Liu And Riffice Open With Wins At Easter Bowl

2015 Standouts Liu, Riffice Open With Wins At 2017 Adidas Easter Bowl

The 2015 Easter Bowl was great for both Girls’ ITF singles winner Claire Liu and Boys’ ITF singles finalist Sam Riffice.

Both made victorious returns to the grounds of their past glory, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, on Monday opening play in the ITF (18s) division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter USTA Junior National Spring Championships.

The top-seeded 16-year-old Liu, who won the Wimbledon Junior doubles titles last summer and has been playing mostly ITF Pro Circuit Futures and USTA Challenger events, made quick work of Chloe Beck, 6-1, 6-1.

Riffice, the No. 4 seed who lost to Taylor Fritz in the 2015 ITF final, struggled in the first set against Robert Maciag, pulling it out 7-6 (6), then blanking him 6-0 in the second set.

Liu, who made the final of the WTA BNP Paribas pre-qualifier tournament last month at this same Indian Wells Tennis Garden site, said her mindset doesn’t change switching from the pro events to the juniors. “I don’t think it really matters,” she said. “It’s still a match and I just want to focus on what I need to work on.”

Caty McNally

Liu is currently working with USTA National coaches Chris Tonz and Erik Kortland at the USTA Training Center – West in Carson.

“I always loved this tournament because I’ve done so well here in the past,” she said. “I love Palm Springs and Indian Wells. Easter Bowl and Indian Wells (BNP Paribas) are my two favorite tournaments.”

Thousand Oaks’ Liu, who was just 14 when she won the 2015 Easter Bowl, will play doubles with Cerritos partner Kelly Chen. Liu explained why she decided at the last minute to take a wild card into the Easter Bowl. “I was going to lose my points from the ISC (in Carson) and I’m not going to play any more junior events until the French so I was going to lose some doubles points,” she said.

Last year’s Easter Bowl was also a success for 15-year-old Caty McNally of Cincinnati, who made the semifinals in the ITF singles. McNally lost to Liu and Usue Arconada in the Wimbledon doubles final at the All England Club in July. 

“It was amazing playing my first Wimbledon,” said McNally, the No. 6 seed who beat Sara Choy, 6-2, 6-1 in her first-round match on Monday. “And to get to the finals was so unexpected. I’m so happy to be back and play the Easter Bowl in Indian Wells.”

Defending Boys’ ITF singles champion Gianni Ross will open play on Tuesday on the Stadium Court 2, which is being live streamed. The No. 2 seeded Ross meets Conrad Russell in the third match on.

ADIDAS EASTER BOWL SIGHTINGS ON MONDAY: Hana Mandlikova, who won four Grand Slam singles titles during her career, watching No. 16 seed daughter Elizabeth Mandlik; Former Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez watching her son Nicholas Godsick upset the top-seeded player in the Boys’ 12s in the Round of 16. Godsick’s father Tony Godsick is Roger Federer’s agent; Former World No. 2 ATP player Petr Korda with son Sebastian playing in the Boys’ ITF. Billie Jean King, Illana Kloss and Rosie Casalswatching a player coached by Casals, No. 2 seed and world No. 14 ITF junior Taylor Johnson.

In addition to live streaming the Easter Bowl again this year, the tournament has a new and improved mobile app, which can be found in both the Apple iTunes store or at Google Play. Search “Easter Bowl” to download the app.

Check back to www.easterbowl.com to watch the live stream and for all Easter Bowl news, results and schedules.

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