Emma Higuchi Upsets Defending 18s Singles Champion Claire Liu In Second Round at ASICS Easter Bowl

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Emma Higuchi Tennis News

Photo by Dave Kenas

On an exciting day of ASICS Easter Bowl action which saw the boys’ and the girls’ 14s and 12s singles titles contested, the defending champion in the girls’ ITF singles division was eliminated by her longtime Southern California rival.

Stanford-bound Emma Higuchi of Los Angeles toppled 15-year-old 2015 ASICS Easter Bowl champion Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, for the top storyline on the day in the marquee 18-and-under division of the event. Just last week Higuchi lost to her friend and former doubles partner Liu in three sets in the Round of 16 at the Carson USTA International Spring Championships. “Each time (the level of play) keeps getting better and better,” Higuchi said.

Meanwhile, in the girls’ 14s singles title match, No. 12-seeded Ava Hrastar of Duluth, Ga. played consistent tennis on her way to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Skyler Grishuk, the No. 13-seed from Aliso Viejo, who was watched intently by her mother, two-time (1994 and 1998) Olympic gold medal winning ice dancer champion Oksana Grishuk.

Grishuk said after the match that her mother has been her inspiration and talks to her about what it takes to be a champion. “It’s kind of the same because you have to work to achieve your goals,” said Grishuk, who trains with Advantage Tennis Academy in Irvine. “Actually, figure skating is tougher than tennis because they only give you like three minutes. And if you fail, you’re out.”

She added, “I think I could have played better. I made too many unforced errors. But when you lose, you learn more.”

Hrastar trains with renowned Georgia-based tennis coaches Brian De Villiers and Grant Stafford at Pro Tennis International at Epoch Center in Duluth, Ga. Hrastar said neither coach is traveling with her and that De Villiers is recovering from recent hip replacement surgery.

“I stepped into the court and put balls away, which I wasn’t doing in past matches,” said Hrastar, who turned 14 in February. “I was nervous and I got more comfortable as I figured out some things and I figured out her game style. She likes the forehand angles so I was trying to hit flatter so she couldn’t generate spin.”

Hrastar has hit with some top college players, including current WTA pro and former University of North Carolina star Lauren Herring, who also won the girls’ 14s at the ASICS Easter Bowl way back in 2007.

In the boys’ 14 singles final, No. 12-seed Alex Lee of Oak Brook, Ill., defeated No. 5-seeded Andrew Dale of Leesburg, Va., 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The lefty Dale fell hard chasing a ball early in the third set and injured his left hand. Lee said he didn’t notice a change in Dale’s play, but mentally he took the advantage. Lee trains in Florida with the same coach as last year’s boys’ 14s Easter Bowl champ Adam Neff, Lance Luciani, who was on hand for the second straight year congratulating his winning 14s champion.

The boys’ 12s singles final pitted two hungry players from California as NorCal beat SoCal with No. 11-seeded Max Fardanesh of Albany beating top-seeded Samuel Landau of Los Angeles, 6-4, 6-2.

Fardanesh is 12-years-old and was taught the game by his father, and currently trains with Skip Redondo. He said he faced Landau once before at a tournament at Stanford University where he lost in straight sets.

“I was aggressive and my coach likes it when I play serve and volley,” Fardanesh said. “I really like Roger Federer and switched to a one-handed background about a year ago.”

Fardanesh said he loved played on the stadium court which featured his match on the live stream, and had a radar gun clocking every one of his serves. “The fastest one I saw was 96 (mph),” he said.

In a battle between the top two seeded players in the girls’ 12s singles final, No. 2 Katrina Scott of Woodland Hills, Calif., beat top-seeded Nikki Yanez of Sarasota, Fla., 6-3, 7-6 (5).

“It was so professional and you knew you were going to have a fair game,” said Scott of playing with a chair umpire watching all the calls that were made. “It was really fun and great to win this year after losing in the first round last year. I feel amazing right now.”

Scott is just 11 years old and attends A.C. Stelle Middle School in Calabasas. She had a chance four times to close out the match before the second-set tiebreaker only to have Yanez gamely save all four match points and extend the match.

To keep up with all the ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the website at www.easterbowl.com and check out the tournament on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EasterBowl) and Twitter (@easterbowl). For more information on ASICS, check out: www.ASICSAmerica.com and follow on Twitter @ASICSAmerica.

Boys’ ITF Singles (Round of 32)
Andres ANDRADE (ECU) [14] def. Jacob BRUMM (USA) 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4
Nathan PONWITH (USA) [3] def. Gui GOMES (USA) 6-7(5) 6-0 6-2
Sam RIFFICE (USA) [5] def. Ben GOLDBERG (USA) 7-5 6-0
Vasil KIRKOV (USA) [6] def. Nathan PERRONE (USA) 6-1 7-5
Liam CARUANA (ITA) [10] def. Govind NANDA (USA) 6-3 6-2
Zeke CLARK (USA) [7] def. Timothy SAH (USA) 5-7 6-4 6-4
Keegan SMITH (USA) def. Sebastian MERMERSKY (BUL) 6-1 6-0
Gianni ROSS (USA) def. Alexander KEYSER (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-1
John MCNALLY (USA) [4] def. Bryce PEREIRA (USA) 6-1 6-4
J.J. WOLF (USA) [2] def. Paul BARRETTO (USA) 6-0 6-1
Jake VAN EMBURGH (USA) def. Brian CERNOCH (USA) 6-4 7-6(5)
Sangeet SRIDHAR (USA) def. Olukayode AYENI (USA) [167]-6(2) 4-6 6-2
Alexandre ROTSAERT (USA) [11] def. Noah SCHACHTER (USA) 5-7 6-0 6-3
Trent BRYDE (USA) [13] def. Alexander BROWN (USA) 7-5 6-0
Kyrylo TSYGURA (USA) def. Brandon HOLT (USA) [8] 3-6 6-4 6-3
Keenan MAYO (USA) def. Danny THOMAS (USA) 6-4 7-6(4)

Boys’ ITF Doubles (Round of 16)
Aleksandar KOVACEVIC (USA) / Sebastian MERMERSKY def. Jason KERST (USA) / Alexander KEYSER (USA), walkover
Oliver CRAWFORD (USA) [3] / Brandon HOLT (USA) def. Jason LEGALL (USA) / Kyrylo TSYGURA (USA) 6-3, 6-3,
Austen HUANG (USA) / Jason LUI (USA) def. Ulises BLANCH (USA) [2] / Liam CARUANA (ITA), walkover
Caleb CHAKRAVARTHI (USA) / Gui GOMES (USA) def. Ben GOLDBERG (USA) / Connor RAPP (USA) 7-6(7) 6-3, 7-6(7)
Gianni ROSS (USA) / Alexandre ROTSAERT (USA) [8] def. Zummy BAUER (USA) / Morgan DILL (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Nathan PONWITH (USA) / Jake VAN EMBURGH (USA) [6] def. Alex KUPERSTEIN (USA) / Ryan SEGGERMAN (USA) 7-5, 7-6 (5)
Dominic BARRETTO (USA) / Paul BARRETTO (USA) def. Cotter WILSON (USA) / Chase WOOD (USA) 4-6 6-3 [10-8]
Brandon LAM (USA) / Cody LIN (USA) def. Alec ANGRADI (USA) / Nikolai PARODI (USA) 6-2 7-5

Girls’ ITF Singles (Round of 32)
Maria MATEAS (USA) [1] def. Nicole CONARD (USA) 6-2 6-3
Alexandra SANFORD (USA) [8] def. Hannah ZHAO (USA) 6-2 6-1
Abigail DESIATNIKOV (USA) [14] def. Alexis MILUNOVICH (USA) 6-1 6-1
Ann LI (USA) def. Morgan COPPOC (USA) [5] 6-4 6-1
Ellie DOUGLAS (USA) [13] def. Raquel PEDRAZA (USA) 6-0 3-6 6-4
Ena SHIBAHARA (USA) def. Stephanie SCHRAGE (USA) 7-5 6-1
Nicole MOSSMER (USA) def. Sara CHOY (USA) 7-5 6-3
Hanna CHANG (USA) def. Meible CHI (USA) 6-4 6-3
Caty MCNALLY (USA) [9] def. Paris CORLEY (USA) 6-3 Ret.
Emma HIGUCHI (USA) def. Claire LIU (USA) [3] 2-6 6-3 6-3
Rachel LIM (USA) def. Amanda MEYER (USA) 6-4 7-6(0)
Sabina DADACIU (USA) def. Nadia GIZDOVA (USA) 6-3 6-2
Sofia SEWING (USA) def. Kariann PIERRE-LOUIS (USA) 6-4 7-5
Michaela GORDON (USA) [4] def. Salma EWING (USA) 6-4 7-6(4)
Marlee ZEIN (USA) def. Janice SHIN (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-2
Elysia BOLTON (USA) def. Kalani SOLI (USA) 7-6(7) 6-0

Girls’ ITF Doubles (Round of 16)
Michaela GORDON (USA) / Ena SHIBAHARA (USA) def. Safiya CARRINGTON (USA) / Ashley LAHEY (USA) 6-1 5-7 [10-4]
Emma DECOSTE (USA) / Clarissa HAND (USA) def. Helen Abigail ALTICK (USA) [3] / Jade LEWIS (NZL) 6-0 6-2
Hurricane Tyra BLACK (USA) [2] / Caty MCNALLY (USA) def. Nicole ANDERSON (USA) / Melissa Plambeck (USA) 6-1 6-1
Carson BRANSTINE (USA) / Taylor JOHNSON (USA) [5] def. Paris CORLEY (USA) / Amanda MEYER (USA) walkover
Devon JACK (USA) / Kalani SOLI (USA) def. Ellie DOUGLAS (USA) / Nadia GIZDOVA (USA) 1-6, 7-6(0) [10-8]
Elysia BOLTON (USA) / Chiara LOMMER (USA) def. Nicole MOSSMER (USA) / Christie WAN (USA 7-6(8) 6-1
Ann LI (USA) / Natasha SUBHASH (USA) [7] def. Cameron CORSE (USA) / Zoe Rose SPENCER 6-2 6-7(4) [10-6]
Alexis MILUNOVICH (USA) / Anna Sinclair ROGERS (USA) def. Anna BRYLIN (USA) / Hannah ZHAO (USA) 7-5 6-2

Boys’ 16 Singles (Round of 16)
Christian Alshon (2) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Bradley Frye (14) (Overland Park, KS) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
Lukas Greif (11) (Evansville, IN) def. Brandon Nakashima (8) (San Diego, CA) 6-1, 6-1
Robert Maciag (4) (Sterling, VA) def. Matthew Rodriguez (Highland Beach, FL) 3-0 Ret (ill)
Trey Hilderbrand (5) (San Antonio, TX) def. Benjamin Gollin (Solana Beach, CA) 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-0
Adam Neff (Bradenton, FL) def. Ajai Shekhera (9) (Campbell, CA) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Kevin Zhu (3) (Pearland, TX) def. Jenson Brooksby (15) (Carmichael, CA) 7-5, 7-5
Jaycer Lyeons (6) (San Antonio, TX) def. Axel Nefve (Hinsdale, IL) 6-4, 6-2
Carson Haskins (1) (Ballwin, MO) def. Tyler Zink (Bradenton, FL) 6-3, 6-1

Boys’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinal Round)
Kevin Zhu (3) (Pearland, TX) def. Adam Neff (Bradenton, FL) 6-4, 7-5
Carson Haskins (1) (Ballwin, MO) def. Jaycer Lyeons (6) (San Antonio, TX) 6-4, 6-3
Lukas Greif (11) (Evansville, IN) def. Christian Alshon (2) (Boca Raton, FL) 7-5, 6-0
Trey Hilderbrand (5) (San Antonio, TX) def. Robert Maciag (4) (Sterling, VA) 6-4, 6-4

Girls’ 16 Singles (Round of 16)
Anika Yarlagadda (16) (West Bloomfield, MI) def. Meg Kowalski (5) (La Grange, IL) 6-0, 6-1
Hailey Baptiste (Takoma Park, MD) def. Amber O’Dell (2) (New Milford, NJ) 6-1, 6-2
Katie Volynets (14) (Walnut Creek, CA) def. Sedona Gallagher (1) (Henderson, NV) 6-4, 6-2
Angelica Blake (7) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Luba Vasilyuk (Frisco, TX) 6-2, 6-3
Chloe Beck (15) (Watkinsville, GA) def. Kacie Harvey (3) (Braintree, MA) 6-0, 6-2
Rachel Eason (6) (Union City, CA) def. Alexa Noel (12) (Summit, NJ) 6-1, 7-6
Abigail Forbes (8) (Raleigh, NC) def. Dasha Kourkina (11) (Brooklyn, NY) 6-1, 6-0
Andrea Cerdan (Bloomfield, NJ) def. Gabirella Price (Montebello, NY) 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Girls’ 16 Singles (Quarterfinals)
Angelica Blake (7) (Boca Raton, FL) def. Katie Volynets (14) (Walnut Creek, CA) 6-1, 6-4
Rachel Eason (6) (Union City, CA) def. Chloe Beck (15) (Watkinsville, GA) 7-5, 6-1
Abigail Forbes (8) (Raleigh, NC) def. Andrea Cerdan (Bloomfield, NJ) 6-0, 6-1
Hailey Baptiste (Takoma Park, MD) def. Anika Yarlagadda (16) (West Bloomfield, MI) 6-4, 6-3

Boys’ 14 Singles (Final Round)
Alex Lee (12) (Oak Brook, IL) def. Andrew Dale (5) (Leesburg, VA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

Girls’ 14 Singles (Final Round)
Ava Hrastar (12) (Duluth, GA) def. Skyler Grishuk (13) (Aliso Viejo, CA) 6-2, 6-1

Boys’ 12 Singles (Final Round)
Max Fardanesh (11) (Albany, CA) def. Samuel Landau (1) (Los Angeles, CA) 6-4, 6-2

Girls’ 12 Singles (Final Round)
Katrina Scott (2) (Woodland Hills, CA) def. Nikki Yanez (1) (Sarasota, FL) 6-3, 7-6(5)

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.