Fritz pulls off amazing comeback to reach ASICS Easter Bowl quarterfinals

April 10, 2015 07:04 AM

By Steve Pratt, special to

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – It looked pretty certain on Thursday that the 48th annual ASICS Easter Bowl would lose its top-seeded player in the ITF 18s for a second consecutive day.

One day after girls' top seed Usue Arconada bowed out, boys' No. 1 Taylor Fritz faced a 4-6, 0-5 deficit against 15-year-old qualifier Patrick Kypson from Greenville, N.C. But the world junior No. 4 would not be denied and pulled off an amazing and improbable comeback to beat Kypson, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

“The first set and a half, I was just playing awful,” said Fritz, 17, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., who will play Cameron Klinger in the quarterfinals Friday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “He was playing into all my weaknesses, and he was playing me smart.”

Fritz (pictured above) never faced a match point and said after the match he could not recall ever facing such a big deficit and coming back to win. He said Kypson was effective moving him around a lot and exposing a mild ankle injury from which Fritz has been recovering.

“He was slicing a lot and mixing up his serve and not letting me get the feel, especially on the second serve,” Fritz said. “He was doing a lot of running and digging out a lot of balls. He could probably play like that all day, but I felt at some point his body would stop him from playing at that level, just because he’s younger.”

Fritz broke Kypson’s serve for 5-1 and again at 5-3 and rallied off seven straight games to take the second set for the amazing turnaround.  

Fritz is still recovering from a long 15-hour flight from China to Los Angeles that he took on Monday after finishing runner-up at the ITF Junior Masters.

“I came here from China, so I don’t have extremely high expectations,” he said. “Last night it hit me. At 9 o'clock, I couldn’t stay awake. I woke up in the middle of the night and was extremely tired this morning.

“I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. At 6-4, 5-0, I haven’t come back like that before. It kept me in it. It’s not too tough to keep it going for one game. If you win, you keep going, and if you don’t, that’s it. It’s just one game.”

Also on Thursday, girls’ 18s wild card Caty McNally, who upset Arconada Wednesday, was taken out by unseeded Helen Altick of Monroe, La., 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-1.

“Yeah, I was aware of her big win,” said 16-year-old Altick, who has played the ASICS Easter Bowl since she was 13. “Not many people have heard of me, but I’m looking forward to finishing out a great week here.”

No. 12-seeded Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., earned a 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 7 Ingrid Neel of Bradenton, Fla., to advance to the quarterfinals.

“I had lost to Ingrid before at a grass-courts ITF event in three sets,” Liu said. “There are a lot of good players still left in the draw. If you make it to the quarters here, you know you’ve got to be good.”

On Friday, the 16s finals will be contested, with top seed Oliver Crawford facing off against No. 11 Brian Cernoch of North Bethesda, Md., for the boys' title, and Natasha Subhash of Fairfax, Va., battling Samantha Martinelli, the No. 2 seed from Denver, for the girls' championship.

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