With majority of CNMI athletes out of contention, the Commonwealth’s medal chances in Week 1 of the XVI Pacific games now fall on the shoulders of the men’s tennis team.
Colin Sinclair, Robbie Schorr, and Ken Song will be playing in the semifinals of the team event today against Tahiti, starting at 8am (5am Saipan time). The CNMI-Tahiti duel was originally set for yesterday, but was rescheduled along with the Papua New Guinea-Samoa tiff due to rain.
The CNMI is the lone seeded team still in contention for the medals in the men’s team event. The No. 4 seed Commonwealth crew entered the semis after sweeping the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Nauru in the Group D matches and holding a 9-0 record. Tahiti defeated New Caledonia and No. 1 seed Vanuatu in Group A and had a 4-2 mark, making the CNMI the slight favorite in the matchup.
A victory over Tahiti would ensure the Commonwealth at least a silver medal.
Meanwhile, the CNMI ended its campaign in the women’s division on a strong note after shutting down the Cook Islands yesterday at the Apia Park Tennis Courts.
Carol Lee dominated Tamara Anderson in the first singles match, 6-1, 6-2, while Isabel Heras also outclassed Ruby Pierre in the second, 6-0, 6-1. Lee and Heras then defeated the same Cook Islands players in the doubles match, 6-3, 6-4, to complete the sweep and gain momentum going into the individual singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events in the tennis competition that will start this Sunday.
Earlier this week, Lee and company had a tough time in the pool play after losing to division favorite and the Abigail Tere-Apisah-led PNG and host Samoa. Both PNG and Samoa are seeded in the competition and are playing in the semifinals today. The No. 4 seed PNG will take on unranked American Samoa, while No. 3 Samoa will challenge No. 1 New Caledonia.
Finals stint anew for Tenorio, Watanabe
In the penultimate day of the swimming competition at the Samoa Aquatic Centre, Juhn Tenorio and Aika Watanabe both reached the finals of the 100m backstroke event.
Tenorio clocked in at 1:04.52—a personal best (unofficial), while Watanabe timed in at 1:17.49. The gold medal races were held last night, but results of the finals were unavailable at press time. Tenorio was on his third finals appearance (the two others were in the 50m backstroke and 200m backstroke), while Watanabe was in her second (the first was in the 200m backstroke).
The two finalists will have their last individual event today as they both compete in the 200m individual medley. Sophia Gauran, Lennosuke Suzuki, and David Boyer will race in the same event and the 100m freestyle swim. Jinju Thompson is also entered in the 100m freestyle event and will join the 200m mixed relay.
In other results, beach volleyball’s Tyce and Logan Mister finished the tournament with a 0-2 record and have been eliminated, while the CNMI Badminton Team is also done for the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events.
Nathan Guerrero and Nicole Malasarte managed to win their first round game in the mixed doubles after slipping past Samoa’s Charles Faalogoifo and Angel Reti, 21-13, 8-21, 21-15. The CNMI duo then missed a quarterfinals berth when it was defeated by Tahiti’s Rauhiri Goguenheim and Hinahere Mara in the second round, 21-12, 21-15.
Andreau Galvez and Janelle Pangilinan also played in the mixed doubles and they were beaten by another Tahiti pair—Quentin Bernaix and Esther Tau—21-16, 21-18.
In the men’s doubles, No. 1 seed Ronan Ho-Yagues and Morgan Paitio of New Caledonia topped Guerrero and Jordan Pangilinan, 21-11, 21-10, while Fiji’s Ahmad Ali and Martin Feussner swept Daniel and Ezekiel Macario, 21-10, 21-12. In the men’s singles, Tahiti’s Louis Beaubois downed Galvez, 21-4, 21-10; Goguenheim outclassed Daniel Macario, 21-7, 21-8; and Samoa’s Kennedy Simani ousted Jordan Pangilinan, 21-12, 21-13. In the women’s doubles, Malasarte and Pangilinan forced Mara and Ingrid Ateni to three games before the Tahiti pair pulled off a 21-22, 19-21, 21-3 victory.
V-1 long distance today
Mayiah Duenas and Jack Aahn will compete in the long distance va’a V-1 races today.
The men’s and women’s races will be held in the waters off Mulifanua Sheraton Beach Resort and will cover a distance of about 10 miles.