INDIAN WELLS, Calif., – Brandon Nakashima picked a pretty good time to play some of the best tennis he’s ever played.
The top-seed in the Boys’ 16s division at the 50th Annual Adidas Easter Bowl USTA Junior Spring Nationals being played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 15-year-old Nakashima played nearly flawless tennis in a 6-1, 6-2 finals win over No. 13-seeded Stefan Dostanic of Irvine on Saturday.
It was the second gold ball in singles for Nakashima, who attends High Bluff Academy near his home in San Diego, to go along with the two he has in doubles.
“It feels amazing,” said Nakashima, who played up in the 18s last week in Carson and lost to Patrick Kypson in the third round. “It was a long week. I played probably the best I’ve played the whole tournament. Stefan is a good player and I had to play my best to beat him. All the pressure was on me being the No. 1 seed in the tournament.”
Nakashima, who has been working with famed coach Larry Stefanki for the past two years, said he will play once more in the 16s at the USTA Hardcourt Nationals at Kalamazoo in August before graduating full-time to the 18s.
“He just didn’t miss,” said Dostanic, 15, who trains with coaches Chuck Brymer and Chris Lewis at the Woodbridge Country Club in Irvine, Calif. “I played him about a year ago and it was the same result. He doesn’t show any emotion and doesn’t give you much to work with. I’m planning on playing Kalamazoo so maybe I can get my revenge there.”
It was the first USTA national ball for Dostanic, who attends Woodbridge High School and plays on the high school team.
A New York native now living in Charleston, S.C., Emma Navarro got rid of some early match nerves as the No. 5 seed downed unseeded Fiona Crawley of San Antonio, 7-6 (8), 6-0, to win the Girls’ 16s title. Crawley, who upset the No. 1 seed Briana Crowley in the first round, fought off several match points before falling in the first set.
“In the second set I loosened up a little bit and once I got the first two games I took it from there,” said Navarro, who won her first gold ball in singles and trains at LTP Tennis in Charleston with coach Peter Ayers.
Crawley’s silver ball will look nice displayed next to the bronze one she won at the USTA Spring Team Nationals last year. Crawley trains at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels and attends Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio.
“I’ve never done this well at a national tournament,” she said. “I could have never imagined I would have made it this far. I don’t know what is next for me. I was supposed to be playing in a Texas tournament this weekend.”
In the Boys’ ITF singles final, 16-year-old Sebastian Korda came back to beat 2015 finalist Sam Riffice, the No. 4 seed from Orlando, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Korda will play in his first ITF final of any kind Sunday against No. 8 seed Alafia Ayeni of San Diego. Ayeni beat No. 6 Patrick Kypson of Greenville, N.C., in the other semifinal, 6-3, 7-5.
Two of Korda’s sisters are taking part in the ANA Inspiration LPGA major this week just down the road in Rancho Mirage. The 18-year old Nelly Korda was tied for second place after Friday’s round at Mission Hills Country Club nearly 13 miles away. Jessica Korda is 24 years old and also on the LPGA Tour.
“Each day after I play I go over there for a little bit, and then home to rest,” said Korda, whose father Petr and mother Regina Rajchrtová have been going back and forth from the courts to the course.
In the Girls’ ITF singles final, top-seed and 2015 champion Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks will take on last year’s finalist Ellie Douglas of McKinney, Texas. Liu had no trouble with No. 3 Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1. Douglas could not convert on nine match points, before No. 2 Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., finally double faulted on the 10th match point and Douglas prevailing, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
Boys’ ITF 18s Singles (Semifinals)
Alafia Ayeni (8) (San Diego, CA) def. Patrick Kypson (6) (Greenville, NC), 6-3, 7-5
Sebastian Korda (10) (Bradenton, FL) def. Sam Riffice (4) (Orlando, FL), 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Boys’ ITF 18s Doubles (Final)
Oliver Crawford / Patrick Kypson (3) def. Brian Cernoch / Sam Riffice (2), 6-1, 6-4
Girls’ ITF 18s Singles (Semifinals)
Claire Liu (1) (Thousand Oaks, CA) def. Whitney Osuigwe (3) (Bradenton, FL) 6-1, 6-1
Ellie Douglas (4) (McKinney, TX) def. Taylor Johnson (2) (Redondo Beach, CA) 7-6 (3), 6-3
Girls’ ITF 18s Doubles (Final)
Whitney Osuigwe / Caty McNally (1) def. Taylor Johnson / Ann Li (2), 6-3, 7-6 (10)
Boys’ 16 Singles (Final)
Brandon Nakashima (1) (San Diego, CA) def. Stefan Dostanic (13) (Irvine, CA), 6-1, 6-2
Boys’ 16 Singles (Playoff)
Andrew Dale (4) (Leesburg, VA) def. Ryder Jackson (8) (Nicasio, CA) 6-4; 6-2
Girls’ 16 Singles (Final)
Emma Navarro (5) (Charleston, SC) def. Fiona Crawley (San Antonio, TX), 7-6 (8), 6-0
Girls’ 16 Singles (Playoff)
Sedona Gallagher (3) (Henderson, NV) def. Dasha Kourkina (2) (Brooklyn, NY) 6-0, 7-5