Conatsu Kaga returns to Saipan today, bringing with her a doubles crown she won in Australia last week.
Kaga and the Solomon Islands’ Zorika Morgan bested 11 other pairs in the Victorian Grass Court Championships 2018 played in Wodonga, Victoria from Jan. 10 to 13 to win the girls U14 doubles title in their second tournament in the Land Down Under.
The CNMI player and her partner completed their stunning triumph in the grass court tournament held at the Wodonga Tennis Centre after pulling off an upset over No. 1 seed Mystique Maljanek and Laura Peart of Victoria in the finals. Kaga and Morgan set up the title win after an impressive 6-2 triumph in the opening set. Then in the second set although Maljanek and Peart played better, the CNMI-Solomon Islands tandem held its ground and eked out a 6-4 victory for the finals sweep.
Despite needing only two sets to prevail in the finals, Kaga said the victory was tough.
“It was very intense. Before the match, our coach told us to set one goal for our games and our goal was to have fun. I actually had fun even though I was feeling nervous. We had a very good game,” Kaga told Saipan Tribune last Sunday before leaving Melbourne.
The sweep over Maljanek and Peart was Kaga and Morgan’s second in the tournament. The first was versus Abbey Mcphee and Patsy Pamela Ryan-Betts, 6-1, 6-3. In their next two assignments, the CNMI and Solomon Islands players had to go survive super-tiebreaker games to keep their title hopes alive. Kaga and Morgan’s first extended match was against No. 2 Chloe Anne Brereton and Grace Fountain, 6-4, 3-6, 10-8 and the win moved the first pair into the semifinals. In the Final Four, Kaga and Morgan were pitted anew over seeded players in No. 3 Aaliyah Da Silva and Erica Renee Sarnacki and the Pacific Oceania duo escaped with a 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 to set a finals date with Maljanek and Peart.
The Australian finalists were highly favored in the title game, as they dominated their first two opponents, winning via sweeps. However, Kaga and Morgan caught Maljanek and Peart by surprise to head home victorious after faltering in their first tournament.
Kaga, Morgan, and their other Pacific Oceania Tour teammates, including the CNMI’s Sean Lee, also competed in the Albury Grasscourts in New South Wales and missed a Top 3 finish in the singles and doubles.
“Both tournaments were good opportunities for us to learn and play against Australian players. We made a lot of new friends and rivals and our billets were very nice,” Kaga said.