The CNMI’s title hopes in the 2016 IT&E Northern Marianas Juniors Championships now falls on Carol Lee’s shoulders.
Lee was the only Commonwealth player who survived the opening round of the girls singles competition after easing past Japan’s Yuna Ikita, 6-3, 6-1, yesterday at the Pacific Island Club hard courts. Lee is seeded sixth in the 32-player field and faced the unranked Japanese, who gave the home favorite a good fight early in the opening set before the former buckled down to work for the first round sweep.
The 14-year-old Lee won her opening match in front of her fellow CNMI players, who watched the first match on Court 2 in support of their teammate. However, Malika Miyawaki, Isabel Heras, Asia Raulerson, Tania Tan, Ami Tsukagoshi, Mimi Sakano, and Negahr Rastguiy failed to duplicate Lee’s early success.
Rastguiy, who returned to action after several months of break, played at the upper half of the draw and was beaten by No. 7 seed and Palau’s Ayana Rengiil, 6-0, 6-0. Sakano and Tan were also at the top half of the field and lost to Japan’s Yuki Sakurai, 2-6, 3-6, and Yuna Fukumuro, 0-6, 0-6, respectively.
At the bottom half of the draw, Heras fell to fourth-ranked Yuelin Chen of Chinese-Taipei, 1-6, 1-6, while Tsukagoshi bowed to her seeded foe—Mana Kawamura of Japan—0-6, 0-6. Raulerson and Miyawaki also failed to score in their losses to Japan’s Saki Oyama and No. 2 seed Claudia Ng of Hong Kong.
With the seven CNMI female players out in the singles event, they will try to make up for their early exit in the doubles competition, which will begin today. Heras will team up with Japan’s Sophia Hamada, while Tan will also have a Japanese partner in Mua Shigeta. Rastguiy and Miyawaki are also joining forces with Japanese bets in Nanari Katsumi and Sakurai, respectively, while Sakano will have Tsukagoshi as her teammate.
Lee, on the other hand, will work with Rengiil, who was also her teammate in the Guam tournament early this month. Incidentally, Lee and Rengiil will face Rastguiy and Katsumi in the first round of the doubles event, while the former will duel Avril Look of Hong Kong in the second round of the singles contest.
In other results, the three CNMI players in the boys singles were all eliminated.
The second-ranked Cheng-Chieh Wang of Chinese-Taipei booted out Ken Song, 6-0, 6-0, while Japan’s Fumiya Yoshino downed Robbie Schorr, 6-1, 6-0, at the lower half of the draw. At the upper half, No. 4 seed Ryuki Matsuda of Japan ousted Moris Villanueva, 6-1, 6-0.