Busy Monday at ASICS Easter Bowl; legendary coaches honored

April 7, 2015 07:07 AM

By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – On the day that the USTA announced Martin Blackman as its new general manager of Player Development and last year’s ASICS Easter Bowl boys’ 18s champion Frances Tiafoe signed a professional contract with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, all four boys’ and girls’ divisions played on a busy Monday at the 48th annual ASICS Easter Bowl.

The top-ranked American junior Taylor Fritz got off a plane at LAX from China and made the drive to the desert, where the event is taking place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home of the BNP Paribas Open, to walk the grounds and check out the site where he will open play Tuesday as the boys’ 18s top seed.

Fritz, ranked No. 4 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, reached the final of the first ITF Junior Masters event in Chengdu, China, last week, where he fell to top-seeded Andrey Rublev, 6-4, in the third set.

“It was a long flight, and I’m still sore from the final,” Fritz said. “I’m tired, but I’m gonna be ready for tomorrow. They treated you like a big-time player there. It was amazing what they did for all the players.”

Highlights of play on Monday in the 18s included No. 6-seeded Francesca Di Lorenzo of New Albany, Ohio, exacting revenge on Kelly Chen of Cerritos, Calif., with a come-from-behind 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory. Chen beat Di Lorenzo in three sets last week in the round of 16 at the USTA International Spring Championships.

2013 boys’ 14s champion Connor Hance wasn’t able to play in last year’s event because of an injury. In his first ASICS Easter Bowl match since he beat John McNally to win the 14s two years ago, Hance overcame a rough first set to beat Vincent Lin of Schaumburg, Ill., 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.

Hance led 5-3 in the first, but Lin came roaring back.

“I started off good, but then he played flawless tennis to win four straight games and the first set,” Hance said.

In the second set, Hance said Lin “didn’t look like the same person,” as he won only one game in the set to push the match to a third and final set.

Down 1-3 in the third, Hance said he lost focus.

“I started thinking about school and not the match,” he said, before rallying to win five straight games to take the match.

In addition to Monday's on-court action, the second annual Team USA Coaches Reception took place at the tournament. The USTA presented awards to coaching legends Jimmy Evert (accepted by son Drew Evert), Dennis Van Der Meer (not in attendance) and John Wilkerson.

Lynn Nabors-McNally, coach and mother of 2014 USTA national champions John and Caty McNally, was recognized as the 2014 Team USA Developmental Coach of the Year, and the Tucker Tennis Academy in Tulsa, Okla., was named the 2014 Team USA Developmental Program of the Year at the awards reception, part of USTA Player Development’s Team USA initiative to work collaboratively with developmental coaches and programs across America.

To keep up with all the ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the website at www.easterbowl.com, and check out the tournament on Facebook and Twitter.