Faheem Ebrahim and Tim Quan will contest the men’s open championship of the 2004 Century Insurance Co. Tennis Classic after both players advanced to the finals with relative ease Wednesday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
Ji Hoon Heo may be the future of the CNMI tennis but at only 12 years old the Grace Christian Academy still has lots to go before he could challenge the islands’ best player Ebrahim. The Club Elan manager hardly lifted a finger in beating Heo in the semis 6-0, 6-0.
Quan had a far easier time than Ebrahim, however, as the 16-year-old Hawaii Preparatory Academy student got off with a walkover win over Ralph Buenaventura, who was still nursing an injury.
Ebrahim and Quan will square off for all the marbles this afternoon beginning at 5:30pm.
Like the men’s open, the finalists for the men’s 4.5 is also set after Buddy Garote and Richard Asuncion defeated separate rivals Wednesday. Garote used his superior speed to the ball in beating Boyet Minor 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Asuncion cruised past Elmer Guzman 6-1, 6-4.
Dodong Espanola is waiting in the wings in the men’s 4.0 after he won his semis match against John Kintaro 6-2, 6-1. The nurse from Commonwealth Health Center will duel against the winner between Guzman and Tony Santos.
Action in the beginners division for the men is also down to one match with Rolly Samson and Yesman Gurung contesting the title. Samson advanced to the championship round after a 6-1, 6-1 win over Dennis Macatangay. Gurung, meanwhile, eclipsed Edgar Cunanan 6-4, 6-0.
Babu Malayil sure got his money’s worth competing in the men’s 3.0. After surviving Manny Jardinero in a marathon three-set match Wednesday morning, the 38-year-old from India defeated Gary Ramsey in a protracted semifinal contest in the evening.
Malayil and Ramsey fought to a standstill in the first set before the Coral Ocean Point employee nipped the CHC physician on a tiebreak. Ramsey was so exhausted after the first set that he joked with Malayil about the possibility of flipping a coin to decide the match.
In the second set, Malayil overworked his visibly tired opponent to go up 4-0. After taking an emergency call on his cellphone, Ramsey narrowed his deficit to 3-5 before Malayil ended the game with another of his patented high lob passes and won 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Malayil will battle Hector Benitez in the finals. Benitez entered the championship round after soundly beating Rio Arriola 6-3, 6-2.
The two women’s singles matches of the day had Mayuko Arriola and Joy Minor prevailing in straight sets. Arriola defeated youngster Vivian Lee 6-1, 6-0, while Minor overcame an early deficit to turn back Shinobu Furr 6-4, 6-1.
The mixed doubles 4.0 pair of Edwin Maratas and Nelia Luna is safely into the finals after topping Asuncion and Cleofe Santos 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. The Arriolas – Rio and Mayuko – are also aboard after routing the husband-and-wife pair of Perry and Sally Cacdac 6-2, 6-2.
Wednesday also saw play in the women’s doubles 3.0 finally wind down close to two weeks after competition started. The tandem of Gina Lopez and Rose Pederson hoisted the championship after drubbing Arlene Osma and Mina Solomon 6-2, 6-0.