Swan, Fritz, Blumberg open 18s play with wins at ASICS Easter Bowl

April 8, 2015 07:11 AM

By Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Katie Swan, the No. 2 seed in the ITF girls’ 18s draw, looked impressive in her 2015 ASICS Easter Bowl debut Tuesday, notching a 6-2, 6-3 win over 13-year-old rising USTA prospect Amanda Anisomova of Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The British-born Swan (pictured above) is currently living in Wichita, Kan., where her father works. Last year, the recently turned 16-year-old surprised many by advancing to the girls’ 18s singles final at the ASICS Easter Bowl, where she lost to her good friend Catherine Bellis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

In January, Swan made it to the final of the Australian Open junior tournament, and it’s a memory she won’t soon forget.

“I couldn’t believe I made the final,” Swan said after her match on Tuesday, an Australian Open towel draped around her neck. “It was unbelievable, and getting to play in Rod Laver Arena in the final made it the best tournament I’ve ever played.”

Currently ranked No. 13 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, Swan said she is excited about the months ahead. Following the ASICS Easter Bowl, she has been invited to Northern California to train for a week with Bellis. She will then return to Kansas and get ready for the junior French Open and summer grass-court circuit, including Wimbledon. Her mother Nicki said she is planning to play doubles with American Sofia Kenin at the French and with Caroline Dolehide at Wimbledon. Swan and Kenin are the top-seeded 18s doubles team here this week.

On Tuesday, Swan played in front of a nice crowd in a match streamed live via www.easterbowl.com and watched in person by USTA Head of Women’s Tennis Ola Malmqvist and USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi.

“I heard that she’s young and that she is very good and aggressive,” said Swan of her first-round opponent Anisomova. “My ranking is higher this year, and people expect more of me, so there is pressure on me. I just have to take one match at a time.”

Just two weeks ago, Swan won her first ITF $10,000 title in Egypt and advanced to the final in doubles, where she suffered a strained abdominal muscle tear that led to her pulling out of the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif., last week. She said she’s ecstatic the injury didn’t keep her from competing at the Easter Bowl.

“[Last year] was such a good tournament for me, and I had such a great week. It was a really good experience, and it’s such a nice place. I just love it here. It makes me happy just being here, and I hope to do just as good this year as I did last year.”

The top-seeded player in the ITF boys’ 18s, Taylor Fritz, opened play on Tuesday with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Taylor Dent-coached Caleb Chakravarthi of Irvine, Calif. On Monday, Fritz flew in from China, where he reached the final of the first ITF Junior Masters tournament. On Wednesday in the second round, Fritz takes on 2013 ASICS Easter Bowl champion Connor Hance.

No. 2 seeded William Blumberg, last week’s Carson champion, had no problems handling 2013 boys’ 16s Easter Bowl finalist and USC-bound Kalman Boyd, 6-1, 6-0.

“That was a tough first-round draw,” Blumberg said. “It was a lot closer than the score indicated. It could have easily been 4 and 4, or 5 and 5.”

On Wednesday, the boys’ and girls’ 12s and 14s singles finals will be contested. In the boys’ 14s, Jaycer Calleros, the No. 10 seed from San Antonio, Texas, takes on No. 3 Adam Neff of Bradenton, Fla. In the girls’ 14 final, top-seed Alexa Noel of Summit, N.J., will face No. 14 Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla.

Noel beat No. 4 seed Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek, Calif., in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals on Tuesday. Playing in her first ASICS Easter Bowl, Noel lost to Volynets in the quarterfinals of the National Clay Court and National Hard Court championships previously but was able to record her first win over her.

“The second set, I kind of adjusted and calmed down and used my variety, and the third set was the same,” Noel said. “She held the baseline pretty well.”

On Tuesday, winners were awarded top prizes in the 12s and 14s doubles divisions. In the boys' 14s, No. 2 seeds Jaycer Calleros of San Antonio, Texas, and Govind Nanda of Redlands, Calif., defeated the No. 7-seeded team from Austin, Texas,  Leighton Allen and Nathan Arimilli, 8-1.

The girls' 14 doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Sara Choy of Palo Alto, Calif., and Jillian Taggart of Fair Oaks, Calif., who beat Naomi Cheong of Las Vegas and Sedona Gallagher of Henderson, Nev., 8-5.

In the boys' 12s, top seeds Hunter Heck of New Brighton, Minn., and Karl Lee of Los Altos, Calif., topped Jameson Corsillo of Boca Raton, Fla., and Martin Damm of Bradenton, Fla., 8-3, to take the title.

And No. 8 Nina Gulbransen of Boca Raton, Fla., and Jamilah Snells of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., knocked off No. 6 Jacque Dunyon of South Ogden, Utah, and Kenadee Semenik of Las Vegas, 8-6, to win the girls' 12s championship.

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.