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Martinelli captures Easter Bowl

April 11, 2015 12:23 PM

By Steve Pratt, special to and Colette Lewis,

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – It was Sweet 16 day at the 48th annual ASICS Easter Bowl as both boys’ and girls’ 16s champions were crowned on the final day of play in the USTA Spring Nationals lower divisions. 

In the girls' 16s championship match, 16-year-old Samantha Martinelli, the No. 2 seed from Denver, topped unseeded Natasha Subhash of Fairfax, Va., 7-5, 6-3 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Martinelli also played in a final last Sunday, but not in the Carson ITF, instead choosing to play in a the Level 4 USTA Intermountain Sectional event, which she won.

Martinelli, a 16-year-old from Denver who trains with Tim Blenkiron at the No Quit Tennis Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, said a renewed commitment to her game six months ago was responsible for her title. Martinelli is part of the Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, a USTA NJTL program. She is also an elite member of Team Bryan and credits Blenkiron for her success.

"The last six months I've just been training my butt off," said Martinelli, who also won the doubles title on Thursday, with Delaney Nothaft. "Four hours a day, pretty much nothing else but playing, and it's finally paying off, all the hard work. It feels good. I was surprised at how good I felt throughout the week, because normally, by the end, I'm limping and staggering around, but I felt pretty good for the match. I guess it was all the training.  I always wanted to win one of these, so it feels really, really good. I'm kind of shaky right now, really excited."

On Thursday, Martinelli also added an ASICS Easter Bowl 16s doubles title to her resume. Before her singles final, Martinelli picked up an advantage during warmups.

“In the warmup I noticed [Subhash] was running around her backhand and hitting a forehand so my strategy was to hit to her backhand," said Martinelli.

When Ken Thomas on Easter Bowl live stream noted in her post-match interview that that was a very smart thing to pick up on, Martinelli responded: “Oh, yeah. I always start the warm-up by hitting a ball up the middle to see which side they favor.”

Martinelli was down 4-2 in the opening set, but she got the break back and took the set with another break of the Subhash serve in a long, tough game.

Subhash, who is just 13, said Martinelli did everything better than she did in the final.

"Her ground strokes were good and she could hit them anywhere she wanted to," Subhash said.



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