Four survive qualifier; 12 CNMI bets in main draw

The Philippines’ Jose Antonio Tria makes a baseline return to Thailand’s Guintinun Sootinun-Opart during the first set of their qualifying match in the boys singles event of the 2017 Northern Marianas Juniors Championships, yesterday at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Four players made the grade in the 2017 Northern Marianas Juniors Championships, while 12 from the host island are entered in the main draw of the ranking competition that will kick off today at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts.

India’s Kaushik Hariharan and Vatsin Thaker, Japan’s Nowa Matsubayashi, and Thailand’s Guintinun Sootinun-Opart won slots in the main draw of the boys singles event after surviving the two-day qualifying tournament that featured 16 players.

The Thai secured one of the four qualifying spots after sweeping the Philippines’ Jose Antonio Tria, 6-2, 6-2, yesterday. Tria made it to the second round of the qualifier following a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Indian’s Anuj Anil Patel last Sunday, while Sootinun-Opart marched after downing Japan’s Keiju Miyake, 6-2, 6-2.

Hariharan also prevailed in straight sets in his two games in the qualifier to move into the main draw. He first defeated South Korea’s Ji Hwan Ryu, 6-0, 6-0, last Sunday, and then outclassed Japan’s Kanata Abe yesterday, 6-4, 6-2. Hariharan’s compatriot, Thaker, eked out a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6) win over Thailand’s Nitthikorn Changchroenkul before sweeping Australia’s Tomi Perica, 6-3, 6-2, to complete the main draw cast.

In the main draw of the boys singles, Chinese-Taipei’s Yi Jui Lo and Australia’s Stefan Storch are the Top 2 seeds, while the six CNMI players are unseeded in the Grade 5 tournament that offers Juniors ITF world ranking points.

Steven Goodwin, a wild card entry, will be up for a tough task in the first round as he challenges the No. 2 seed Storch at the lower half of the draw. Also playing at the bottom half of the 32-player field are Colin Ramsey and Moris Villanueva who will duel Hong Kong’s Man San Chan and Japan’s Hiroki Fujita, respectively.

At the top half of the draw, Robbie Schorr will face Hong Kong’s Chun Ho Chow, Michael Ren takes on India’s Mann Shah, Ken Song meets Macau’s Kun Teng Tche, and Vincent Tudela squares off against Hong Kong’s Pak Hong Chan.

In the girls singles, Malika Miyawaki and Maria Gregoire are at the upper half of the draw and paired against Japan’s Miko Kozaki and Kaho Nieda, respectively, in the Round 1 matches. At the lower half, Tania Tan will also collide against a Japanese foe in Mua Shigeta, while Isabel Heras will battle the Otoha Aoki, also from Japan. Grace Cho has a Chinese-Taipei opponent in Yu Hua Cheng.

Besides the singles competition, this week’s tournament will also feature doubles games and draws and pairing won’t be available until tonight. The Grade 5 event will award 30 ranking points to the singles champion, 20 to the runner-up, and 15, 10, and 5 to the semifinalists, quarterfinalists, and losers in Round of 16, respectively. In the doubles, the champions will get 20, 15 to the runners-up, and 10 and 5 to the semifinalists and quarterfinalists, respectively.

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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