Five CNMI junior players will remain in Fiji for a few more weeks as they will be competing in the Oceania Closed Junior Championships 2018.
Siblings Sean and Carol Lee, Robbie Schorr, Ken Song, and Conatsu Kaga are included on the acceptance list of the ranking tournament under the ITF Juniors Circuit. The Oceania Closed, which will run from Aug. 14 to 18, is a B2 event that awards 160, 95, and 60 points to the singles champion, finalists, and semifinalists. Thirty, 15, and 7 points are also given to the quarterfinalists and players advancing in the Rounds of 16 and 32, while points as high as 120 can be won in the doubles. A B2 event is the fifth highest-ranking tournament in the ITF Juniors Circuit (Grand Slam and Youth Olympics are the highest).
Carol and Conatsu are among the 31 players on the acceptance list of the girls singles draw, joining fellow Pacific Oceania bets Saoirse Breen of Fiji, Eleanor Schuster of Samoa, Leylany Ipunesso of New Caledonia, and Zorika Morgan of the Solomon Islands.
New Zealand and Australia players dominated the acceptance list with the former’s Valentina Ivanov the highest-ranked player in at the field at No. 104. Carol has the fifth-best ranking at No. 218 and aims for a better showing in her fourth appearance in the tournament.
Last year, Carol made it to the quarterfinals of the singles event after winning her first two matches. She also advanced to the Round of 8 in the doubles for her best performance in the B2 competition. The CNMI bet lost in the first round in doubles and won only one match in the singles in 2015 and 2016.
In the boys draw, Schorr, Song, and Carol’s brother, Sean are also part of the small Pacific Oceania group that includes the Solomon Islands’ Graham Mani, American Samoa’s Larry Magalasin, Tahiti’s Jeremy Guines, and Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy, too.
Schorr is the second highest-ranked Pacific player at No. 1,527 behind Mainguy, who is ranked No. 1,010 in the world. Sean is at No. 2,282, while Song has yet to make it to the world leaderboard. Australia’s Rinky Hijikata is the highest-ranked player in the boys singles draw at No. 36.
Schorr, Lee, and Song have been in Fiji for months, training at the ITF/OTF facility there. They competed in the 2016 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships (both in individual and team events) along with Malika Miyawaki, Maria and Anthony Gregoire, Hyejin Elliot, David Kwon, Seung Jin Paik, Jimin Woo, and Coume Kaga, who are home-bound as the POJC concluded last Wednesday.