Kim sets up semis duel vs Villanueva


Tony Kim goes for a smash during his and Michael Ren’s doubles match against Vince Tudela and Steven Goodwin in the 2016 CNMI Junior Tennis Championships last Sunday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The boys U18 singles competition in the 2016 CNMI Junior Tennis Championships is down to the Final Four after five games in the division were completed over the weekend at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.

Tony Kim, last year’s champion in the boys U14 singles, is among the four players left to battle for the U18 singles plum as he made it to the semifinals after sweeping Jimin Woo, 6-1, 6-1, in the upper half of the draw. Kim’s semis opponent will be the top-ranked Moris Villanueva, who moved a win away from marching into the finals after eliminating Ken Song, 6-2, 6-0. Ren, before faltering in his upset bid against Villanueva, advanced to the quarterfinals after downing Sean Lee, 6-1, 6-2.

Joining Kim and Villanueva in the Final Four were Robbie Schorr and Vincent Tudela. Schorr booked one of the two semis tickets at the lower half of the draw after dominating Steven Goodwin, 6-0, 6-1. Tudela, on the other hand, did not break a sweat in taking the second semis slot in the same group after a victory via walkover against the second-ranked Michael Ren.

The semis matches and finals game in the boys U18 singles will be played this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Final Four cast in the boys U12 and U14 singles were also completed over the weekend.

Lee rounded out the semis qualifiers in the boys U14 singles after shutting down his foe last Saturday. Lee posted his 6-0, 6-0 win over Ji Hwan Sam Ryu in the upper half of the draw to arrange a semis tiff against the No. 1 seed Woo, who got a bye in the opening week of the annual tournament.

The second-ranked Paik also drew a bye in Week 1 and was scheduled to meet Jack Jeong in the semis of the lower half of the draw late Sunday afternoon, but results of their game were unavailable at press time.

In the boys U12 singles, Paik is also in the semifinals, joining Daniel Kang, Rintaro Miyawaki, and Richard Steele.

Paik is seeded third in the division and barged into the Final Four after easing past Seung Won Lee, 6-0, 6-0. Paik will be paired in the semifinals against the No. 2-ranked Steele, who also needed only two sets to eliminate Andy Kim, 6-0, 6-1, and move into the next round.

The No. 1 seed Kang is also assured of a spot to the semis following his 6-0, 6-0 victory against Jae Hon Son, who marched into the Round of 8 after outlasting Chris Ryu, 4-6, 7-5, 10-3. Kang will go for the finals berth against Miyawaki, who pulled off an upset against the No.4-ranked Anthony Gregoire, 6-4, 6-0, to qualify in the semifinals.

In other results, Andrew Chung is ahead in the round-robin boys U10 singles as he completed the pool play with a 2-1 record. Chung got back-to-back wins last Sunday, beating Danny Jeoung, 6-0, and Min Gi Jung, 6-2, to make up for his opening day loss to Gregoire, 4-6. Gregoire has a chance to grab the lead from Chung and take the division championship if he wins one of his last two matches this weekend, while Jung is locked for third place following his 6-0 victory against Jeoung.

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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