Hey Tennis Friends!
This is my third, and final, report from the 2012 Easter Bowl. This week’s report features the Sunday final, which began at 8:30am to make sure that everything would be completed by the afternoon.
It was a privilege to be the emcee for the awards presentations. Unfortunately, because I was tending to my duties, I was unable to provide video of myself “performing”. That being said, I was able to pack extra highlights and interviews into another longer-than-average report:
Here are the scores for the matches that I featured:
GIRL’S 16 SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Brooke Broda d. Meredith Xepoleas 6-3, 6-1
It was Broda’s first trip to the Easter Bowl and one that almost didn’t happen. She was on the mend from a stress fracture in her left foot that kept her in an air cast for a month and a half. “I just decided at the last minute to come and wing it,” said Broda, who trains out of the Queen City Racquet Club in Cincinnati.
The match was officially suspended after a young male ball runner fainted. That left the 16-year-old Broda sitting in a chair in the corner of the court with nothing but to think about her one set and 4-1 lead. “I was a little nervous and was thinking I might not be as warmed up but luckily they gave us another warm-up,” she said, adding she spoke to her dad for advice during the stoppage in play while paramedics helped the young boy off the court.
Xepoleas, just 14 years old, just recently stopped training at the USTA Training Center – West and now trains with private coach Eliot Teltscher. “I was bummed about the 8:30 match time,” Xepoleas said. “I was hoping to play later in the day.”
She added that the stoppage in play didn’t affect her. “To be honest I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to win the match after the delay and even before,” she said. “Because I was down and I wasn’t feeling it and I didn’t feel like five minutes was really going to do much to help me.”
BOY’S 18 SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Mackenzie McDonald d. Alexios Halebian 6-4, 6-1
Just three years ago, on his final days as a 13-year-old, McDonald won the gold ball in the USTA Springs Nationals in the 14s at the Easter Bowl. “This is so big, one of the most prestigious events we have in the nation,” said McDonald, aware that so few repeat in this tournament in multiple divisions. “It shows all my hard work has paid off. When you’ve been away from the game as long as I have, you begin to appreciate things more.”
One year ago, McDonald was at the beginning stages of an eight-month layoff from tennis after suffering from Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a condition of having an abnormally low platelet count of unknown cause. He missed last year’s Easter Bowl and said he contemplated just driving down from his Bay Area home in Piedmont, Calif., just to watch the event and hang with his friends.
Halebian, the No. 4 seeded player from Glendale, Calif., started the SoCal-NorCal battle fast going up 4-1 and breaking McDonald’s serve twice, even having game points for 5-1.
“I started well and was hoping to not drop the first set,” Halebian said. “I was looking good and was hoping to make it 5-1 and he started playing better. That was my best chance to win the match; to win the first set. He started hitting the ball bigger.”
Halebian was playing in his first Easter Bowl final. “I’ve been just about every stage except the final,” he said. Now, like McDonald, it’s off to the French Open and Wimbledon junior events.
BOY’S 16 SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Joseph DiGiulio d. Aron Hiltzik 7-5, 6-1
Di Giulio also won the doubles gold ball, pairing with Logan Smith to beat Jake Devine and Cameron Klinger 6-3, 6-3.
Like Halebian, Hiltzik started fast and also took a 4-1 with a break of serve. But DiGiulio picked up his game and served himself out of some tough situations while Hiltzik’s serve seemed to let him down as the match progressed.
“I haven’t really won anything big in the last couple of years so this is great,” said DiGiulio, who was one of four players featured in the junior tennis documentary “50,000 Balls” several years ago.
Hiltzik was all smiles in defeat. “It was a great tournament,” he said. “Every single player I played was really tough. I was just happy to get to where I got although I would have liked to have gotten the win. I was down 6-1, 3-1 in one of my matches and came back to win. So I’m just so happy to get to the final.”
It was the first ball of any kind for Hiltzik. “(Joseph) played great today. He got the best of me today. He was very consistent and he didn’t give me any free points. His serve was on and mine not so much.”
BOY’S 18 DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP
Alexios Halebian / Mitchell Krueger
d. Jordan Daigle / Austin Siegel 6-2, 6-7(3), [10-7]
Daigle/Siegel were the #2 seeds, Halebian/Krueger were the #1 seeds.
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Additional information in this report was provided by the Easter Bowl PR Press Aide, Steve Pratt.
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– Marcus Tennis