Top Seeds To Face Off On Final Day of Carson ISC

Top-seeded William Blumberg left no doubt once again on Saturday that he’s a step ahead of the rest of the field at the ITF Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships being played at StubHub Center.

The 17-year-old from Greenwich, Conn., has not lost a set in five wins, including his 6-2, 6-3, semifinal win over good friend and doubles partner Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz. Blumberg has one more test ahead of him in the final on Sunday in the final of the Boys’ 18s at the 11th annual event as he faces No. 2 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, who looked equally dominating in his 6-3, 6-3 win over USC-bound Kalman Boyd.

TENNIS:

Blumberg and Ponwith are former Junior Davis Cup teammates who are rooming together and later in the day fell in the doubles final. The fact that they’ve spent so much time on the court together this week made Blumberg uneasy from the time he awoke on Saturday because of who he was facing.

“I was really nervous before the match but after the first point it kind of fades away and your opponent just becomes a guy on the other side, and it doesn’t really matter who it is,” said Blumberg, ranked No. 17 in the ITF junior world rankings. “There was just a mental part of the match that I had to get past.”

The Easter Sunday morning 9 a.m. match will for the second straight year feature the No. 1 vs. No. 2 seeded players. Last year, No. 2 Naoki Nakagawa of Japan beat top-seeded Francis Tiafoe of College Park, Md., in an exciting third-set tiebreaker.

Kecmanovic is from Belgrade, Serbia, and trains at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. He is visiting Carson for the first time and said he arrived early last Friday to get adjusted to the hardcourt as he normally trains on clay courts.

The heavy hitter boasts a blistering forehand and has hit before with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is from his hometown. “He said he wants to hit again at Wimbledon,” Kecmanovic said.

In the Girls’ 18s singles semifinals, No. 2 Sonya Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., got past No. 3 Michaela Gordon of Saratoga, Calif., 6-2, 6-3, and will next face No. 4 Fanni Stollar, who beat her IMG Academy teammate and No. 7-seed Ingrid Neel, 6-4, 6-4, in the Sunday morning final.

In the Boys’ 16s final, No. 6-seeded Oliver Crawford of Spartanburg, S.C., outlasted No. 5 Andrew Fenty of Washington, 6-0, 2 6, 6-3. “This is the biggest win for me, for sure,” said Crawford, who is coached by Furman University Coach Kelly Jones in Greenville, S.C., also working with personal coach is Anthony Stewart at the Carolina Country Club near where he resides in Spartanburg. “It was a great week here for me. Now it’s on to the Easter Bowl next week.”

In the Girls’ 16s final, Natasha Subhash, the No. 15 seed from Fairfax, Va., came back to beat No. 4 Victoria Flores of Fort Dodge, Iowa, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (0), 6-1.

“I was more in control of the third set and I found my serve,” said Subhash, 13. “It’s amazing to win this tournament as it’s the first ITF I’ve ever played.”

Flores served for the match at 6-5 in the second set, but said she shanked two balls to send it into tiebreaker, where Subhash proceeded to reel off seven straight points to take the second set. “She played really well in the tiebreaker and I wasn’t able to do anything,” Flores said.

To follow all the action this week at Carson, log onto www.radiotennis.com for Ken Thomas’ commentary and interviews. To follow the live scores online, go to www.tennis-ticker.com. For a complete run down of scores and updated draws, log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.

 Boys’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)
Miomir Kecmanovic (2) (Boca Raton, FL)  def.  Kalman Boyd (Rancho Santa Fe, CA)  6-3, 6-3
William Blumberg (1) (Greenwich, CT)  def.  Nathan Ponwith (5) (Scottsdale, AZ)  6-2, 6-3

Boys’ 18 Doubles (Final Round)
Benjamin Hannestad / Alejandro Tabilo (3) (Etobicoke, Ontario) def.  William Blumberg (Greenwich, CT) / Nathan Ponwith (1) (Scottsdale, AZ)  6-3, 2-6, 10-4

Girls’ 18 Singles (Semifinal Round)
Sofia Kenin (2) (Pembroke Pines, FL)  def.  Michaela Gordon (3) (Saratoga, CA)  6-2, 6-3
Fanni Stollar (4)  def.  Ingrid Neel (7) (Bradenton, FL)  6-4, 6-4

Girls’ 18 Doubles (Final Round)
Caroline Dolehide (Hinsdale, IL) / Ena Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)  def.  Michaela Gordon (Saratoga, CA) / Raquel Pedraza (4) (Claremont, CA)  6-7(4), 7-5, 10-3

Boys’ 16 Singles (Final Round)
Oliver Crawford (6) (Spartanburg, SC)  def.  Andrew Fenty (5) (Washington, DC)  6-0, 2 6, 6-3

Boys’ 16 Doubles (Final Round)
Brian Cernoch (North Bethesda, MD) / Oliver Crawford (1) (Spartanburg, SC)  def.  Ryan Goetz (Greenlawn, NY) / Ryan  Seggerman (Coronado, CA)  6-3, 3-6, 10-6

Girls’ 16 Singles (Final Round)
Natasha Subhash (15) (Fairfax, VA)  def. Victoria Flores (4) (Fort Dodge, IA) 6-7(5), 7-6(0), 6-1

Girls’ 16 Doubles (Final Round) Alexandra Belaya (Melbourne, FL) / Emma Decoste (1) (Stuart, FL)  def.  Jessica Anzo (Temecula, CA) / Jenna  Moustafa (8) (Los Angeles, CA)  6-3, 4-6, 10-5

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