The CNMI’s Isabel Heras won ranking points from the New Caledonia ITF Junior Championships held in Noume last week.
Heras got 11 ranking points for making it to the semifinals of the doubles event of the Grade 5 tournament and quarterfinals in the singles. With the additional points, the NCAA Division II-bound Heras moved up to the ITF Juniors rankings and has a total of of 10. 5 (9 in singles and 6 in doubles). She started the year at No. 1,626 and as of June 18 is at No. 1,531, earning her first ranking points in the doubles after the semis appearance in New Caledonia. Heras achieved her highest ranking at No. 1, 329 in March last year.
The Grade 5 event in Noume was one of the two tournaments Heras competed in. She and Japan’s Julia Daiya Barden moved into the Final Four after slipping past No. 7 seed Gemma Cliffe of New Zealand and Kokomi Koyama of Japan, 6-2, 2-6, 11-9. Earlier in the quarterfinals, Heras and Barden swept New Zealand’s Emma Jane Barclay and Australia’s Munroe, 6-1, 6-3.
In the semis, Heras and Barden were pitted against No. 2 Ivy Mclean and Holly Stewart and the Kiwis won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Mclean and Stewart eventually topped the doubles event after outlasting No. 4 and Japan’s Pete Komada and Yukina Kubo in the finals, 5-7, 6-2, 12-10.
In the 64-player draw singles, Heras won her first two games to march into the quarterfinals. The No. 9 seed CNMI player downed Barclay, 7-6 (1), 6-4, and then defeated New Zealand’s Lara Mcnaughten, 6-3, 6-3, to book a quarterfinals berth.
In the Round of 8, Heras was paired against another Kiwi player in No. 4 Elys Saguil-Ventura and the latter prevailed, 6-0, 6-2. Australia’s Lara Walker won the singles event after beating Koyama in the finals, 6-2, 6-2.
Besides Heras, who will be playing for Dixie State in Utah this fall, three other CNMI players competed in the New Caledonia ITF Junior Championships.
Conatsu Kaga rallied past Japan’s Maki Kakizawa, 0-6, 6-1, 6-4, to take her opening match. Kaga bowed to No. 2 Sarah Weekley in the second round match, 1-6, 2-6. The Commonwealth bet also saw action in the doubles play with Fiji’s Ruby Coffin and they fell to No. 2 Stewart and Mclean, 0-6, 0-6.
In the boys play, Ken Song and Robbie Schorr dropped their opening matches. Schorr lost to New Zealand’s Corban Crowther, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, while Song was also beaten by the latter, 6-0, 6-2. In the doubles, the CNMI pair was defeated by New Zealand’s Patrick Joss and Jake Naylor, 6-2, 6-1.