The 54th FILA Easter Bowl, which serves as the USTA National Spring Championships, concluded this weekend in Indian Wells with junior singles and doubles competition. After a stellar performance at the Australian Open earlier this year, 17-year-old Alex Michelsen of Aliso Viejo dominated the 18s division. Michelsen became the first player since Donald Young in 2006 to capture both the ITF singles and doubles titles in the 18s division. Seeded No. 8 in the singles draw, Michelsen knocked off No. 2 seed Nishesh Basavareddy, 6-2, 6-3, in the final, halting Basavareddy’s 18-match winning streak.
“If I played like that every time, I would be very, very happy,” Michelsen said. “Nothing went wrong out there at all. I served well, the forehand was good, backhand was good, drop shots were good. It was one of those days when everything came together. I needed it because Nishesh has been playing unreal lately. By far it was the best I played all week.”
Michelsen teamed up with close friend and fellow Southern Californian Sebastian Gorzny to win the 18s doubles title, defeating the second-seeded pair of Aidan Kim and Michael Zheng in the final.
Michelsen isn’t the only SoCal players to bring home hardware this year. In the Girls’ 12s singles final, two unseeded #TeamSoCal players battled it out for the gold ball with 11-year-old Baotong Xu (Rolling Hill Estates) coming back to beat Yilin Chen of San Diego 4-6, 6-2, 10-6. It was the third straight match Xu won in a super tiebreaker.
“I’m feeling really excited right now, but I do know that all the hard work I put in got me here,” said Xu. “I wasn’t too surprised because I did do the work. All of the hard work paid off.”
After surviving two match points to beat Ford McCollum of Los Angeles, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in an All-SoCal matchup, No. 5 Nathaniel Suh (Orange) played No. 3 Evan Sharygin (Newburgh, Ind.). During the semifinal, Suh began cramping serving for match at 5-3 and was forced to take a medical timeout. He was unable to finish falling to No. 3 seeded Evan Sharygin of Newburgh, Ind., 2-6, 6-2, 6-5 ret. Despite having to retire, Suh was still able to capture the bronze ball.
Playing in his first FILA Easter Bowl, unseeded Parashar Bharadwaj of Irvine, Calif., overcame sickness to capture his first USTA National Ball of any kind as he downed William Manning of Raleigh, N.C., 6-2, 6-4, for the coveted USTA Gold Ball in the Boys’ 16s singles.
Southern California boys’ dominated the doubles competition, bringing home the top title in three of the four age groups. Rancho Palos Verdes’ Andrew Johnson and partner Tyler Lee of Tustin defeated top seeds Jordan Lee & Michael Antonius, winning straights sets in the Boys’ 12s doubles final with a 6-0, 6-4 victory.
Gray Kelley of Chatsworth and partner Noah Johnston followed Johnson & Lee in a similar fashion, with a 6-0, 6-3 win in the Boys’ 14s doubles.
Congratulations to all of the Southern California juniors who competed in this prestigious event. See the list of top finishers below.
Girls 12s Singles
Baotong Xu (Rolling Hills Estates) – Champion
Yilin Chen (San Diego) – Finalist
Julia Seversen (Trabuco Canyon) – 6th
Girls 14s Singles
Amy Lee (Beverly Hills) – 4th
Julieta Pareja (Carlsbad) – 6th
Girls 16s Singles
Claire Zhang (San Diego) – 4th
Alyssa Ahn (San Diego) – 5th
Krisha Mahedran (Oak Park) – 6th
Girls 12s Doubles
Baotong Xu (Rolling Hills Estates) / Raina Kim (Santa Monica) – 4th
Daniela Navarro (Carlsbad) / Shaya Jovanovic (Los Angeles) – 3rd
Girls 16s Doubles
Maren Urata (La Canada Flintridge) – 3rd
Kate Fakih (Pasadena) / Olivia Center (South Pasadena) – 4th
Boys 12s Singles
Andrew Johnson (Rancho Palos Verdes) – 6th
Boys 14s Singles
Nathaniel Suh (Orange) – 3rd (bronze ball)
Keaton Hance (Torrance)- 5th
Boys 16s Singles
Parashar Bharadwaj (Irvine) – Champion
Zhengqing Ji (La Jolla) – 4th
Boys 18s Singles
Alex Michelsen (Aliso Viejo) – Champion
Boys 12s Doubles
Tyler Lee (Tustin) / Andrew Johnson (Rancho Palos Verdes) – Champions
Boys 14s Doubles
Gray Kelley (Chatsworth) – Champions
Keaton Hance (Torrance) / Ford McCollum (Los Angeles) – 4th
Boys 16s Doubles
Cassius Chinlund (Los Angeles) – 4th
Boys 18s Doubles
Alex Michelsen (Aliso Viejo) – Champion
Five of the eight Sportsmanship Award winners were from Southern California.
- Boys 12s: Tyler Lee (Tustin)
- Girls 12s: Yilin Chen (San Diego)
- Boys 16s: Parashar Bharadwaj (Irvine)
- Girls 16s: Krisha Mahendran (Rancho Palos Verdes)
- Boys 18s: Learner Tien (Irvine)