Irin Chung and June Yu got their chance for redemption after being granted wildcard entries by the Oceania Tennis Federation to the 2022 Pacific Oceania Juniors Championships set for next month in Lautoka, Fiji.
Chung and Yu, both the CNMI’s top-ranked 14-year-olds in the sport, were upset by their teammates and missed the Top 4 in the recent 2022 Northern Pacific Regional Championships in Guam.
The 2022 POJC marks both netters’ debut in the regional tournament for juniors.
Chung said she will take full advantage of her second chance to represent the Commonwealth in this year’s POJC.
“I’m glad I got a wildcard to Fiji. I’ll be able to meet and play many more good players,” she said.
Reflecting on her loss to Hoo Wang that initially knocked her out of the POJC in Guam, Chung said she needs to play more consistently, especially during crucial stages of matches.
“In the match I lost in the super tiebreaker, I played really well in the first set but started making a lot of unforced errors and was very exhausted in the second set. I did not maintain the good play from the first set and did not play very well. I learned that I would have to build more stamina and train harder to be able to show my best performance in a match,” she said.
Like Chung, Yu is also excited to compete in his first ever POJC stint.
“I am happy to go to Fiji. I was happy when I heard of my wildcard entry and now feel I need to practice more,” said Yu.
The 14-year-old Mt. Carmel School student already knows what to work on before his POJC debut.
“I’ll try to make my serve in more and try to be aggressive.”
Earlier, 15 CNMI bets made the cut in the 2022 POJC and they include boys 16 and under’s Minsoo “David” Kwon, girls 16’s Serin Chung and Savita Sikkel, boys 14’s La Hunn Lam, Nason Wessel, Henry Choi, and Siwoo Lee, girls 14’s Hoo Wang, Hannah Chae, and Anna Kwon, boys 12’s Yutaka Kadokura, Ian Chae, Ryan Choi, and Jihun Park, and girls 12’s Lina Tsukagoshi.
Of the 15, Serin Chung and Lam went all the way to win the championships of their respective age groups.
The CNMI junior netters bound for Fiji will be coached by CNMI sports hall of famer and Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Federation president Jeff Race.
After an absence of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 19 junior netters from the Northern Marianas saw action in the 2022 North Pacific Regional Championships.
They duked it out against 16 players from Guam, six players from the Federated States of Micronesia, and five players from Palau.