Two division titles are within the CNMI’s reach, as Jimin Woo and Sean Lee advanced to the finals of the boys U16 age group competitions in the 2019 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji yesterday.
Woo marched into the championship game in the boys U16 singles after sweeping Tahiti’s Brandon Fong, 6-2, 6-3, in the lower bracket semis match in the morning. Then in the afternoon, Woo returned to the International Tennis Federations Regional Training Centre courts to team up with Lee in outclassing Fong and Vaitea Molinier in the battle for the doubles finals ticket.
A 6-4 triumph in the first set boosted Woo and Lee’s chances to make it to the title match in the doubles event. The Tahiti pair, however, was not ready to throw in the towel yet, as Fong and Molinier prevailed in the second set, 6-3. With the semis in a deadlock, the CNMI and Tahiti bets played in the super-tiebreaker third set with Woo and Lee showing poise in the end, 10-5. Lee managed to play in the semifinals despite coming from a flu that forced him to retire in his semis match against Woo last Monday.
Lee and Woo will go for the doubles championship today when they face Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy and the Solomon Islands’ Junior Miki in the finals. The Vanuatu duo also needed an extended game to make it to the title match. Mainguy and Miki eased past Tahiti’s Manovai Elie and Mohearii Pilin in the first set, 6-1, but failed to close out the semis game early when their opponents bounced back in the second, 6-4. In the decider, Vanuatu and Miki eked out a 10-8 triumph to notch the second finals ticket in the doubles division.
In the singles, Mainguy will be the last man standing on Woo’s way to taking the division title. The Vanuatu bet bagged the finals berth at the upper half of the draw following a 6-3, 6-1 win over Molinier.
In other results, Pacific Games participant Eleanor Schuster of Samoa marched into the finals of the girls U16 singles and will be battling Fiji’s Saoirse Breen. Schuster and Breen arranged their title duel after eliminating Solomon Islands’ Zorika Morgan, 6-3, 6-3, and Prudence Bird, 6-0, 6-1, respectively.
In the girls U14 singles, Tahiti’s Vaiani Dusserre-Valleaux downed the Cook Islands’ Moana Une in their Final Four duel, 6-0, 6-2, to advance to the finals against Samoa’s Roselyn Tupuola—a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Guam’s Alicia Addison in the other semis pairing.