advance at Easter Bowl
Steve Pratt | March 27, 2019
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – With a wild card into her hometown WTA tournament in Charleston, S.C., awaiting her next week, Emma Navarro was happy to return to the courts after an eight-week layoff on Tuesday at the 52nd annual Adidas Easter Bowl.
Navarro (pictured above) is the Easter Bowl’s No. 3-seeded player and ranked No. 22 in the ITF World Junior Rankings. On Tuesday, she posted a 7-6, 6-4 win over 15-year-old Elvina Kalieva in the girls’ 18s ITF division to open her campaign at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“I played OK, but not as good as I wanted to,” she said. “But it’s only the first match of the tournament, so I’m just getting used to the feel of the ball.”
Navarro, 17, hasn’t played a tournament since January, when she won two rounds in singles at the junior Australian Open and made the final in doubles.ADVERTISEMENT
“I took a few weeks off and took some time away from tournaments,” she said of her buildup to the Easter Bowl. “It’s kind of the first break I’ve ever taken. It was nice just to relax and to practice, but I’m definitely excited to be back into a tournament.”
Navarro will play next week in her first WTA pro tournament, thanks to a wild card in both singles and doubles at the Volvo Car Open. The South Carolina event is considered the largest women’s-only tournament in North America. Played on green clay, the WTA Premier tournament will offer $823,000 in prize money.
“I’ve gone to watch it every year and the atmosphere is amazing,” said Navarro, a high school junior who will play her college tennis at Duke University.
Navarro won the Easter Bowl girls’ 16s singles title two years ago, and was a semifinalist in the 18s last year.
Top-seeded Hurricane Tyra Black opened her Easter Bowl campaign with an easy win, as she got past Malaika Rapolu, 6-2, 6-1. Black is currently the world No. 13 junior girl.
It was a return trip to Southern California for Black, of Boca Raton, Fla., who in the past few weeks played two ITF World Tennis Tour W15 events in Carson and Arcadia on the USTA Pro Circuit.
Black has started the year without a coach after being with an academy for a number of years.
“It’s going OK,” said Black, who is also seeded No. 1 in doubles this week with partner Lea Ma. “I feel like I’ve learned enough over the years that I should try it on my own.”
Other winners include No 5 seed Ma and No. 9 Kylie Collins. Unseeded Elizabeth Coleman beat No. 12 seed and 2015 girls’ 12s Easter Bowl champion Gabby Price in a tight match, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5. Price was the only seed to lose in the first round of girls’ 18s play on Tuesday.
In the girls’ 16s draw, top-seeded Nadejda Maslova of Brooklyn, N.Y., moved on, as did boys’ 16s No. 1 Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara, Calif.
The boys' 14s singles semifinals are set. Top seed Aidan Kim (Milford, Mich.) will take on No. 12 Juncheng Shang (Naples, Fla). In the other semifinal, it will be No. 3 Lucas Brown (Plano, Texas) against No. 15 Learner Tien (Irvine, Calif.).
In the girls’ 14s singles semifinals, No. 1 Stephanie Yakoff (Fort Lee, N.J.) will play No. 3 Tsehay Driscoll (La Canada Flintridge, Calif.), and No. 15 Qavia Lopez (Grand Rapids, Mich.) will meet No. 2 Ria Bhakta (Saragtoga, Calif.)
In the boys’ 12s singles semifinals, No. 1 Maxwell Exsted (Savage, Minn.) will meet No. 13 Abhishek Thorat (Lithia, Fla.), while No. 3 Darren Huang (Whitestone, N.Y.) will play No. 2 Cooper Woestendick (Olathe, Kan.).
In the girls’ 12s singles semifinals, No. 1 Thea Latak (Darien, Ill.) will play No. 4 Emily Deming (Fallbrook, Calif.). In the other semifinal, No. 14 Annika Renganathan (Sammamish, Wash.) takes on unseeded Daniela Borruel (Buena Park, Calif.).
To keep up with all the Adidas Easter Bowl news, visit the official tournament website, and check out the tournament on Facebook and Twitter. Live streaming is available on the official website, and an improved mobile app, Match Tennis App, provides even more ways to follow the action.