Indian Wells Tennis Garden
March 25 - April 1, 2023
Photo by Paul Ballard/Zoo Tennis
In a battle of two 2021 FILA Easter Bowl champions, 2021 Girls’ 14s singles champion and unseeded Iva Jovic won her 10th consecutive FILA Easter Bowl match on Friday advancing to the semifinals of the Girls’ 18s ITF division with a 6-4, 6-4 win over last year’s Girls’ 16s winner and fellow unseeded player Thea Rabman of Port Washington, N.Y.
Just 14-years-old, the eighth-grader Jovic will face No. 4-seeded FILA athlete Alexis Blokhina in the semifinals. All four boys’ and girls’ ITF semifinals will take place Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“I just love this tournament and it’s really special to me,” said Jovic, who is from Torrance, Calif., and trains at the Jack Kramer Club with Peter Smith and Rylan Rizza, who was there coaching Jovic on Friday.
It’s most certain the high school junior Rabman will be rooting for the North Carolina Tar Heels later Saturday night against archrival Duke in the March Madness NCAA college basketball Final Four as she is headed to Chapel Hill on a tennis scholarship in the fall of 2023.
Jovic sits in the top half of the draw and benefitted from Monday’s withdrawl in singles of top-seeded and defending ITF Easter Bowl champion Liv Hovde. Jovic, who had to come back down 0-3 and two breaks in the third set to win her quarterfinal match 7-5, described Rabman as a “crafty” player who mixed up her shots well.
Blokhina defeated Isabella Chhiv 6-4, 7-5 and No. 3 Reese Brantmeier downed Girls’ 12s FILA Easter Bowl champion Shannon Lam, 6-4, 6-0. In the bottom half of the draw, No. 2 Qavia Lopez will face No. 3 Reese Brantmeier in the other Girls’ ITF semifinal on Saturday.
In an All-Southern California Boys’ ITF quarterfinal matchup, No. 7-seeded Alex Michelsen of Aliso Viejo, beat his best friend and Irvine Tier 1 Performance training partner Learner Tien, 6-4. 7-5. The loss ended the hopes of a Junior Sunshine Doubles as Tier was the winner of last week’s ITF Grade J1 in San Diego.
In order to make the Sunday ITF final, Michelsen will have to get through another tough fellow Southern Californian in Fullerton’s unseeded Kyle Kang. In the other semifinal it will be the streaking unseeded Jelani Sarr of Georgia against No. 2 Nishesh Basavareddy of Carmel, Ind.
Michelsen will also go for a FILA Easter Bowl double as he and partner Sebastian Gorzy advanced to Saturday’s doubles final where the No. 3 team will take on No. 2-seeded Aidan Kim and Mchael Zheng not before 12 noon.
Both Boys’ and Girls’ 16s USTA National finals will be contested on Saturday as William Mannning of Raleigh, N.C., will face Parahar Bharadwaj of Irvine, Calif., for a coveted USTA National Gold Ball at 11 a.m. in the 16s singles final.
Bharadwaj continued his magical FILA Easter Bowl run advancing to the final just one day after upsetting the top-seeded 16s player Andrew Ena, who was forced to retire with Bharadwaj leading, 6-2, 1-1, because of an injury. On Friday, Bharadwaj took out the No. 3 seed Cyrus Mahjoob of Rockville, Md., 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, in a match lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes. Manning eliminated No. 9 Zhengqing Ji of San Diego, 6-4, 6-4.
In the Girls’ 16s singles, No. 5 Valerie Glozman from Bellevue, Wash., beat unseeded Claire Zhang of San Diego, 6-2, 6-4 and useeded Sydney Jarar from Wenham, Mass., took out No. 9 Aspen Schuman from Redwood City, Calif., 6-1, 6-2. The Girls’ 16s final will also stream live on here at 11 a.m.