NorCal Juniors Honor Roll: March 2019
As we close the first quarter of 2019, we take a look back at one of the biggest junior tournaments of the year: the Easter Bowl in Indian Wells, CA. Prior to the Easter Bowl, Team NorCal also played at the USTA Southern California ITF Grade 4 in Irvine, CA.
During a Southern California swing, Team NorCal could be found on all the courts battling for more trophies. Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara, CA, made it one step closer to capturing the title at the Easter Bowl, reaching the semifinals in the Boys’ 16 singles division, after advancing to the quarterfinals in 2018. His run was ended by Samir Banerjee of Eastern with a 7-6(9) 2-6, 6-4 score. Aryan went up a set in the playoff match, but Thomas Paulsell of Pacific Northwest, came back to take the match 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. He also made it to the semifinals in doubles, partnering with Timothy Li of Southern California. After winning three matches, the Californian team was stopped 6-0, 6-4, once again by Thomas Paulsell, who teamed up with Frank Thompson of Mid-Atlantic. Aryan and Timothy had another tough battle in their playoff match, falling 7-5, 6-2 to Jake Sweeney of Southern and Gavin Young of Northern. Congratulations on a fantastic tournament!
Natasha Rajaram of Palo Alto, CA, continues to make the news, claiming a fantastic runner-up place in the Girls’ 12 doubles division, with Thea Latak of Midwest. She and Thea had a tough final, falling 6-3, 6-1 to Daniela Borruel and Rebecca Kong of Southern California, winning four matches to get there. Natasha also received the sportsmanship award for the Girls’ 12 division. Congratulations! In the same division, Aspen Schuman of Menlo Park, CA, paired up with Bianca Molnar of Southern California to advance to the semifinals. They matched up against the eventual winners, losing 6-3, 6-2 against Daniela Borruel and Rebecca Kong. In the playoff match, the duo came closer to victory but fell to Fiona Lee and Krisha Mahendran, also from Southern California, earning a great fourth place. Another regular figure on our honor roll, Ria Bhakta continues her winning ways, coming home with a Silver Ball in the Girls’ 14 singles division! The Saratoga resident won five matches before her good friend, Tsehay Driscoll of Southern California, stopped her 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. “We are good friends so we knew it was going to be a fun match before it even started,” Ria said. In the doubles’ draw, the NorCal pair of Lauren Joyce from Lodi, CA, and Madison Weekley of Alamo, CA, showed their fighting spirit to get to the semifinals but fell to Natalie Block and Lara Smejkal of Florida 6-4, 6-4. In the playoff match, Laurenand Madison left it all out on the court but Grace Levelston of Florida and Maddy Zampardo of Midwest came out victorious 7-5, 7-6(3).
Last but not least, Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose, CA, continues her incredible beginning of the year as she wins her first Easter Bowl title in the Girls’ 16 singles division. She concluded her impressive run, which included a win over the No.1 seed, with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over DJ Bennett of Florida. It is also worth mentioning that Vivian earned the Sportsmanship award as well. Way to go! Vivian had a successful two weeks as she also took her first ITF title at the Irvine Grade 4 ITF. Just like in Indian Wells, she beat the No. 1 seed on her way to the title, and beating fellow NorCal player India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon, CA, in the finals 7-6(5); 6-4. Indiaalso had a great tournament in doubles, easily making it to the semifinals with Gianna Pielet of El Paso, TX. The pair came back from a set down to force a third set tiebreak, but Kimberly Hance of Torrance, CA, and Lauren Stein of Paradise Valley, AZ, turned things around to win 6-1, 2-6, 1-0(6).
They were joined by Ryder Jackson of Nicasio, CA, who reached the semifinals in the Boys’ 18 singles, pushing Micah Braswell, the eventual winner, to the end 2-6, 7-6(5), 5-4. Ryder also made it to the semifinals in doubles with Maxwell McKennong of Newport Beach, CA. The Cali pair was stopped by the No. 2 seeds, Leighton Allen of Austin, TX, and Jackson Ross of San Antonio, TX, 7-5, 6-4.
Congratulations to everyone on an incredible month of March and we’ll see you back here in April! Go Team NorCal!