Owensby battles back
to win Girls’ 14s Easter Bowl title
Steve Pratt | March 30, 2017
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Storyline after storyline. There was no shortage of them at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior National Spring Championships on Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
- Around 2:30 p.m., play was halted due to 40-mph winds that swept through the Coachella Valley. At 4 p.m., ITF Referee Martha Gregg emerged to announce to all players, parents and coaches that the air quality was too poor to continue and that play was done for the day.
- While the ITF boys’ singles had concluded, there were still two ITF girls’ matches that were suspended, including top-seeded Claire Liu dropping the first set, 6-4, to Elli Mandlik, and up 3-1 in the second set. The two will resume play Friday at 9 a.m.
- Defending champion and No. 2-seeded Gianni Ross was upset by unseeded Jake Sands, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the round of 16.
- USTA national gold and silver balls were handed out in the Boys’ and Girls’ 14s and 12s, as those divisions were completed before the winds came.
- Charlotte Owensby of Boca Raton, Fla., fought off seven match points to come back from down 2-5 in the third set to win the Girls’ 14s singles final over Gianna Pielet, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
It was tough finish for the top-seeded Pielet from El Paso, Texas, who was serving up 5-4, 40-love, in the final set.
“I’ve maybe been down three match points before but never down that far in games,” Owensby (pictured above) said. “I tried to focus my plan of getting her off the court, and that started working, and she was making more errors. And that gave me more confidence. When she went up 5-4 and 40-love, I definitely thought I was done. Then I just took it one point at a time and just tried to come back. And then at 5-all, I just focused on that game and won that game.”
Owensby, who is coached by former WTA Top 85 player Yuliya Beygelzimer, recently turned 14.
“It feels amazing. I still haven’t processed it that I won the Easter Bowl,” she said after accepting her first USTA national gold ball playing her first time here.
“I had some match points but just couldn’t close it out,” a distraught Pielet said. “I certainly didn’t play good at all, and I think we were both nervous. I can learn from this, for sure. Just to try to play a better match and work on my nerves.”
Boys' 18s No. 6 seed Patrick Kypson had the same experience two years ago, holding a huge lead over Taylor Fritz, only to watch Fritz come back for the win. This year was different.
On Thursday, Kypson, 17, posted a solid 6-3, 6-1 win over last week’s Carson ISC champion and tournament No. 9 seed Alexandre Rotsaert, 6-3, 6-1.
“I know when he plays well he’s tough to beat, and he always plays me well,” said Kypson, who meets top-seeded Trent Bryde in the quarterfinals on Friday.
In the Boys’ 14s final, Alexander Bernard (No. 9 seed, Bonita Springs, Fla.) defeated Aryan Chaudhary (No. 2, Santa Clara, Calif.), 6-4, 6-2. Bernard was set to catch a long flight back to Florida Thursday night but said he planned to celebrate by perhaps going to McDonald's.
“I’ve never had In N Out,” Bernard said. “I should try it.”
Of the final, he said: “I started off making too many mistakes, and he was playing good,” said Bernard, 13, who won his first gold ball and trains with Rene Gomez at Gomez Tennis Academy in Naples. “I was just trying to focus on the next point and trying to stay in the rallies.”
“This week has been great, and I’ve never been here before,” said Chaudhary, who won his first silver ball to go along with a gold in doubles on Wednesday and a copper in a past Winter Nationals. “I was just looking forward to playing people from around the U.S. It was a great experience for me.”
In the Boys’ 12s final, unseeded Kyle Kang of Fullerton, Calif., got the best of fellow unseeded player Nishesh Basavareddy of Carmel, Ind., 6-2, 6-4.
“It was fun out there,” said Kang, who just turned 12 recently and is in sixth grade at Hermosa Drive Elementary in Fullerton. “When I started winning, it was really fun. I started off down 0-2, but I just focused and was able to hit my shots. My heart was racing on match point.”
“He was staying consistent and moving me around,” said Basavareddy, who is 11 and has a singles USTA gold ball from the Winter Nationals and also won the gold ball in the 12s doubles on Wednesday. “I wasn’t nervous and think my experience helped me.”
In the Girls’ 12s final, unseeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento, Calif., downed Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, 6-1, 6-3.
Nelson won her first USTA national ball of any kind, and a gold one at that.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” she said. “It feels good to be an Easter Bowl champion. I have practice tomorrow and another tournament to get ready for.”
Nelson is 11 and is home schooled. She was also given the 12s USTA Sportsmanship award. Martin Damm was awarded the honor in the 14s division.
“The nerves got to me,” said Yu, who is 12 and goes to public school (sixth grade) in Mason. “I learned a lot this week and think I can get a lot better after this.”
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. Check www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for the latest Easter Bowl news, results and schedules.
(Photo credit: David Kenas Photography)