Qualifier Liv Hovde wins 2021 Easter Bowl girls' 18s singles title

Steve Pratt | April 05, 2021

After winning her ninth singles match over nine days, 15-year-old Liv Hovde sat back in her chair before her post-match interview and exhaled. The Girls’ ITF Adidas Easter Bowl singles title and USTA gold ball were all hers.


“I’m shocked,” said Hovde, after coming back to beat No. 3-seeded Elvina Kalieva, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, on the final day of the prestigious Grade B1 event, played on Easter Sunday at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. “It’s crazy to think I just won the Easter Bowl.”


Going through the past records, no one could ever recall a girls’ player coming through the qualifying draws to win the USTA Spring Nationals Easter Bowl, started in New York in 1968 by Seena Hamilton and currently run by tournament director Lornie Kuhle. 


“I wasn’t nervous,” said Hovde, ranked in the low 900s in the world ITF Junior rankings after beating her second world Top-25 ranked player in as many days. “I was just excited.”


Hovde is originally from Minnesota and moved with her family to McKinney, Texas, around age 10. She currently trains with former Australian Grand Slam champion Phil Dent and his son Taylor and wife Jenny at the Dent Tennis Academy in Keller, Texas. 


In the semifinals on Saturday, Hovde shocked Easter Bowl No. 1 seed and future USC Trojan Madison Sieg, 6-0, 6-3. “It’s been more mentally tiring than physically,” said Hovde, a day after beating the No. 14 player in the ITF world ranking in Sieg. “You have to have the right mindset. Just keep staying positive and go match by match.”

Finalist Elvina Kalieva (left) and champion Liv Hovde (right) at the ITF Easter Bowl trophy ceremony. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan

On Sunday, Kalieva fought off Hovde’s aggressive style of play to take the first set. 


Kalieva paid Hovde the ultimate compliment in defeat. “I just love the way she plays,” Kalieva said. “She played really good, obviously. I think she just played more aggressively, and I think that is why she won. Both of her shots, forehand and backhand, are just as good. She hits a lot of winners and she’s aggressive.


“I didn’t play the right game style against her. I was hitting the ball down the middle and I think I should have made her run more and hit it deeper.” 


Hovde served for the second set at 5-3, and Kalieva erased a set point in the ninth game. “I went up 6-5 and had to stay determined and just go for it,” said Hovde, playing in her second Easter Bowl. “I hit my serve really big. It’s a big part of my game.”

2021 Easter Bowl girls' 18s champion Liv Hovde. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan

Kalieva, originally from Staten Island, N.Y., is currently living with her grandparents in Florida, while her parents have relocated just north of San Diego up the Interstate 5 to Los Angeles to support older brother Arthur Kaliyev, a 19-year-old highly touted prospect in the Los Angeles Kings hockey organization. 


In February, Kaliyev got the call up to the big club for his first NHL game and scored a goal against the rival Anaheim Ducks.


Kalieva said the siblings have a regular brother-sister relationship. “We talk on the phone and he tells me about his hockey, and I tell him about my tennis,” she said. 


Kalieva is looking to playing the junior Grand Slams at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, and said she is “50-50 for college right now.”


Hovde said California has become her favorite place to play and she’s looking forward to coming back to the same site at Barnes Tennis Center in August for the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s Nationals, where a wild card spot into the main draw of the US Open will be on the line. 


“For now, I’m just going to go back home and rest, and then get back on it,” Hovde said. “I’m going to just chill.”


Spoken just like a Californian.

Final results from the Easter Bowl girls' competitions are below. Complete draws are available here: Boys’ & Girls’ 18sBoys’ & Girls’ 12s, 14s, & 16s.


Easter Bowl USTA National Spring Championships - Girls’ 18s

San Diego, March 30 – April 4, 2021

Singles: Liv Hovde (McKinney, Texas) d. (3) Elvina Kalieva (Staten Island, N.Y.), 4-6, 7-5, 6-1

Doubles: (2) Qavia Lopez (Delray Beach, Fla.) / Valencia Xu (Livingston, N.J.) d. (6) Sarah Hamner (Boca Raton, Fla.) / Ashlyn Krueger (Highland Village, Texas), 5-7, 6-4, [10-8]


Easter Bowl USTA National Spring Championships – Girls’ 16s

San Diego, March 30 – April 4, 2021

Singles: Theadora Rabman (Port Washington, N.Y.) d. (4) Tatum Evans (McLean, Va.), 6-2, 6-1

Doubles: (1) Natalie Block (Plantation, Fla.) / Evans d. Vivian Miller (Sullivan’s Island, S.C.) / Lexington Reed (Orlando, Fla.), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3


Easter Bowl USTA National Spring Championships – Girls’ 14s

San Diego, March 25 – 30, 2021

Singles: Iva Jovic (Torrance, Calif.) d. (9) Elena Zhao (San Diego), 6-0, 6-2

Doubles: (1) Katie Rolls (Plymouth, Mich.) / Amber Yin (Ballwin, Mo.) d. Olivia Benton (Rosedale, N.Y.) / Christasha McNeil (Lindenhurst, N.Y.), 6-0, 6-3


Easter Bowl USTA National Spring Championships - Girls’ 12s

San Diego, March 25 – 30, 2021

Singles: (4) Shannon Lam (Highland Park, N.J.) d. (9) Thea Frodin (Woodland Hills, Calif.), 6-3, 6-0

Doubles: (2) Abigail Gordon (Boca Raton, Fla.) / Marcella Roversi (Doral, Fla.) d. (1) Isabelle DeLuccia (Livingston, N.J.) / Kayla Moore (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 7-6(4), 6-7(1), [10-8]

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