CNMI enters playoffs in Fiji


The CNMI’s Conatsu Kaga returns to Tonga’s Kava Taufa during their pool play game in the Inaugural Nations Cup Pacific in Fiji last Saturday. (Oceania Tennis Federation)

The CNMI Women’s Tennis Team was undefeated in the elimination round to move into the playoffs of the Inaugural Nations Cup Pacific.

The squad, made up of Carol Lee, Isabel Heras, and Conatsu Kaga, won its last two games over the weekend to top Group B and make the cut in the women’s division. Only the Top 2 teams from the three pools were given playoff berths in the tournament that is hosted by Fiji Tennis Association and features both youth and adult players in the Pacific and Oceania.

The Commonwealth crew completed the sweep in pool play after shutting down Tonga last Saturday, 3-0. Lee handed the No. 2 seed CNMI its first win after routing Pieta Fatai, 6-0, 6-0, while Kaga’s straight set victory over Kava Taufa, 6-2, 6-0, secured the early triumph for their team. Lee then teamed up with Isabel Heras in defeating Fatai and Taufa, 6-0, 6-2, to blank Tahiti.

Carol and company earned the same results in their game against American Samoa last Friday. Heras played in the first singles match and clobbered Francine Amoa, 6-0, 6-0, while Lee demolished Florence Wasko in similar scores for the CNMI’s outright victory. In the doubles, Lee partnered with Kaga and they also earned an easy win, 6-2, 6-1.

Before crushing American Samoa and Tahiti, the CNMI came from a tough 2-1 victory versus Oceania Women’s Combined Team 2, which joined the Commonwealth to the playoff round after finishing pool play with a 2-1 mark.

Also moving into the six-team playoffs were Group A’s Samoa (2-0) and Vanuatu (1-1) and Group C’s Cook Islands (3-0) and Solomon Islands (2-1).

The playoff round started yesterday with Oceania 2 and the Cook Islands winning over the Solomon Islands, 2-0, and Vanuatu, 2-1, respectively.

The CNMI will kick off its playoff campaign today when it takes on the unbeaten Cook Islands, while the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu collide and hope to bounce back from yesterday’s loss. In the other women’s division playoffs, Samoa will challenge Oceania 2.

Meanwhile, the CNMI’s Robbie Schorr, Ken Song, and Jimin Woo missed the playoff round in the men’s division after placing only third in Group C. Only the Top 2 teams from the four pools moved into the playoffs.

After beating Fiji Development Team last Thursday, the Commonwealth’s men’s team bowed to Oceania Combined 1 and No. 3 seed Tahiti over the weekend.

Against Oceania 2, Schorr drew first blood when he outclassed Papua New Guinea’s Matthew Stubbings, 7-6 (2), 6-2. The Norfolk Islands’ Sam Cribb tied the match after slipping past Song, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Oceania 2 went on to steal the win from the CNMI, as the former and Stubbings eked out a 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 over Song and Woo. Versus Tahiti, Schorr and company dropped all three games.

With the Commonwealth players out in the men’s playoffs, they will only play in the ranking matches (No. 9 to 14) and will face Tonga today.

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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