CNMI junior players Isabel Heras and Malikawa Miyawaki are leaving Saipan early next month to compete in two tournaments in Australia.
The two Commonwealth players will be playing in the 2016 Margaret Court Cup and the 2016 Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships, which are tournaments organized by Margaret Court Tennis Academy. The first competition will run from Jan. 7 to 12 in Albury, while the second will take place from Jan. 12 to 17 in Wodonga. Heras and Miyawaki earned tickets to the two tournaments in the Land Down Under after their notable performances in the 2015 North Pacific Regional Championships and stints in the 2016 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships.
In the tournament in Wodonga, Miyawaki is entered in the girls U14 singles and doubles. So far 11 players are listed in the main draw with Fiji’s Saoirse Breen and Australia’s Chloe Breteton, Zoey Daggmarr, Sidni Finch, Mikelli Garratt, Sara Kostic, Chelsea McGrath, Elena Micic, Elana Nasr, Iva Pandurevic, and Mehirio Tauto joining Miyawaki.
In the girls U16 singles draw, Heras will be battling the division crown against Fiji’s Ruby Coffin and Vienna Kumar, Solomon Islands’ Vinda Teally, Samoa’s Anasis Saipele, and the hosts’ Polly Barnett, Sarah Coleman, Olivia Huang, Emmy Lappel, Kelsey Lewis, Julia Ramos, Laicy Nicole Rogerson, and Holly Smith.
In the Margaret Court Cup, which is named after the Albury, New South Wales player who won 62 Grand Slam titles, the players list is unavailable at press time, but Heras and Miyawaki are expected to compete in the team event on Jan. 7 and represent Pacific Oceania. Games from Jan. 8 to 12 are for individual singles and doubles events.
CNMI coach Jeff Race is hoping that the two junior netters will play a lot of good matches in the two tournaments in Australia.
“The competitions are tough, but our kids have done well there in the past. Both Carol Lee and Tim Quan are past champions. I know they (Miyawaki and Heras) will do their best to represent the CNMI well and it’ll be an opportunity for them to get a lot of really good matches,” Race said.
Lee won both the girls U12 singles events in the Margaret Court Cup and Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships in 2014, while Quan topped one of the boys U18 events sanctioned by Margaret Court Tennis Academy in 2005.