Julia Ishikawa needed three sets to thwart Mimi Sakano in their title showdown in the girls U14 division of the 15th PIC Tennis Championships.
Ishikawa pulled off a tough 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Sakano last Sunday at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts to bag her first U14 division crown under the 2014-2015 calendar of Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association. Ishikawa missed a podium finish in the season-opening Tan Holdings Tennis Classic and did not compete in last month’s Coconut Classic. Tania Tan and Sakano were the division champions in the Tan Holdings Tennis Classic and Coconut Classic, respectively.
Sakano moved closer to her bid for back-to-back division titles when she defeated Asia Raulerson in the semifinals of the upper bracket, 6-3, 6-1. Raulerson advanced to the semis following a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Grace Choi.
Ishikawa also took only two sets to make it to the finals after easing past Malika Miyawaki, 6-0, 6-1. Earlier in her first game, Ishikawa topped Conatsu Kaga, 6-1, 6-2, to march into the semifinals. Ishikawa kept her momentum in the first set of her title match against Sakano, winning by four points, but failed to close the finale early when the latter bounced back in the second set. In the deciding third set, Ishikawa regained her bearings to clinch her first division tiara this season and also her first in the same tournament. Last year, Ishikawa fell to eventual champion Isabel Heras in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Coume Kaga and Aditya Rai completed the tournament’s junior singles champions’ list, joining earlier winners Robbie Schorr, Luther Lizama, and Carol Lee.
Kaga defended her girls U12 championship after working out a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Erika Tuttle in last Sunday’s finale.
The victory did not only hand Coume her second straight division crown in the same competition, but also avenged her title loss to Tuttle in last month’s Coconut Classic. Conatsu bowed to Tuttle, 4-6, 3-6, in the second tournament of the season and during the Tan Holdings Tennis Classic she also fell short in her title bid, losing to older sister Conatsu.
Before settling the score with Tuttle, Coume downed Soleil Lamar, 6-1, 6-1, and Maria Gregoire, 7-6, 6-0, to make it to the finals. Gregoire won over Tiara Imai, 6-3, 6-4, to set a semis date with Coume.
Tuttle, on the other hand, defeated Erie Ortega, 6-0, 6-2, and Riko Ojima in the semis, 6-1, 6-3, to arrange a finals rematch with Coume, who prevailed in last year’s PIC tournament against Jireh Warren, 6-4, 6-7 (9-3), 6-2. Ojima advanced to the semis following a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 triumph against Ellie Epley, while Ortega eliminated Maaya Sato, 6-4, 6-1.
In the boys U12 age group, Rai survived two three-set matches in one day to win the division championship.
Rai first outlasted Sean Lee in the semifinals early Sunday afternoon, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, and then slipped past Ji Min Woo in the finals, 7-6, 4-6, 6-0, to rule the seven-player field and get his second division title this season. Rai claimed his first U12 division during the Tan Holdings Tennis Classic.
Rai was in the lower half of the draw in last weekend’s tournament and marched into the semis after sweeping Paik Seung Jin, 6-2, 6-0. Lee took the long route to his semis showdown with Rai after outclassing Daniel Kang in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
In the upper half of the draw’s semis pairing, Woo nailed a 6-3, 6-3 win over Coconut Classic champion Rintaro Miyawaki, a 6-1, 6-1 victor against Chris Kim.