Close battle for top ranking


Andy Kim, right, and David Kwon are in a close fight for the No. 1 spot in the boys U16 division of the CNMI Junior Tennis Rankings. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Junior tennis players Andy Kim and David Kwon are neck-and-neck in the race for the top ranking in the boys U16 division.

Kim collected 2,600 rankings points from three tournaments to take the No. 1 spot, while at close second with 2,550 points is Kwon.

Kim got 1,100 ranking points from the TanHoldings Tennis Classic held in November last year, as he ruled the boys U16 singles event and made it to the semifinals of the doubles (partnering with Hyun Min Cho). He also prevailed in the boys U16 finals of the Saipan International School STUCO Tennis Tournament in January this year to gain 1,000 more points, while his Final Four stint in the Coconut Tennis Classic last February gave Kim 500 markers.

Kwon was the runner-up in the boys U16 singles event in the Coconut Classic and earned 1,000 points and his earlier No. 2 finish in the SIS-sponsored competition in the same age group handed him 750 points. Kwon also joined the TanHoldings Tennis Classic and registered 800 rankings points for placing third in the singles (600) and second in the doubles (200)

Joining Kim and Kwon in the Top 5 of the CNMI Junior Tennis Rankings for the boys U16 age group are Jun Wang (1,900), Isaac Heo (1,350), Juncheol Hwang (1,350), and Daniel Kang (1,150).

Wang was runner-up to Kim in the TanHoldings Tennis Classic to claim 750 ranking points, plus the former got 250 for teaming up with Kang and ruling the doubles event of Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association’s season-opening competition. In the SIS tournament, Wang made it to the semis to notch 500 points, while he received 400 points for finishing fifth in the Coconut Classic.

Heo barged into the finals of the Coconut Classic event to add 750 points to the 600 he earned in the TanHoldings Classic, putting him in a tie for fourth place with Hwang. A pair of 600 ranking points (from SIS tournament and Coconut Classic) plus his 150 points in the TanHoldings Tennis Classic (third place in doubles) gave Hwang 1,350.

Kang rounded out the Top 5, as he gained 750 points in the TanHoldings Tennis Classic (500/fourth place in singles and 250/doubles).

Meanwhile, other players who made it into the boys U16 rankings are Sam Culp (550), Hyunmin Cho (350), Eugene Park (300), Andrew Chung (300), Min Sin Kim (300), Gang Min Kim (200), Anthony Gregoire (150), Jaehoon Son (150).

The rankings will help NMITA determine the players that will represent the CNMI to the 2020 North Pacific Regional Championships in Guam and the 2020 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji. The North Pacific event is supposed to take place in June, but has been moved to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The POJC, which is usually held either in July or August, has also been rescheduled and will now be played in October.

Ranking points are still at stake, as NMITA has two tournaments left (will be played depending on the development in the crisis) for the 2019-2020 calendar—the Bridge Capital Tennis Classic (only the opening week was played) and the CNMI Junior Tennis Championships.

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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