Lee, Woo boost finals bid


Sean Lee is seen here returning a shot to Ji Min Woo in a local tournament last year. Woo and Lee both made it to the semifinals of the boys U14 singles event of the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships after surviving the first round of the playoffs yesterday in Fiji. (Contributed Photo)

An all-CNMI finals in the boys U14 singles event of the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships looms as Ji Min Woo and Sean Lee survived the quarterfinal round yesterday in Fiji.

The No. 1 seed Woo moved one win away from advancing to the title match in the division following a 4-1, 4-1 victory over New Caledonia’s Terence Winter in the Round of 8. The unranked Lee, on the other hand, entered the semis after slipping past Guam’s Andrew Leng, 5-3, 5-4 (7). Earlier in a pool play game yesterday morning, Lee pulled off an upset over No. 4 and Tuvalu’s Kelese Kofe, 4-1, 4-2, to move into the playoffs, while Woo made the cut as early as last Wednesday after sweeping the elimination round.

Woo and Lee could secure the Top 2 spots for the CNMI today if they win against Tahiti’s Manovai Elie and Tonga’s Christopher Maasi, respectively. Elie barged into the semifinals after stunning No. 2 Maui Leflon in the quarterfinals, 4-1, 4-1, while Maasi also pulled the rug under No. 3 Mohearii Polin of Tahiti, 4-1, 5-4 (5) to set up a Final Four duel against Lee.

In the girls U14 singles, the CNMI is down to one player with the unseeded Conatsu Kaga marching into the semifinals. Conatsu eased her way to the Final Four after dominating the Federated States of Micronesia’s Ridianne Wolphagen, 4-0, 4-0. The older Kaga is still unbeaten in the division, as she also swept the pool games in Group C after topping FSM’s Anne Skilling in a make-up match yesterday morning, 4-0, 4-1.

Conatsu’s sister Coume was also undefeated in pool play following a 4-2, 4-0 triumph over Tahiti’s Kira Fong Loi in the Group D rescheduled match. However, the No. 3 Conatsu missed the semifinals after she was outclassed by unranked Penina Kamu of Samoa in the quarterfinals, 2-4, 0-4. Kamu will try to use her upset axe anew today when she takes on No. 1 Clara Cwajenbaum of New Caledonia, who advanced to the semis after a 4-0, 4-1 victory against Tahiti’s Celine Snogan. The other Final Four pairing will have Conatsu challenging No. 2 seed and the Solomon Islands’ Zorika Morgan, a 4-0, 4-0 winner versus Loi.

In the girls U16 singles, only Carol Lee survived the elimination round, as Grace Choi and Malika Miyawaki dropped their make-up matches yesterday. Carol went 2-0 in the pool play after whipping Tonga’s Kava Taufa, 4-0, 4-0, and the former moved into the quarterfinals against another Tongan player in Brookie Maasi.

Miyawaki bowed to No. 2 Naia Guitton of Tahiti, 0-4, 0-4, to go winless in pool play, while Choi finished the eliminations with a 1-2 record and missed the playoffs after a similar shutout loss to No. 3 Eleanor Schuster of Samoa.

In the boys U16 singles, No. 3 Robbie Schorr and the unranked Ken Song are left to carry the fight for the CNMI Junior National Team. Schorr ruled Group C after crushing Fiji’s Shantanu Shail in a make-up match, 4-0, 4-0, to advance to the quarterfinals where he will incidentally meet Song. Song had a 1-1 record in Group A. In Group D, No.4 Michael Ren lost to the unranked Marlin Hannam of Vanuatu, 2-4, 1-4, to fall short in his playoff bid.

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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