The CNMI Junior Tennis Team lived up to its lofty billing early after winning more than 30 matches in the opening of the 2012 North Pacific Qualifying Tournament at the Rick Ninete Tennis Centre in Tamuning, Guam last Monday.
Sisters Thea and Theecel Minor swept their Day 1 assignments, while Christian Miller, Rafael Jones, Carol Lee, Ami Tsukagoshi, Isabel Heras, Michael Ren, and Vincent Tudela were also undefeated in the opening day.
“It was a strong show for our players. They did very well in the opening day, we won 34 matches and lost only a few. I am confident we will continue to play great games,” CNMI coach Jeff Race said in a telephone interview with Saipan Tribune.
The Minor sisters were entered in the girls U18 division with Thea in Pool A and winning over Guam's Jillianne Tapei, 6-0, 6-0, and fellow CNMI netter Melody Johnson, 6-2, 6-3. Johnson split her first two games, prevailing over Guam's Pulani Lansing, 6-1, 6-1. Theecel won her Pool B matches against teammate Alina Ishikawa, 6-2, 6-2, and Guam's Emmanuelle Haurillon, 6-0, 6-0.
In the boys U18 draw, Miller also went 2-0 in the Pool A, blanking Guam's Juancho Solivio in his first game, 6-0, 6-0, and downing Victor Tuncap in the second, 6-3, 6-3. Also sweeping his Guam foes was Jones, who defeated Erwin Soto, 6-1, 6-2, and Bryan Esau, 6-1 (retired).
5-of-7 in U15
In the U15 division, the Commonwealth bets were undefeated in the girls play with Emily Jones and Negaht Rastguiy topping Guam's Angelysa Ulloa, 6-1, 6-1, and FSM' s Margaret Finnen, 6-2, 6-3, respectively.
In the boys division, Race's wards won five opening matches and dropped only two, with one featuring an all-CNMI duel.
Moris Villanueva prevailed in his Pool A match against FSM's Jake Panuelo, 6-1, 6-0, while Seiya Eda defeated teammate Colin Ramsey in Pool B, 6-2, 6-4.
In Pool C, the CNMI had a split with Tommy Choi thwarting FSM's David Panuelo, 6-2, 6-2, and Dylan Ackerman bowing to Guam's David Okuhama, 2-6, 4-6. In Pool C, top seed Cris Cajigan shut out Guam's David John, 6-0, 6-0.
Domination in U12
The CNMI bets won one game after another in the U12 division.
In Pool A, Carol Lee was 2-0, while Mimi Sakano, and Elizaveta Atalig were also victorious in the opening day. Lee beat teammate Malika Miyawaki, 6-1, 6-2, and Grace Choi, 6-0, 6-0. Sakano edged Miyawaki, 7-5, 7-5, while Atalig sliped past Guam's Laurel Hughes, 6-3, 7-5.
In Pool B, Tsukagoshi won over FSM's Sunshein Palik, 6-3, 7-6 (6), and Palau's Dilluna Rivera, 6-0, 6-1. Heras also earned a 2-0 record in Day 1 after prevailing over Ishikawa, 6-1, 6-2, and Guam's Kanasta Abrams, 6-0, 6-2.
In the boys division, Ren and Tudela were perfect in the opening day. Ren blanked Guam's Tatsuya Cepeda, 6-0, 6-0, and topped FSM's William Joab, 6-0, 6-1, in Pool A. In Pool B, Tudela survived Palau's Samuel Nilasca, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, and teammate Ken Song, 6-2, 7-6.
In Pool C, Luther Lizama was clean in the opening day, winning over teammate Robert Schorr, 6-0, 6-1, and against Guam's Gabriel Basco, 6-1, 6-1. Schorr bounced back from a loss to Lizama with a 6-1, 7-5 triumph over Guam's Andrew Leng. In Pool D, Michael Jones also had a split, edging Guam's Aaron Abrams, 6-2, 6-3, before losing to Palau's Ubai Kingzio, 3-6, 0-6.
The CNMI bets are competing in the NPQ for slots on the North Pacific Team that will play in the 2012 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in August in Fiji.