The Commonwealth's U15 players Negahr Rastguiy and Mikayla Lopez earned slots to the main draw of the 2012 Oceania Closed Junior Championships, bringing the CNMI's entries to the Junior ITF event to five.
The two U15 players joined U18's Thea Minor, Rafael Jones, and Christian Miller in the tournament in Lautoka, Fiji. Having five players in the B2 event of the Junior ITF Circuit is the most the CNMI had in years. Last year, only Miller and Minor made it to the main draw of the boys and girls singles, while Jones managed to compete only in the doubles draw.
Rastguiy and Lopez qualified to the Junior ITF event after advancing to the finals of the U15 singles of the 2012 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships, while the three others earned entries based on their 2011performance in the POJC.
Unfortunately, all five CNMI bets failed to move past the first round of the Junior ITF event.
In the girls draw, Lopez was shown the exit door early after bowing to unranked Noelleda Ah San of Australia last Monday, 2-6, 2-3. Rastguiy also dropped her Junior ITF debut, losing to New Caledonia's Assya Trimari, 3-6, 2-6, while Minor had the toughest opening round foe, falling to the second-seeded Danielle Wagland of Australia, 1-6, 0-6.
Lopez was relegated to the consolation draw where she won one game against Papua New Guinea's Lorish Puluspene. The PNG player edged Lopez in the opening set of their match last Tuesday, 7-5, but the CNMI bet stole the win after sweeping the last two sets, 6-4, 10-5. Lopez had her second game last Tuesday and lost to Australia's Annabelle Andrinopoulos, 1-6, 1-6.
Minor and Rastguiy also fell in the consolation draw with the former bowing to PNG's Marcia Tere-Apisah, 6-7 (5), 0-6. Rastguiy gave Australia's Chanistha Ampornachariya quite a scare after winning the opening set, 6-4, before the latter eked out a 6-3, 10-7 triumph in the last two sets.
In the boys draw, Jones lost to Australia's Olly Sadler, 0-6, 0-6, while Miller also bowed to Gregory Jacobe after only two sets, 3-6, 2-6. Both CNMI bets played in the consolation draw and lost anew with Jones falling to the Federated States of Micronesia's Terry Rush, 6-7, 5-7, and Miller failing to survive a three-set game against the Norfolk Islands' James Elliott, 6-2, 3-6, 7-10.