Gregoire, Kwon boost title bid

Anthony Gregoire, seen here waiting for the shot of his opponent in last year’s TanHoldings Tennis Classic at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, plays for CNMI Boys U12 team with David Kwon and they are still undefeated in the 2018 North Pacific Regional Championships being held in Guam. (Contributed Photo)

Anthony Gregoire and David Kwon inched the CNMI closer to the championship in the boys U12 team event of the 2018 North Pacific Regional Championships after keeping their perfect record.

The Commonwealth duo swept the Federated States of Micronesia 1’s Theodore and Charles Ned yesterday at the Sheraton Hotel in Guam for an unbeaten 3-0 record in the round-robin contest and the lead in the six-team field. Kwon eked out a 3-6, 6-2, 10-7 triumph over Theodore in the first singles match, while Gregoire had an easier win over Charles, 6-1, 6-2, to secure victory No. 3 for the No. 1 seed CNMI. The undefeated pair then topped their FSM 1 foes (2-1) in the doubles, 6-4, 6-3, to complete the shutout win.

With three down, Gregoire and Kwon have two more games left and a victory over Guam 2 (has a 0-2 record pending final results of yesterday’s doubles game vs North Boys Combined) today would allow the CNMI tandem to zero in on the division title. The Commonwealth bets, who earlier topped Guam 1 (1-2) and FSM 2 (1-2), will have their last game on Friday against North Boys Combined (1-1).

In the girls U12, the CNMI 1 is still in the race after improving to a 2-1 mark. Helen Kim and Serin Chung dominated FSM 2 yesterday to notch their second straight win after dropping their debut against Guam last Monday. Both Chung and Kim needed only two sets to beat Shelly Palsis, 6-0, 6-2, and Arthisha Mallarme, 6-1, 6-0, respectively. The Commonwealth pair also took the short route to victory in the doubles against the FSM 2 duo, 6-2, 6-0.

In other results in the division, CNMI 2’s Dana Lee and Ye Jin Son fell to a 1-2 card after being swept by FSM 1’s Desirae Wolphagen and Leilah Etscheit.

Paik, Kaga enter semis
Meanwhile, Seung Jin Paik is the lone CNMI player left standing in the boys U14 singles after advancing to the semifinals.

The No. 1 seed Paik downed Guam’s Aarman Sachdev, 6-1, 6-3, to set up a Final Four showdown with the latter’s compatriot and No. 4 seed Dakota Gibson, who eliminated the CNMI’s Andy Kim, 6-1, 6-3.

No. 3 Daniel Kang was the second Commonwealth player to get a pink slip, as he was stunned by the unranked Noeln Narruhn of FSM, 7-5, 5-7, 10-4. It will be an all-FSM semis tiff at the lower part of the draw after Deavyn Etscheit also pulled off an upset over No. 2 seed Thomas Ysrael of Guam, 7-5, 6-3.

In the girls U14 singles, Coume Kaga swept all three games in the elimination to make it to the semifinals. She earned a perfect mark in Group A after crushing FSM’s Niqui Peterson, 6-0, 6-0, and will play No. 2 seed and Group B second finisher Kaia Malakooti of Guam in the semifinals today.

Kaga’s fellow CNMI players Hye Jin Elliot and Anika Camacho missed the cut after placing third and fourth, respectively in Group B.

In the doubles, Elliot and Kaga drew a bye and automatically marched into the semis where they will face Camacho and Palau’s Galya Mikel, a 7-5, 1-6, 10-8 winner over FSM’s Movida Jerry and Wolphagen.

In the boys doubles, the four CNMI players are all in the semis. Kang and Paik gained a Final Four entry after sweeping FSM’s Kigo Apis and Aniken Perman, 6-2, 6-2, while Isaac Heo and Andy Kim did the same against the CNMI-Guam pair of Ruma Lee and Aiden Schembari, 6-1, 6-2. Kim and Heo will be paired against No. 2 Gibson and Ysrael in the lower bracket semis, while at the upper bracket, Kang and Paik will duel Jacob Jackson and Sachdev.

In other results, Sam Ryu is two wins away from ruling the boys U16 singles as he got win No. 4 after downing FSM’s Andy Sipos yesterday, 6-3, 6-0. Ryu will meet fellow CNMI player Eugene Park today and then Guam’s Marshall Zhang (5-0) in the title-deciding match tomorrow.

In the girls U16 singles, Malika Miyawaki also needs to prevail in her last two games to clinch the division crown. She earned a 3-0 yesterday after easing past FSM’s Anne Skilling, 6-3, 6-0. Next up for Miyawaki is Guam’s Aprile Kim (1-1) and CNMI teammate Maria Gregoire (2-1).

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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