Lee, Rai clinch doubles crown

Aditya Rai, right, makes a baseline return, while teammate Sean Lee also gets ready for a shot during the second set of their boys U12 doubles title match against Daniel Kang and Ji Min Woo last Saturday in the 15th PIC Tennis Championships at the Pacific Islands Club tennis courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Aditya Rai, right, makes a baseline return, while teammate Sean Lee also gets ready for a shot during the second set of their boys U12 doubles title match against Daniel Kang and Ji Min Woo last Saturday in the 15th PIC Tennis Championships at the Pacific Islands Club tennis courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Rivals-turned-teammates Aditya Rai and Sean Lee swept their games in last weekend’s 15th PIC Tennis Championships to bag the boys U12 doubles championship.

Rai and Lee, who collided in the semifinals of the boys U12 singles of the same tournament, this time partnered in winning the age group’s doubles event, prevailing in back-to-back matches last Saturday at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts.

The eventual champions were first pitted against the duo of Anthony Gregoire and Richard Steele and won the morning match, 6-1, 6-4. Lee and Rai then returned to the PIC court in the afternoon and also took only two sets to beat Daniel Kang and Ji Min Woo, 7-5, 6-4, to get the division championship. Kang and Woo settled for the runner-up honors as they topped Gregoire and Steele last Friday, 6-3, 6-2.

Three other junior doubles and two adults events were played in the final week of the tournament that was shortened as organizers were pressed to finish the competition last Saturday due to Tropical Storm Bavi.

In the girls U12 doubles, siblings Coume and Conatsu Kaga had their hands full, but still managed to notch the division crown following a 6-4, 6-1 win over Erika Tuttle and Maria Gregoire last Saturday.

The Kaga sisters played twice the same day. They started their busy schedule with a 7am match against Tiara Imai and Susan Sablan and they won, 6-2, 6-3. The Kagas then went from the tennis court to the swimming pool to compete in the Saipan Swim Club International Invitational Meet before returning to the former for their title duel against Gregoire and Tuttle.

Tuttle and Gregoire also had two matches last Saturday, sweeping Erie Kate Ortega and Soleil Lamar in the morning, 6-4, 6-3, to arrange a finals duel with the Kaga siblings. The pair of Maaya Sato and Hana Ojima was the fifth team to join the division and bowed out early after losing to Imai and Sablan last Friday, 2-6, 3-6.

In the boys U16 junior doubles, only three teams participated with the duo of Vincent Tudela and Steven Goodwin winning the championship. They downed Ken Song and A.J. Hudkins last Friday, 6-3, 7-5, and that seemed to be the deciding match, as the eventual champions earned a free win against Woon Sun Cho and Steve Lee last Saturday via default. Song and Hudkins also prevailed via default against Co and Lee to place second in the division.

In the girls U16 doubles finals, Malika Miyawaki and Julia Ishikawa defeated Ami Tsukagoshi and Mimi Sakano, 6-3, 6-4.

Ishikawa got her second doubles title as she also teamed up with Tony Kim in topping Song and Tania Tan, 6-3, 6-4, in the mixed 3.0 doubles finale. Kim and Ishikawa made it to the finals after a 6-4, 6-4 victory over husband and wife Jim and Mihoko Tuttle, while Tan and Song eked out a thrilling 7-6 (7-1), 5-7, 10-6 triumph over Sakano and Haruya Eda in the other semis pairing.

In the mixed open doubles, Luke Beling and Mikayla Lopez completed their title defense following a 6-3, 6-1 win against Peter Loken and Carol Lee.

Beling and Lopez, who won the round-robin tournament last year, boosted their bid for back-to-back championships after slipping past Bobby Cruz and Negahr Rastguiy in the semifinals, 6-2, 6-4. In the other semis tiff, Carol and Loken also needed only two sets to oust Donn Dunlop and Marivic Rosario, 6-1, 6-1.

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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