Japanese, Taiwanese rule ITF Juniors event


CNMI coach Jeff Race, left, Oceania Tennis Federation’s Patrick O’ Rourke, right join the Top 2 finishers in the girls doubles event of the 2016 IT&E Northern Marianas Juniors Championships during the awards ceremony at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts over the weekend. (Contributed Photo)

Players from Japan and Chinese-Taipei went home victorious after topping their respective competitions in the 2016 IT&E Northern Marianas Juniors Championships over at the weekend at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts.

In the boys singles finals, No. 1 seed and Taiwanese Cing-Yang Meng lived up to his lofty billing after spoiling the upset bid of unranked Japanese Seita Watanabe, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (4), yesterday. Meng moved into the title game following a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over another Japan bet Ryuki Matsuda in the semifinal game at the upper half of the draw last Saturday. At the lower half’s semis match, Watanabe edged compatriot Ryoma Matsushita, 6-2, 7-5.

In the girls singles, it was also a Japan versus Chinese-Taipei affair with the former’s Rika Tanaka averting a Taiwanese sweep after edging Yuelin Chen, 6-3, 6-4. The girls finale was a battle between the seeded players in the field with Tanaka the top-ranked netter and Chen picked at No. 4.

Chen was also the tormentor of CNMI bet Carol Lee, as the Chinese-Taipei player ended the host’s bid for a semis berth last Friday after pulling off a 0-6, 6-0, 7-6 (5) victory at the lower half of the draw. The Taiwanese then made it to the finals following a 6-3, 6-1 semis triumph over Japanese qualifier Saiki Oyama, a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 winner versus compatriot Mana Kawamura in the quarterfinals.

In the other quarterfinal matches, Tanaka dispatched Palau’s Ayana Rengiil, 7-6 (3), 6-0, while Hong Kong’s Yong Hi Wong stunned the No. 3 seed Sara Tsukamoto, 7-5, 7-5. Wong’s upset axe, however, did not work on Tanaka as the Japanese eliminated the Hong Kong player, 6-3, 6-1, to move a win away from clinching the division crown.

Meanwhile, Japan and Chinese-Taipei also split the doubles championships at stake in the Grade 5 tournament.

Watanabe, before losing in the boys singles, teamed up with Kai Kawano in prevailing in the all-Japanese doubles finals against Tsubasa Kato and Yusuke Miyai, 6-1, 7-5, last Saturday. The fourth-ranked Kawano and Watanabe book the finals slot at the upper half of the draw after pulling off an upset over the No. 1 seed pair of Ryuki Matsuda and Yohan Song last Friday, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Miyai and Kato, who were unseeded in the division, also stole the thunder from their ranked opponents, slipping past No. 3 seeds Ting-Hao Hsu and Wang of Chinese Taipei in the other Final Four pairing, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9.

In the girls division, Chen partnered with Ting-Chie Wei in rallying past the top-ranked pair of Tanaka ang Hong Kong’s Claudia Ng in the finals, 2-6, 6-3, 10-7. The No. 2 seed Taiwanese marched into the title game after a similar super tiebreaker win against Hong Kong’s Avril Look and Wong in the semis, 6-4, 4-6, 10-7. Ng and Tanaka, on the other hand, needed only two sets to oust Japan’s Yuna Fukumuro and Haruka Yoshino, 6-4, 6-1, to gain a finals entry.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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