 4 Martin Damm in Round 1 and has not faced another seeded opponent since. Dostanic, meanwhile, upset No. 14 Keshav Chopra (Round 2) and No. 8 Blu Baker (quarters) en route to the final four. All three of those upset wins came in three sets, and neither semifinalist has dropped a set to an unseeded opponent through the weekend. That will change on Saturday.
Friday’s play also set up the boy’s and girls’ 16s singles finals. William Cooksey is set to take on Alexander Chang in the boys’ championship, while No. 7 Anne Lutkemeyer Obregon will face Winta Woldeab for the girls’ title.
In the boys’ 16s division, where none of the five seeds reached the quarterfinal stage, Cooksey defeated Eli Gordon in one semifinal, while Chang topped Jiaxi Ma in the other. Both matches were straight-set affairs.
In the girls’ 16s, Lutkemeyer Obregon defeated No. 6 Ria Bhakta in three sets, while Woldeab was a straight-set winner over Makenna Martinez.
The first trophies will be given out on Saturday, in the 16s singles and doubles competitions, while the 18s draws move on to semifinal play.
For tournament information, including live scoring, visit the official ISC website.