Easter Bowl 12s, 14s
Steve Pratt | March 30, 2018
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The young juniors took center stage and shined Thursday, as the boys’ and girls’ 14- and 12-and-under championships were decided at the 51st annual adidas Easter Bowl, the USTA National Spring Championships, being played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
After the experience of making the girls’ 12s final last year, Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, said she only had to fight a moderate case of nerves, as she won the girls’ 14s USTA gold ball and her first Easter Bowl national title with a 6-1, 6-0 win over No. 7-seeded Sophia Williams of Charleston, S.C.
“Having been in the final before really did help,” said the 13-year-old Yu (pictured). “I did feel a little nervous at the start, but once I found my rhythm it was fine, and I just felt really confident. I think my opponent was more nervous, but the match was definitely closer than the score indicated. ADVERTISEMENT ”
Yu, the No. 3 seed, started playing tennis at age 6 and plans to tour around Southern California over Easter weekend and visit her brother, who is a student at Cal Tech.
“I don’t know yet how I’m going to celebrate,” she said. “I’m just so glad I got the opportunity to come back and win the Easter Bowl.”
Reese Brantmeier, the top seed from Whitewater, Wis., captured the third-place USTA bronze ball with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Alexandra Torre, the No. 2 seed from Brentwood, Tenn.
In the girls’ 14s doubles final, the Atlanta pairing of Ann Guerry and Kate Sharabura beat the California team of Anushka Khune (Palo Alto) and Tomi Main (Seaside), 6-2, 7-5.
In a battle of top-seeded players in the girls’ 12s final, No. 2 Clervie Ngounoue of Washington, D.C., took out No. 1 Stephanie Yakoff of Fort Lee, N.J., 6-3, 6-2. No. 8 Elizabeth Dunac (University Park, Md.) won her first USTA bronze ball.
Ngounoue and Yakoff later teamed to win the girls’ 12s doubles title.
“I felt the pressure,” said the 11-year-old Ngounoue, who has split four previous matches in the past with Yakoff. “I knew my game plan and how I had to play Stephanie. I knew I had to be consistent to beat her and to keep my patience.”
Ngounoue’s father is her coach, and the two train at Sports Fit, a tennis club in Bowie, Md.
In boys’ 14s action, Bruno Kuzuhara, the No. 10 seed from Coconut Creek, Fla., defeated top-seeded Samir Banerjee of Basking Ridge, N.J., 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, to win the title. No. 6 Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J., took home the USTA bronze ball.
“It was a great experience, and I’m so excited to win the Easter Bowl,” the 13-year-old Kuzuhara said. “To see that such great players like [Frances] Tiafoe and [Jack] Sock have won it is so cool.”
Playing in just his second Easter Bowl and first final, Kuzuhara said he battled nerves early on.
“I wasn’t able to execute from the start,” he said. “But I just tried to relax and stuck to my game plan, which was to look for the short balls and come in and attack.”
He added: “I love the Easter Bowl. It’s such a fun tournament, and being at Indian Wells is incredible.”
In the boys’ 14s doubles final, the No. 6 team of Alexander Karman and Isaac Smith beat the No. 2 team of Banerjee and Wen, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6.
In the boys’ 12s singles final, Rudy Quan, the No. 2 seed from Roseville, Calif., beat No. 10 Raghav Jangbahadur of Palo Alto, Calif., 6-1, 6-4, in a Northern California battle. In the boys’ 12s playoff for the USTA bronze ball, Alexander Frusina of Conroe, Texas, beat Meecah Bigun of College Park, Md., 6-1, 7-5.
The boys’ 12s doubles final saw Nicholas Mangiapane (Davidson, N.C.) and Andrew Salu, the top-seeded team, win the gold ball.
The girls’ 16s final four will feature three unseeded players, with India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon, Calif., set to face Hibah Shaikh of Teaneck, N.J., in one Friday semifinal. Chidimma Okpara, the No. 8 seed from Bronxville, N.Y., will take on Anessa Lee of San Marino, Calif., in the other.
The boys’ 16s semifinals will see No. 1 Keshav Chopra of Marietta, Ga., take on No. 4 Harsh Parikh of Tucson, Ariz., while No. 8 Logan Zapp (Fleming Island, Fla.) will face No. 2 Max McKennon of Newport Beach, Calif.
In the boys’ 18s, top-seeded Tristan Boyer (Altadena, Calif.) needed three sets to beat No. 13 Brian Shi (Jericho, N.Y.), 6-0, 4-6, 6-3. In the only other 18s match that went three sets, Andres Martin (Flowery Branch, Ga.) took out fellow unseeded player Kevin Zhu (Pearland, Texas), 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.
Other boys’ 18s results included: No. 12 William Woodall (Washington, D.C.) def. No. 7 Govind Nanda (Cerritos, Calif.), 6-4, 6-4; Cannon Kingsley (Northport, N.Y.) def. Roger Chou (Austin, Texas) by walkover (inj); No. 11 Brandon Nakashima (San Diego) def. Jake Sands (Pacific Palisades, Calif.), 6-3, 6-3; Jenson Brooksby (Carmichael, Calif.) def. No. 4 Trey Hilderbrand (San Antonio), 6-1, 6-2; Siem Woldeab (La Mesa, Calif.) def. Michael Sun (Livingston, N.J.), 6-3, 6-4; No. 2 Drew Baird (Holly Springs, N.C.) def. No. 14 William Grant (Boca Raton, Fla.), 7-6, 6-3.
In the girls’ 18s ITF division, all eight round-of-16 winners won in straight sets. Results included: No. 1 Alexa Noel (Summit, N.J.) def. Ava Hrastar (Duluth, Ga.), 6-0, 6-4; No. 10 Hurricane Tyra Black (Boca Raton, Fla.) def. Nikki Redelijk (Windermere, Fla.), 6-3, 6-3; Savannah Broadus (Carrollton, Texas) def. Charlotte Owensby (Boca Raton), 6-1, 6-0; No. 8 Gabriella Price (New City, N.Y.) def. No. 12 Elli Mandlik (Bradenton, Fla.), 6-2, 6-1; No. 11 Chloe Beck (Watkinsville, Ga.) def. No. 7 Hailey Baptiste (Washington, D.C.), 6-4, 7-5; No. 15 Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, Calif.) def. No. 3 Caty McNally (Cincinnati), 6-2, 6-4; Emma Navarro (Charleston, S.C.) def. Jenna Dean (Bradenton, Fla.), 6-1, 7-5; No. 2 Margaryta Bilokin (New Canaan, Conn.) def. No. 13 Vanessa Ong (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 6-1, 6-1.
To keep up with the latest adidas Easter Bowl news, results, schedules and live streaming, visit the tournament website at www.easterbowl.com, and follow on Facebook, Twitter and the Match Tennis App.
(Photo courtesy of Dave Kenas)