2013 Easter Bowl Tennis Link - Tennis Review

2013 Easter Bowl Tennis Link

Top seed Oliver Crawford came through a daunting draw in the early rounds of the Easter Bowl 16s tournament, completing an impressive two weeks with back-to-back titles by defeating No. 11 seed Brian Cernoch 6-2, 6-1 Friday morning at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Crawford was in an opening foursome that included Andrew Fenty, who Crawford beat in the International Spring Championships finals last Saturday, Keenan Mayo, who had upset the top seed in Carson, and Christian Alshon, who went on to win the Easter Bowl consolation tournament. Crawford defeated both Mayo and Alshon is straight sets, as he did his next four opponents, but said the difficulty of his opening matches helped him.

"It was a bit tough, but I played well from the beginning, " said Crawford, who won 12 singles matches in the past 12 days, losing only one set, to Fenty, in the Carson final. "It was for sure good to have a few good matches at the beginning of the tournament."

With Jose Higueras, USTA Director of Coaching, and Jay Berger, USTA Head of Men's Tennis, looking on, Crawford dominated Cernoch, although Crawford was broken once, after taking a 3-1 lead in the first set, when the outcome was still in doubt. But Crawford broke right back, saved two break points in a five-deuce game to go up 5-2, and Cernoch could manage only one game after that.

"I didn't play my best, but he played an unbelievable match, " said Cernoch, a 15-year-old left-hander, who trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland. "He dictates with his forehand very well and makes you play very far back from the baseline. He is more aggressive."

Crawford said his approach to the Easter Bowl final differed from his final in Carson.

"I played a bit more confidently today, I feel, " said Crawford, who works with Anthony Stewart at the Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg, SC and Furman men's coach Kelly Jones. "I was a bit nervous in the final before, just because I had never played in one of those, so I was a bit more confident and I kept the confidence from last week to this week."

With two major 16s titles now secured, Crawford, who turns 16 later this month, will move into the 18s in USTA tournaments and begin playing ITF Junior tournaments, starting with the Florida Grade 4s coming up.

While Crawford was able to secure the Carson-Easter Bowl double, Natasha Subhash fell one match short of becoming the first girl to accomplish that, falling to No. 2 seed Samantha Martinelli 7-5, 6-3.

Martinelli was down 4-2 in the opening set, but she got the break back and took the set with another break of the Subhash serve in a long, tough game.

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