Girls' top seed Anisimova rallies, boys’ No. 1 Blanch upset

March 31, 2016 08:46 AM

By Steve Pratt, special to

CARSON, Calif. – The top-seeded girls’ 18s player at the 12th annual USTA International Spring Championships survived a slow start to win in three sets, while the top-seeded boys’ 18s player wasn’t as fortunate, falling in a match that went the distance.

On Day 3 of the ITF Level 1 tournament being played at StubHub Center in Carson, unseeded Jessica Livianu of Brooklyn, N.Y., got off to a quick 5-1 start and took the first set off of No. 1 seed Amanda Anisimova of Hallandale Beach, Fla. But the 14-year-old Anisimova rallied to take the match, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, during second-round action.

Top-seeded boys’ 18s player Ulises Blanch of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was not as fortunate. He also lost the first set Wednesday, against unseeded Patrick Kypson of Greenville, N.C. He pulled out the second but was unable to complete the comeback, as Kypson got hot late to win the last four games and the match, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

“He’s Top 10 in the world, and he’s very established,” said Kypson, 16, of the No. 9 ITF world-ranked Blanch. “I was fortunate to get a little bit lucky to get those break points I needed in the third set.”

A finalist in the 16s two years ago, Kypson said he served well the entire match and had his serve broken only twice in his first career meeting against Blanch. Kypson noted that there are still a lot of strong unseeded players in the tournament and upsets aren’t uncommon at an ITF event like this one.

“At this level, anybody can take out anyone on any given day,” he said. “You take it day by day and hope you survive.”

Anisimova survived the fast-playing, hard-court surface, saying she is used to playing on slower clay and hard courts.

“I didn’t start out very well and was making a lot of mistakes and had to get adjusted to the fast courts,” said Anisimova, ranked No. 11 in the ITF world rankings.

She added she loves California but has been surprised how cold the temperatures have been. Asked if she was going to play next week’s ASICS Easter Bowl in the Coachella Valley, where temperatures are supposed to be warmer, she said she was not.

“I’m just going to go back home and take the week off,” she said. “I have a lot of tournaments coming up, so I’m going to go back and rest.”

Livianu couldn’t keep up her first-set level of play.

“I was up 5-1 in the first, and I was happy to close it out,” she said. “I didn’t get tight, but I might have gotten tired in the third set. I thought back to what Billie Jean King always says: 'Pressure is a privilege.' I just wasn’t able to close her out.”

Defending boys' 18s champion William Blumberg (pictured above) of Greenwich, Conn., also had a tight first set, falling to Sebastian Korda of Bradenton, Fla., before coming back to win, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. The 6-foot-2 Korda, 15, is the son of former Top 10 player Petr Korda of the Czech Republic, the last Czech player to win a Grand Slam singles title, the 1998 Australian Open.

Korda is coached by his father and also trains with the USTA in Boca Raton, Fla., with coach Leo Azevedo, who is in Carson with him this week. His father will coach him at the ASICS Easter Bowl next week. Later in the day, Korda moved into the 18s doubles quarterfinals with partner Vasil Kirkov of Tampa, Fla.

In the girls’ 16s, Eryn Cayetano of Corona, Calif., is the only remaining unseeded player to move into Thursday’s quarterfinals. She trains with the RAMP Tennis Academy out of StubHub. In the boys’ 16s, Matthew Segura of Los Angeles holds that same distinction, as the last remaining unseeded player upset No. 3 seed William Grant of Boca Raton, Fla., 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

All matches can be followed via live scoring through Tennis Ticker, the ITF’s official live scoring company.

For complete information on the tournament, click here.