NAKASHIMA, NAVARRO WINS 16S TITLES
AT 2017 EASTER BOWL
Steve Pratt | April 1, 2017
INDIAN WELLS, Calif.. – Brandon Nakashima picked a pretty good time to play some of the best tennis he’s ever played.
The top seed in the Boys’ 16s division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior Spring Nationals played nearly flawless tennis on Saturday, posting a 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 13-seeded Stefan Dostanic of Irvine, Calif., to capture the title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
It was the second gold ball in singles for the 15-year-old, who attends High Bluff Academy near his home in San Diego, to go along with the two he has in doubles.
“It feels amazing,” said Nakashima, who played up in the 18s last week at the International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif., and lost to Patrick Kypson in the third round. “It was a long week. I played probably the best I’ve played the whole tournament. Stefan is a good player and I had to play my best to beat him. All the pressure was on me being the No. 1 seed in the tournament.”
Nakashima, who has been working with famed coach Larry Stefanki for the past two years, said he will play once more in the 16s at the USTA Hardcourt Nationals at Kalamazoo in August before graduating full-time to the 18s.
“He just didn’t miss,” said Dostanic, 15, who trains with coaches Chuck Brymer and Chris Lewis at the Woodbridge Country Club in Irvine. “I played him about a year ago and it was the same result. He doesn’t show any emotion and doesn’t give you much to work with. I’m planning on playing Kalamazoo so maybe I can get my revenge there.”
It was the first USTA national ball for Dostanic, who attends Woodbridge High School and plays on the high school team.
A New York native now living in Charleston, S.C., fifth-seeded Emma Navarro got rid of some early match nerves to down unseeded Fiona Crawley of San Antonio, 7-6 (8), 6-0, to win the Girls’ 16s title. Crawley, who upset the No. 1 seed Briana Crowley in the first round, fought off several match points before falling in the first set.
“In the second set I loosened up a little bit and once I got the first two games I took it from there,” said Navarro, who won her first gold ball in singles and trains at LTP Tennis in Charleston with coach Peter Ayers.
Crawley’s silver ball will look nice displayed next to the bronze one she won at the USTA Spring Team Nationals last year. Crawley trains at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas, and attends Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio.
“I’ve never done this well at a national tournament,” she said. “I could have never imagined I would have made it this far. I don’t know what is next for me. I was supposed to be playing in a Texas tournament this weekend.”
In the Boys’ 18s singles fsemifinals, 16-year-old Sebastian Korda came back to beat 2015 finalist Sam Riffice, the No. 4 seed from Orlando, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Korda will play in his first ITF final of any kind Sunday against No. 8 seed Alafia Ayeni of San Diego. Ayeni beat No. 6 seed Kypson, of Greenville, N.C., in the other semifinal, 6-3, 7-5.
Two of Korda’s sisters are taking part in the ANA Inspiration LPGA major this week just down the road in Rancho Mirage. The 18-year old Nelly Korda was tied for second place after Friday’s round at Mission Hills Country Club, nearly 13 miles away. Jessica Korda is 24 years old and also on the LPGA Tour.
“Each day after I play I go over there for a little bit, and then home to rest,” said Korda, whose father, former Australian Open champion Petr, and mother, Regina Rajchrtová, have been going back and forth from the courts to the course.
In the Girls’ 18s singles final, top seed and 2015 champion Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks will take on last year’s finalist Ellie Douglas of McKinney, Texas. Liu had no trouble with No. 3 Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1. Douglas, meantime, needed 10 match points to fend off No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., in the other semi, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
The Boys’ ITF singles final will be played first at 10 a.m., with the girls to follow, not before 11:30 a.m.
In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play, Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app, The live stream commentating duties are being provided by the popular Southern California tennis commentator Marcus Tennis, Check www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules,
(Photo credit: David Kenas Photography)