CNMI junior player Conatsu Kaga secured a finals berth in the girls U14 doubles event in the Victorian Grass Court Championships in Australia.
Kaga and her teammate Zorika Morgan of the Solomon Islands stunned two seeded pairs to make it to the title match of the division. The Pacific Oceania players first pulled the rug under No. 2 seed Chloe Anne Brereton and Grace Fountain, prevailing in three extended quarterfinals game last Thursday at the Wodonga Tennis Centre in Victoria. Kaga and Morgan eked out a 6-4 win in the opening set, but missed a sweep when their Australian opponents took the second, 6-3. Then in the deciding super-tiebreaker third set, Kaga and Morgan worked their way up to the ladder and escaped with a 10-8 triumph to complete the upset and advance to the semifinals.
In the Final Four game at the lower half of the draw, Kaga and Morgan, who swept Abbey Mcphee and Patsy Pamela Ryan-Betts in their first game, 6-1, 6-3, were pitted against No. 3 Aaloyah Da Silva and Erica Renee Sarnacki. Again, the two visiting players had to go through a tough match to survive the semis and move into the finals. Kaga and Morgan got the first set, 6-4, but were smoked by their rivals in the second, 1-6. In the decider, the CNMI-Solomon Island players pairing showed poise after posting a thrilling 10-8 victory.
Kaga and Morgan were scheduled to face No. 1 seed Mystique Maljanek and Laura Peart in the finals, but results of their title duel last Saturday were unavailable at the tournament’s website at press time. The top-seeded duo had an easier semis win after needing only two sets to eliminate the unranked Erin Lawless and Shalee Jayde Martin, 6-3, 6-4. Maljanek and Peart, who got a bye in the opening round, also cruised past Samoa’s Penina Kamu and Tessa Quinlan in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-4, to complete the Final Four cast.
Meanwhile, another CNMI junior player entered in the Victorian tournament, Sean Lee, marched into the finals, too, of the consolation group in the qualifier.
Lee, who missed making it to the main draw of the boys U14 singles after losing his opening game, won four matches in the consolation group to earn the right to face Australia’s Maxwell Prest in the final round. Lee first downed Liam Ragas-Judd, 6-4, 6-2, and then defeated No. 11 Jacob Collison, 7-6, 6-2; Rhodes Doumanis, 6-4, 2-6, 10-4; and No. 10 Alexandre Jaulin, 2-6, 6-1, 10-7. After notching four straight wins, Lee’s streak was ended by Prest, who swept the Commonwealth player, 6-2, 6-1.