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Easter Bowl: Mandlikova Enjoying View From the Stands

Hana Madlikova is one proud tennis parent.

The International Tennis Hall of Famer and four-time Grand Slam champion who ruled the top tier of women’s pro tennis in the 1980s is now a devoted watcher of the game, including her two twin 16-year-old children competing this week at the 51st Adidas Easter Bowl, the USTA National Spring Championships, being played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

On Wednesday Madlikova, originally from the Czech Republic now residing in Delray Beach, Fla., anxiously looked on as daughter Elli (short for Elizabeth) Mandlik advanced to the Round of 16 in the Girls’ ITF 18s division by beating unseeded Sedona Gallagher, 6-2, 6-1.

Elli Mandlik by Dave Kenas

Elli’s brother Mark Mandlik lost in the first round to the No. 2 seed of his first Adidas Easter Bowl earlier in the week. He is currently ranked No. 240 in the world ITF junior rankings, while Elli is No. 75.

“I’ve haven’t won two straights rounds for a while and have been struggling with that, so I’m happy,” said the No. 12-seeded Elli Mandlik, who faces No. 8 seed Gabby Price in the Round of 16 on Thursday. “Gabby and I are from the same area in Florida and practice together all the time.”

Mandlikova said junior tennis has changed a lot since she was playing the juniors in the late 1970s. “There’s just so much more depth now,” she said, adding her favorite junior memory was going to Roland Garros as an unknown, and winning the pre-qualifying, the qualifying and the junior French Open Grand Slam. “That was the start. Then I started playing pro tournaments. I was 17 or 18 years old.”

Mandlikova won the Australian Open in 1980, the French Open in 1981 and the US Open singles in 1985, and doubles in 1989. She was a Wimbledon finalist in 1981 in singles (losing to Chris Evert Lloyd) and singles (losing to Martina Navratilova) and doubles in 1986.

Both Mandliks said it’s an advantage to have such a well-versed tennis parent in their corner. “My mom said, ‘Good job,’ after my match,” Elli said. “She’s never upset, unless I don’t try, which never happens. Then she’ll get upset.”

“I don’t feel any extra pressure because she’s my mom,” Mark said. “She helps me and gives me advice.”

Added Elli: “I like it, but it’s like any other mom. If you had her as your mom, you’d think it was the same. It’s not like extra pressure or anything. She knows tennis so she can tell me stuff. Some parents don’t know what it feels like when you are under pressure on the court. They will just say get through it. But she understands how it feels and gives you good advice and telling you it’s normal and you just have to fight through it.”

Elli is part of the No. 2-seeded doubles team with partner Alexa Noel, but the pair were upset in a second-round match later in the day Wednesday.

“The Easter Bowl is my favorite tournament,” Elli said. “I just love the courts and the views are so nice.

“I wish they could put us on the Stadium Court for the final,” she said as she looked toward the massive stadium at IWTG. “That’s my goal, to be a pro and play there, and all the Grand Slams.”

Mandlik wasn’t the only player in the tournament with a well-known former tennis player as a parent. Former world top 5 doubles player and US Open champion Martin Damm watched as his son with the same name lost against No. 11 seeded Brandon Nakashima in the Boys’ ITF second round. Earlier in the tournament, Andy Roddick’s nephew played in the Boys’ 16s draw. In addition, Patrick McEnroe’s daughter played her first Easter Bowl in the Girls’ 12s with proud father looking on. Last year, former Australian Open champion Petr Korda’s son Sebastian played in the Boys’ ITF singles final.

Singles and double finals will be contested on Thursday in the Boys’ and Girls’ 12s and 14s divisions.

In the Girls’ 14 Singles, No. 7 Sophie Williams (Charleston, S.C.) upset top-seeded Renee Brantmeier (Whitewater, WI), 6-4, 6-4, and No. 2 Alexandra Torre (Brentwood, Tenn.) was also defeated by No. 3 Eleana Yu (Mason, OH), 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-1. It will be a repeat Easter Bowl final appearance for Yu, who advanced to the 12s singles final last year.

Both girls who advanced to the Girls’ 12 final to take place on Thursday did so in straight sets as No. 1 Stephanie Yakoff (Fort Lee, N.J.) downed No. 8 Elizabeth Dunac (University Park, Md.), 6-3, 6-1, and No. 2 Clervie Ngounoue (Washington, D.C.) got past No. 3 Brooklyn Olson (Kansas City, Mo.), 6-3, 6-4.

In the Girls’ 16 Singles Round of 16 winners included: India Houghton (Belvedere Tiburon, Calif.); Kimbery Hance (Torrance, Calif.); Allura Zamarripa (Saint Helena, Calif.); Hibdah Shaikh (Teaneck, N.J.); No. 8 Chidimma Okpara (Bronxville, N.Y.); No. 3 Karina Miller (Ann Arbor, Mich.); Anna Ross (MT Pleasant, S.C.); and No. 11 Anessa Lee (San Marino, Calif.)

In the Boys’ 14s final No. 1 Samir Banerjee (Basking Ridge, N.J.) will take on No. 10 Bruno Kuzuhara (Coconut Creek, Fla.). Banerjee needed three sets to take out No. 7 Jiaxi Ma (Alhambra, Calif.), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.

In the Boys’ 12s final it will be an All-USTA NorCal affair as No. 2 Rudy Quan (Roseville, Calif.) faces No. 10 Raghav Jangbahadur (Palo Alto, Calif.).

Advancing to the Boys’ 16 singles quarterfinals were: No. 1 Keshav Chopra (Marietta, Ga.); No. 11 Aryan Chaudhary (Santa Clara, Calif.); No. 4 Harsh Parikh (Tucson, Ariz.); Aditya Gupta (Irvine, Calif.); No. 8 Logan Zapp, (Fleming Island, Fla.); No. 3 Welsh Hotard (New Orleans, La.); No. 15 Alexander Bernard (Bonita Springs, Fla.); No. 2 Max McKennon (Newport Beach, Calif.).

To keep up with all the Adidas Easter Bowl news, visit the website at www.easterbowl.com and check out the tournament on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EasterBowl) and Twitter (@easterbowl).

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