Brandon Holt Keeps Cool In ASICS Easter Bowl Heat

After three hours and 39 minutes playing in the blazing Indian Wells heat, Brandon Holt watched the final ball sail long and couldn’t even muster enough energy to raise his arms in triumph.

But it’s not like Holt to show much expression on the court as the 17-year-old from Rolling Hills, Calif., has been recognized on multiple occasions for his sportsmanship and calm demeanor on the court.

Brandon Holt

Brandon Holt

“When the match is over, it’s over, and I didn’t want to rub it in his face,” said Holt, after his comeback, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), victory over qualifier Sam Turchetta on Tuesday in the first round of the ITF boys’ singles division in the 49th Annual ASICS Easter Bowl taking place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “I’m just glad I played at 8 o’clock and not right now (noon) because I would have died.”

The No. 8-seeded Holt, who is the son of tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, said he’s in good shape and would use the rest of the day to recover from his long match. He said he was fortunate that his first-round doubles match wasn’t scheduled until Wednesday.

Last month, Holt traveled with a group of seven other top USTA players and coaches to Brazil to compete in ITF tournaments and suffered a full body cramp in one of his matches. “So I was curious how I would do out here,” he said.

Since returning to Southern California, Holt said he has yet to find his game transitioning from the clay to the hard courts. “I never really felt comfortable today,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on. Something’s not clicking. Maybe it’s coming off the clay. I don’t know what it is.”

Holt served for the match twice, leading 5-3 in the third and again at 6-5. Holt said he sensed Turchetta getting tired during a long deuce game at 5-all. But the Pound Ridge, N.Y., resident Turchetta wouldn’t quit. “Serving didn’t make a huge difference because there was a ton of breaks in the match,” Holt said. “I mean, I know I should hold my serve. But I knew it wasn’t in a dire circumstance that I lost my serve.”

A day after the ITF boys’ division lost its top-seeded player, the top girls’ ITF seeded singles player, Maria Mateas, had no trouble in her first-round match against Carson Branstine, 6-1, 6-2. “I knew it was important not to stay out there long because of the heat,” said Mateas, of Braintree, Mass., who also trains in Florida with the USTA and her USTA coach Henner Nehles. “(The heat) actually felt worse just sitting around in it. I think I was just really focused for it to bother me during my match.”

Also top-seeded in the doubles with partner Alexandra Sanford, the pair had a tough match against Hanna Chang and Emma Higuchi, but survived the first round, 6-2, 2-6, 10-6.

Moving on easily was defending champion Claire Liu, the No. 3 seed from Thousand Oaks, Calif., who beat Darya Possokhova, 6-0, 6-1.

In boys’ 16s action the No. 1 (Carson Haskins), No. 2 (Christian Alshon), No. 3 (Kevin Zhu), No. 4 (Robert Maciag), No. 5 (Trey Hilderbrand) and No. 6 (Jaycer Lyeons) seeds all moved on to the Round of 16.

In the girls’ 16, unseeded Gabriella Price of Montebello, N.Y., who won the girls’ 12s last year, upset the No. 4-seeded Sydney Jones of Carrollton, Texas, 6-4, 6-3.

Both boys’ and girls’ singles final in the 14s and 12s will be contested on Wednesday. In the boys’ 14s, No. 5-seed Andrew Dale (Leesburg, Va.) will take on No. 12 Alex Lee (Oak Brook, Ill.) In the girls’ 14s singles final No. 13 Skyler Grishuk (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) will face No. 12 Ava Hrastar (Duluth, Ga.)

In the boys’ 12s singles final it will be No. 11 seeded Max Fardanesh (Albany, Calif) against the top-seeded Samuel Landau (Los Angeles). In the girls’ 12s singles final it will be No. 1-seeded Nikki Yanez (Sarasota, Fla.) to face No. 2 Katrina Scott (Woodland Hills, Calif.)

To keep up with all the ASICS Easter Bowl news, visit the website at www.easterbowl.com and check out the tournament on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EasterBowl) and Twitter (@easterbowl). For more information on ASICS, check out: www.ASICSAmerica.com and follow on Twitter @ASICSAmerica.

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