The CNMI Men’s National Tennis Team moved closer to the medal podium in the XVI Pacific Games after sweeping the pool play yesterday at the Apia Park Tennis Courts in Samoa.
The Commonwealth players first dominated Kiribati in the morning matches, 3-0, and then topped Nauru in similar scores in the afternoon to finish Group D with an undefeated record (9-0). The CNMI earlier shut down the Solomon Islands in its first pool play assignment last Tuesday.
With the sweep, Colin Sinclair, Robbie Schorr, and Ken Song advanced to the semifinals against Ridge Chung, Heve Kelley, and Heimanarii Lai San of Group A top finisher Tahiti. Unranked Tahiti made it to the semifinals after edging New Caledonia, 2-1, and No. 1 seed Vanuatu, 2-1, in the preliminary matches.
Sinclair recorded his second shutout victory after crushing Tebatibunga Tito in the first singles, while Ken Song won in the second singles match over Bauro Lambourne, 6-0, 6-0, to finish off Kiribati early. Sinclair also played in the doubles with Schorr and a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Lambourne and Tito gave the CNMI the sweep in Day 3 of the tennis competition.
Sinclair was done for the day, as head coach Jeff Race opted to have Schorr and Song close out for the CNMI against Nauru. Schorr did not disappoint and eased past Robert Shansky Hubert, 6-1, 6-0, while Song also cruised to victory in the second singles game against Dallas Addi, 6-1, 5-0 (retired). In the doubles, Song and Schorr took only two sets, too to beat Robert Scotty and Itaia Kanano, 6-2, 6-1, and complete the CNMI’s domination in the pool play.
Meanwhile, the CNMI-Tahiti semis tiff will be played today, starting at 2pm (11am Saipan time) with the winner marching into the gold medal round that will take place tomorrow. In the other Final Four duel, it will be Samoa versus Papua New Guinea. Samoa led Group B after eliminating Fiji and the Cook Islands, while PNG prevailed over American Samoa and Guam and was ahead (1-0) against No. 3 Tonga in yesterday’s last pool play match in Group C.
In other results, the CNMI is out of the medal race in the women’s division after losing to No. 4 seed PNG.
Pro player and world No. 351 Abigail Tere-Apisah topped Carol Lee, 6-3, 6-3, while Violet Apisah edged Isabel Heras, 6-2, 7-5, to give PNG the automatic win. The PNG duo also outclassed Lee and Heras in the doubles, 6-1, 6-2.
After losing to PNG and Samoa, the CNMI aims to save a win in the pool play in Group C when it takes on the Cook Islands today. PNG, on the other hand, will face American Samoa in the semis, while New Caledonia is still waiting for its opponent in the other playoff game.