All-CNMI title showdown

The CNMI’s Hoo Wang serves to Guam’s Jaylee Usita-Lee during the first singles game in the U12 team event in the 2019 North Pacific Regional Championships yesterday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The boys U16 singles title match in the 2019 North Pacific Regional Championships will be an all-CNMI duel, as Sean Lee and Sam Ryu advanced to the finals after eliminating their semis opponents.

Lee, who is seeded No. 1 in the 10-player field, booked the first finals ticket in the division after sweeping the unranked Nolen Narruhn of the Federated States of Micronesia, 6-0, 6-1, yesterday at the Pacific Islands Club tennis courts. Ryu, the No. 2 seed in the competition, also needed only two sets to beat another FSM bet—the No. 4 Deavyn Etscheit—6-2, 6-4, and assure the CNMI Top 2 finish in the division. Ryu and Lee will battle for the championship today at PIC’s hard court.

Meanwhile, two more CNMI players made it to the finals of their respective singles event.

In the boys U14 singles, No. 2 seed Daniel Kang earned a slot to the championship game after surviving No. 4 Jacob Jackson of Guam. Kang eked out a 7-5 win in the first set, while Jackson avoided early elimination with a victory in the second in similar scores. Then in the deciding super-tiebreaker third set, the CNMI and Guam bets still went back and forth before Kang escaped with an 11-9 triumph.

With the victory, Kang arranged a title showdown against No. 1 seed and FSM player Jones George, who foiled an all-CNMI finale in the boys U14 singles after ousting David Kwon in the other semis match, 6-2, 6-4.

In the girls U14 singles, No. 4 Helen Kim extended her streak to five and reached the finals after beating No. 3 Leila Etscheit of FSM, 6-4, 6-2. Kim’s foe in the championship game today is Guam’s Alicia Addison, who stunned No. 1 seed Hyejin Elliot, 6-0, 6-3, in the other Final Four game.

In other results, Ryu and Lee will also play in the finals of the boys U16 doubles after prevailing in their semis tiff over fellow CNMI players Isaac Heo and Eugene Park, 6-0, 6-4. The Commonwealth bets will face familiar players in the title match, as they will square off against Deavyn Etscheit and Nolen Narruhn today. The FSM pair marched into the finals following a 6-0, 6-0 triumph against the CNMI’s Cory Lee and Jun Wang.

In the girls U14 doubles, Kim and Elliot are a win away from getting the division championship. The Commonwealth duo outclassed Palau’s Galyah Mikel and Ngelittle Silmai in the semis match at the top half of the draw, 4-6, 7-5, 10-8, to claim the first finals berth. Elliot and Kim will battle FSM’s Leila Etscheit and Movida Jerry, who swept Guam’s Randiann Atento and Addison in the other semis game, 6-2, 6-1.

In the girls U16 doubles finals, FSM’s Anne Skilling and Ridianne Wolphagen topped the CNMI’s Maria Gregoire and their compatriot Isabella Sipos, 7-5, 6-3.

In the boys U14 doubles, it will be FSM versus Palau. George and Thedore Ned of GSM eliminated the CNMI’s David Kwon and Anthony Gregoire, 6-4, 6-2, while Palau’s Kaekoa Mamis and Ton Perez prevailed over Guam’s Aarman Sachdev and Jackson, 3-6, 7-6, 12-10.

CNMI Girls 1 in contention
Meanwhile, the CNMI Girls 1 is still in the fight for the championship in the U12 team event.

Irin Chung and Dana Lee improved to a 4-1 record with one game left in the round-robin competition following a 3-0 triumph over Guam Girls 2. Chung swept Eliza San Augustin in the first singles game, 6-1, 6-0, while Lee secured the early win for CNMI Girls 1 after topping Amelie Terlaje, 6-3, 6-2. The Commonwealth players then earned the shutout victory after beating the Guam bets anew in the doubles match, 6-3, 6-0.

The CNMI Girls 1 will meet Guam Girls 1 today to determine the winner in the division. Guam Girls 1 holds a 5-0 record coming into the deciding match this afternoon.

In the boys division, the CNMI 1 will also play Guam 1 today in an important match. Guam is unbeaten in four games to lead the six-team group, while the CNMI is at close second with its 3-1 mark. FSM 1 also has a 3-1 slate, but the CNMI is ahead in matches won, 8-7, and a win over Guam 1 may hand the host the division crown, depending on the tiebreak points.

Sean Lee returns to Guam’s Jacob San Augustin during a pool play game in the boys U16 singles event in the 2019 North Pacific Regional Championships last Tuesday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. Lee is in the finals and will face fellow CNMI player Sam Ryu. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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