Palm Springs, Calif.
April 5-13, 2014
Boys/Girls 18s | Boys/Girls 12s 14 & 16s
USTA Southwest juniors posted some terrific results during Easter Bowl week in Palm Springs, California, bringing back both a first and a second place finish, as well as a few other strong late-round performances at the elite national tournament.
Carmen Corley (Sandia Park, NM) and Amber Hochstatter (Anthem, Ariz.) led the way for the younger ages, picking up the Girls' 12s doubles title. Along the way, the unseeded duo swept through three-seeded pairs, including the eight, three and two seeds.
In the finals, the Southwest duo (pictured, right) toppled Isabella Harvison (Cardiff, Calif.) and Jillian Taggert (Fair Oaks, Calif.) 8-6.
It was both Corley and Hochstatter's first championship at one of the elite four national age group events (Easter Bowl, Clay, Hard, Winter Nationals).
Scottsdale's Nathan Ponwith had the strongest run of any singles player, reaching the finals of the Boys' 18s, pushing top-seeded Francis Tiafoe (College Park, Md.) through a tough three sets 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 before falling.
Ponwith, who will turn 16 next week (and could have been playing the 16s event), played up in the 18s and played extremely well.
After a tough opening round with Jake Douglas, Ponwith rolled through the next four players in the draw without the loss of a set to reach his spot opposite Tiafoe (the world No. 2 junior) in the final.
Ponwith (pictured - right) disposed of 12-seed Tommy Paul (Coconut Creek, Fla.) in the Round of 32 and the 3-seed Logan Smith (Carlsbad, Calif.) in the quarterfinals.
The Scottsdale native then took out Aron Hiltzik (Wilmette, Ill.) in the semis in straights, 7-6, 6-4.
The tournament also gave Ponwith valuable rankings points on his International Tennis Federation world ranking, as the 18s event not only gives points for his USTA rankings, but also garners ITF points.
Ponwith's final round showing moved him up 128 spots to No. 107 in the ITF world junior rankings, pretty stout since he's been out for a good stretch of this year with a wrist injury.
Ponwith also won the Sportsmanship Award for his consistent and fair play all week.
Other Southwest competitors who fared well at the Easter Bowl included:
- Alexandra Letzt (Scottsdale, Ariz.) reached Girls' 18s doubles semifinals with partner Erin Larner (Portland, Ore.)
- Maddie Pothoff (Tucson, Ariz.) reached Girls' 16s singles and doubles Round of 16
- Taylor Bridges (Mesa, Ariz.) reached Girls' 16s doubles Round of 16
- Adam Oscislawski (Scottsdale, Ariz.) reached Boys' 14s Round of 16
- Niroop Vallebhaneni (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) reached Round of 16 in Boys' 12s and semifinals in doubles
- Gianna Pielet (El Paso, Texas) reached Round of 16 in Girls' 12s