Anthony Gregoire and David Kwon had a duel for the ages with the former escaping with a 6-3, 2-6, 22-20 victory to take the boys U14 singles title in the 2019 DFS CNMI Junior Championships last Sunday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
Yes, the scores were 22-20 in the super-tiebreaker third set, as the two players went back and forth in the decider that seemingly had no ending until Gregoire hit a volley to finally wrap up the game after nearly three hours.
“I approached the net and I made him go to the right side, while I dropped the volley to the left,” said Gregoire, adding that it took them around 45 minutes to finish just the super-tiebreaker third set
The hard-earned win gave Gregoire a perfect 3-0 record in the round-robin competition and his first championship in the division in the last local tournament of the season. The tiring victory was also the only extended match Gregoire played in the age group, as he earlier dominated Cory Lee, 6-0, 6-0, and Eubin Park, 6-0, 6-0. Kwon routed, too Park, 6-0, 6-0, and Lee, 6-1, 6-0, to set up the Sunday showdown against Gregoire for the division championship.
“It felt great to come out on top of a tough game. I have a very strong opponent and that made the victory even more special,” the Saipan International School student said.
Meanwhile, after his title win in the boys U14 singles, Gregoire returned to the AMP court in the afternoon to play in the U18 doubles finals. He teamed up with U12 player Juncheol Hwang and they arranged a finals match against U16’s Sam Ryu and Sean Lee after stunning No. 2 seed Isaac Heo and Kwon, 6-4, 6-4.
Lee and Ryu went on to foil Gregoire and Hwang’s bid for another upset after registering a 6-4, 6-1 triumph in the finale. The eventual champions made it to the title game after eliminating Hyumin Cho and Alex Park, 6-1, 6-2. Park and Cho, before losing in the semis, downed Gang Min Kim and Jun Wang, 6-3, 7-5.
Kim and Wang ended up in last place in the division, while Kwon and Heo were ranked third after a free victory (walkover) against Park and Cho in the consolation match last weekend.