Liu, Riffice win openers
at 2017 Adidas Easter Bowl
Steve Pratt | March 27, 2017
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The 2015 Easter Bowl was great for both girls’ ITF singles winner Claire Liu and boys’ ITF singles finalist Sam Riffice. On Monday, both made victorious returns to the grounds of their past glory, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, opening play in the ITF (18s) division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior National Spring Championships.
The top-seeded Liu (pictured above), 16, who won the Wimbledon junior doubles titles last summer and has been playing mostly USTA Pro Circuit and ITF Pro Circuit events, made quick work of Chloe Beck, 6-1, 6-1. Riffice, the No. 4 seed who lost to Taylor Fritz in the 2015 ITF final, struggled in the first set against Robert Maciag before pulling out a 7-6 (6), 6-0 victory.
Liu, who made the final of the WTA BNP Paribas pre-qualifier tournament last month at this same Indian Wells Tennis Garden site, said her mindset doesn’t change switching from the pro events to the juniors.ADVERTISEMENT
“I don’t think it really matters,” she said. “It’s still a match, and I just want to focus on what I need to work on.”
Liu is currently working with USTA national coaches Chris Tonz and Erik Kortland at the USTA Training Center – West in Carson, Calif.
“I always loved this tournament because I’ve done so well here in the past,” she said. “I love Palm Springs and Indian Wells. The Easter Bowl and Indian Wells (BNP Paribas Open) are my two favorite tournaments.”
The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native, who was just 14 when she won the 2015 Easter Bowl, will play doubles with Kelly Chen. Liu explained why she decided at the last minute to take a wild card into the Easter Bowl.
“I was going to lose my points from the ISC (International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif., last week), and I’m not going to play any more junior events until the French, so I was going to lose some doubles points,” she said.
Last year’s Easter Bowl was also a success for 15-year-old Caty McNally of Cincinnati, who made the semifinals. In doubles, McNally lost to Liu and Usue Arconada in the Wimbledon final at the All England Club in July.
“It was amazing, playing my first Wimbledon,” said McNally, the No. 6 seed who beat Sara Choy, 6-2, 6-1 in her first-round match Monday. “And to get to the final was so unexpected. I’m so happy to be back and playing the Easter Bowl.”
Defending Boys’ ITF singles champion Gianni Ross will open play Tuesday in Stadium Court 2, which is being streamed live. The No. 2-seeded Ross meets Conrad Russell in the third match scheduled on the court.