The CNMI Junior Tennis Team will begin its bid for an unprecedented Nations Cup three-peat when it plays in the 2018 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji today.
The Jeff Race-squad will have 13 players competing in the U12, U14, and U16 singles and doubles events against 16 other member-nations in the Oceania Tennis Federation. The winner of the Nations Cup will be determined by how players from each nation finish in both the singles and doubles competitions.
Robbie Schorr, Ken Song, Sean Lee, and Sam Ryu will be the CNMI’s bets in the boys U16 age group, while Malika Miyawaki, Conatsu Kaga, and Maria Gregoire will be suiting up for the women’s team. In the U14, the Commonwealth will be pinning its hopes on Ji Min Woo, Seung Jin Paik, Coume Kaga, and Hyejin Elliot, while the U12 squad has Anthony Gregoire and David Kwon as members.
Schorr, Lee, Conatsu, and Woo have been in Fiji for more than month, working out at the regional training facility there, while Race left Saipan with other members of the team last Friday and arrived in Fiji last Saturday. Coume came all the way from Japan.
Coume’s sister, Conatsu, will duel No. 4 seed and Tahiti’s Lea Lamorelle in her first game in pool play (Group D) on Court 1 at Nadove Park.
On Court 2, the No. 4 seed Song will take on another Tahiti player in Mohearii Polin in Group D, while the former’s three teammates will see action on Court 3. Elliot will face the Solomon Island’s Prudence Bird, Lee will take on Vanuatu’s Warea Tigona, and Maria Gregore will also meet another Vanuatu bet in Desiree Signo.
On Court 5, Ryu will square of with No. 2 and Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy, while Malika Miyawaki will have her first game against Samoa’s Luisa Tuasi’l.
In the U12 division (team event format), Anthony Gregoire and Kwon will be tested by Fiji’s squad.
Schorr, the No. 2 seed in the boys U16 singles, won’t be playing until tomorrow. He is in Group C with Tahiti’s Phillip Warren and the Solomon Islands’ Junior Micky. Woo and Paik will also have their first match on Thursday with the former in Group B with the Federated State of Micronesia’s Deavyn Etscheit, the Solomon Islands’ Lachian Guba, and Tahiti’s Ariitea Cotti-Helme and the latter in Group D with Tahiti’s Meheannu Larson, Samoa’s Raphael Tapusoa, FSM’s Jones George, and New Caledonia’s Tiaga Lopes.