By this time, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic, CNMI players would have been busy competing in the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji.
The regional tournament has been pushed back later this year and since there were no games scheduled this month, Saipan Tribune looked back at the Commonwealth bets’ strong start in the POJC eight years ago.
On Aug. 8, 2012, six CNMI players had a perfect record in Day 1 of the POJC.
Mikayla Lopez, Negahr Rastguiy, and Tammy Ackerman swept their first two games in the girls U15 singles, while Carol Lee and Isabel Heras also posted similar 2-0 records in the U12 age group of the event being played at the Dr. Robin Mitchell Regional Tennis Centre in Lautoka and the Nadi Sports Club in Nadi. Completing the list of Commonwealth players who were unbeaten in the POJC opener was Rafael Jones in the U18 division.
Jones waltzed past Fiji’s Krishneel Kumar with a straight set win, 7-5, 6-0, and also had an easy time dispatching the Cook Island’s Roland Neuruer, 6-2, 6-1, for a share of the early lead with Vanuatu’s Gregory Jacoby in the six-player Pool A.
In the girls U15 division, Rastguiy made it back-to-back after downing the Solomon Islands’ Georgimah Row, 6-0, 6-1 and New Caledonia’s Olanza Matuu, 6-1, 6-4, in Poo A matches. Lopez was also in Pool A and defeated Matuu, 6-4, 6-0, and American Samoa’ s Charity Sagiao, 6-1, 6-1.
In Pool B, Ackerman survived a three-set game opposite Palau’s Ayana Rengiil, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, and completed the Day 1 sweep with a victory over Fiji’s Mulan Kamoe, 6-3, 6-4.
The CNMI bets went on to dominate the Top 4 of the girls U15 singles event with Lopez winning the division crown after topping Rastguiy in the finals, 6-1, 6-2, while Ackerman reached the semis before losing to Anastasia Tapusoa in the battle for third place.
In the girls U12 singles, Lee and Heras also barged into the semifinals. Heras edged Lee in the first Final Four match, 6-4, 6-4, before losing to Fiji’s Ruby Coffin in the championship game, 6-4, 6-1.