The CNMI’s Isabel Heras is in the second round of the 2018 Chuck E Cheese’s Guam ITF Junior Championships after winning her debut in singles play yesterday at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa courts.
Heras was pitted against Japan’s Chiharu Kobayashi and needed only two sets to dispatch her foe and move into the Round of 16 of the 25-player field. The NCAA Division II-bound Heras labored through a 7-6 (2) win over Kobayashi in the first set and went on to complete the sweep after prevailing in the second, 6-4.
The Marianas High School student, who signed up to play for Dixie State University last month, is at the top half of the draw and will face another Japanese player in the second round. Heras will be up against No. 7 seed Mua Shigeta, who made it to the second round following a 6-3, 6-3 victory over compatriot Momo Suzuki. If Heras upsets Shigeta today, the CNMI bet is headed for a possible quarterfinal collision with the No. 1 seed Ai Yamaguchi of Japan. Yamaguchi drew a bye in the opening round and is schedule to have her first match today against Japan’s Risa Ohno, who marched into the Round of 16 after eliminating the Philippines’ Anna Laura De Myer, 6-2, 6-0.
The ongoing tournament in Guam is a Grade 5 event under the ITF Juniors Circuit. It will award 30, 18, 9, and 5 ranking points to the singles champion, runner-up, semifinalists, and quarterfinalists, respectively.
A similar ranking tournament will be held on Saipan later this month with Heras and several other Commonwealth junior players expected to see action in the Northern Marianas Junior Championships.
As of yesterday, Heras, Carol Lee, Tania Tan, Malika Miyawaki, and Maria Gregoire are on the acceptance list. Participants roster won’t be finalized until a few days before the tournament kicks off. The Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association-hosted event will run from May 22 to 27 and some players competing in Guam will also join the Grade 5 tournament here.
In the boys division, Robbie Schorr leads the CNMI players on the acceptance list, which also includes Ken Song, Sean Lee, Jim Min Woo, and Seung Jin Paik.
Meanwhile, Carol Lee completed her tournament in Africa last weekend. She won her opening match in the doubles event in the Mediterranée Avenir held in Morocco, teaming up with Aleksandra Julia Jelen of Poland in downing Denmark’s Olivia Gram and Morocco’s Hindi Semlali, 6-3, 6-3. Lee and Jelen then lost to No. 1 seed Kamilia Rakhimova of Russia and Slovakia’s Lenka Stara in the Round of 16, 3-6, 6-3, 3-10.