Heras, 11 others still perfect


Isabel Heras and 11 other CNMI junior tennis players kept their unbeaten records to boost their playoff chances in the ITF North Pacific Regional Championships 2015.

Isabel Heras returns to Vincent Tudela during their scrimmage at the Pacific Islands Club last week. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Isabel Heras returns to Vincent Tudela during their scrimmage at the Pacific Islands Club last week. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Heras continued to live up to her lofty billing, as the top-ranked player in the girls U16 singles earned a 3-0 mark after Day 2 of the competition at the City Courts in Agana, Guam. Heras made it three in a row as she bagged two more victories in Pool A yesterday, giving up only one point in her pair of matches. She first crushed the Federated States of Micronesia’s Jenna Panuelo, 6-0, 6-0, before returning to the same court in the afternoon to dominate Guam’s Kanasta Abrams, 6-1, 6-0.

In Pool B, Ami Tsukagoshi duplicated Heras’ feat, while U12’s Coume and Conatsu Kaga and Seung Jin Paik and U14’s Tania Tan, Asia Raulerson, Maliya Miyawaki, Mimi Sakano, Robbie Schorr, Ken Song, and Vincent Tudela also remained unscathed after yesterdays matches.

Tsukagoshi matched Heras’ 3-0 slate after easing past Guam’s Victoria Smith, 6-1, 6-0, and FSM’s Sinarleen Perez, 6-2, 6-0. Tsukagoshi will close out her pool assignment today when she takes on Guam’s Tara Usita, who also holds a 3-0 record.

In the girls U14 division, Tan, Miyawaki, Sakano, and Raulerson, who are ranked first to fourth, respectively, got identical 2-0 records and are likely to sweep all four playoff berths in their age group. The Top 2 players in each pool will earn tickets to the playoffs.

Tan is in Pool A and notched her second win against FSM’s Tania Panuelo, 6-0, 6-0, while Raulerson also took her second victory in the same pool versus Guam’s Alyssa Merletti, 6-1, 6-2. In Pool B, Miyawaki topped Guam’s Jocelyn Tenai, 6-0, 6-0, while Mimi Sakano outclassed FSM’s Isabel Garcia, 6-3, 6-2.

In the boys U14, Schorr, the No. 1 seed in the division, showed no mercy in handing Guam’s James Hourican a 6-0, 6-0 beating to move up to a 2-0 record in Pool A, while the former’s teammate Haruya Eda fell to a 0-2 slate after a tough loss to FSM’s Andre Perillo, 6-2, 6-7 (7), 11-9.

In Pool B, the unranked Tudela went 2-0 following a 6-1, 6-0, triumph over Guam’s Kian Malakooti, while Ken Song took the Pool C lead as he improved to a 3-0 record after bagging back-to-back wins yesterday. Song first downed FSM’s Sarkau Weston Luckymis, 6-0, 6-2, before defeating the latter’s teammate Sterkis Abraham, 6-1, 6-2.

In the boys U12 division, Paik matched Song’s 3-0 mark as the former outlasted fellow CNMI bet Ji Min Woo, 4-6, 7-5, 10-4. Woo earlier won against Palau’s Jonah Tilei Ziegler, 6-2, 6-0, to remain in contention for the Top 2 spots in Pool B. In Pool A, Rintaro Miyawaki is also in the hunt for the playoff spot after sweeping his pair of matches yesterday and improving to a 3-1 record. Miyawaki got his Day 2 victories against FSM’s Jones Neth George, 7-6 (7), 7-5, and Jerson Freddy, 6-3, 6-2. Sean Lee is in Pool A, too and barged into the win column after four games following his 6-0, 6-0 victory over Guam’s Roman Merletti.

In the girls U12, top-ranked Conatsu is just one win away from sweeping Pool A after she downed teammate Erika Tuttle, 6-1, 6-1. Tuttle (1-1) has a chance to join Conatsu in the Top 2 and the playoffs if she wins against FSM’s Paris Panuelo (1-1) today. In Pool B, Coume duplicated her older sister’s record after the former topped teammate Maria Gregoire, 6-4, 6-2.

“We had a very good Day 2. We won 19 games and lost 3, which were matches between our players. We won 86 percent of our matches and with these results, our players are in a very good position to make it to the playoffs on Thursday,” CNMI coach Jeff Race said in a telephone interview with Saipan Tribune last night.

“We had an upset in the boys U12, but I don’t mind because that game was between our players with Seung Jin beating Ji Min. Tomorrow (today) will be a crucial day for us because our players will be going up against the top-ranked players in their division. Game face is on and they should remain focus at the task on hand,” Race added.

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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