Top four girls’ seeds
into semis at Adidas Easter Bowl
Steve Pratt | March 31, 2017
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Four of the top junior girls tennis players in the United States each won quarterfinal matches, as the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 seeds moved on to finals weekend in the ITF Girls’ 18s division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl.
2016 Easter Bowl ITF runner-up Ellie Douglas, seeded fourth this year, had her hands full with No. 10 seed Hurricane Tyra Black before prevailing, 6-3, 6-3.
“Being so close last year and making the final just makes me that much more determined to win it,” said Douglas (pictured above), of McKinney, Texas. “I did not play good at Carson last week (in the International Spring Championships), but this is my favorite all-time tournament, so I’m putting it all out there this week.”
The 16-year-old Douglas will face No. 2 Taylor Johnson Saturday morning in the semifinals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. In their last meeting in the fall, Johnson beat Douglas in the final of the Mexico City Grade A ITF tournament in three sets.
“All three players left are great players,” Douglas said. “I think I just need to stay aggressive and stick to my game plan.”
In the other girls’ semifinal, top-seeded Claire Liu meets No. 3 Whitney Osuigwe, a 14-year-old with a WTA ranking.
The girls’ ITF semifinals will take place on courts 1 and 2 at 11 a.m., followed by the boys’ semifinals at 1 p.m.
Orlando’s Sam Riffice is the only Top 4 seed on the boys’ side; the No. 4 seed meets No. 10 Sebastian Korda in the semifinals. In the other semi, it will be No. 6 Patrick Kypson against No. 8 Alafia Ayeni.
Ayeni, a high school senior at Westview High in San Diego, had a tough quarterfinal, taking out No. 14 seed and future Virginia Cavalier Kyrylo Tsygura, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
“I had played him once before in a national playoff,” Ayeni said. “It was tough for me out there today. He just makes every single ball back, which is a problem for a big hitter like me.”
Ayeni, who is playing in his sixth Easter Bowl and has never gone farther than the second round, is coached by his father, Anthony Ayeni, who was born in Nigeria and threw the discus in college.
“Mentally I’ve improved a lot,” Ayeni said. “I used to be angry on the court, and I would let my emotions get the most of me. Sure, I’m bigger and taller and faster, but it’s my mental game that has improved. Today was a little unexpected, but I feel like I deserve to be here.”
In the Boys’ 16s singles final, which will begin at 9 a.m., Stefan Dostanic, the No. 13 seed from Irvine, Calif., will take on top-seeded Brandon Nakashima from San Diego. In the Girls’ 16s final, unseeded Fiona Crawley of San Antonio, Texas, will play No. 5 Emma Navarro from Charleston, S.C.
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)