Friendly encounters highlight Day 2 at Spring Championships

April 1, 2015 05:20 AM

By Steve Pratt, special to

CARSON, Calif. – Kayla Day felt right at home Tuesday on the USTA Training Center – West courts she trains on year-round, beating training partner and good friend Ashley Lahey, as the girls' 18s first round was completed on Day 2 of the ITF Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships.

“I love this tournament, and it’s so well run; plus, it’s where I train,” said the 15-year-old Day (pictured above), the No. 9 seed, who grew up a two-hour drive from Carson in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Day advanced to the second round with the 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over qualifier Lahey and next faces Chiara Lommer in the second round. At Carson, Day trains with USTA National coaches Adam Peterson, Leo Azevedo and Chris Tontz, but her personal hitting coach Aaron Webster also watched her match on Tuesday.

Day is currently ranked No. 63 in the ITF World Junior Rankings and is excited about the possibility of qualifying for the main draw at the summer Grand Slam tournaments, including the French Open and Wimbledon.

“I’ve never been,” she said. “If I do get it in, it would be the most amazing thing ever.”

Top-seeded Usue Arconada, who trains at the Junior Champions Tennis Center in College Park, Md., is up two spots this week in the new ITF junior rankings to No. 6 in the world. She opened up first-round play with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Riley McQuaid of Tustin, Calif.

Although he was taken out in the first round by his training partner and fellow Indiana resident Jonathan Small, the boys' 18s No. 7 seed Sameer Kumar has always had a special affinity for playing in Southern California. But it was his official visit to Stanford University last year that sold him on the Northern California school and helped make his decision to play the next four years for the Cardinal an easy one.

Small, a qualifier from Zionsville, Ind., sat against a wall with good friend Kumar, from Carmel, Ind., and discussed everything else except the match after Small’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, victory. The two train with the same coach, Brian Smith.

Kumar will join Southern California’s Michael Genender and a strong recruiting class for Stanford’s first-year coach, former ATP World Tour pro and ex-Stanford All-American Paul Goldstein, next fall.

Later in the day, Kumar and doubles partner Vincent Lin escaped with a third-set super-tiebreak win. Kumar beat Lin in the second round last year in Carson before falling to top-seeded Francis Tiafoe in three sets. In 2013, Kumar won the 16s championship at the ASICS Easter Bowl.

On the court on Tuesday for the second straight day was former NBA All-Star Dan Majerle’s daughter McKenzie, who fell in her first-round doubles match. On Monday, the Paradise Valley, Ariz., player lost to Lommer of Skokie, Ill., in her singles match, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Two rounds have been completed after two days in the boys’ and girls’ 16s. On Tuesday, the top-seed in the boys’ 16s was eliminated, as Keenan Mayo upset No. 1 Jack Pulliman, 6-2, 6-1.

To follow all the action this week at Carson, log on to for Ken Thomas’ commentary and interviews. To follow the live scores online, go to For a complete run down of news, photos, scores and updated draws, log onto the website at