Mikayla Lopez pulled off an upset in the opener of the 2015 IT&E Northern Marianas Junior Championships, stunning her seeded opponent yesterday at the Pacific Islands Club hard courts.
Lopez swept the sixth-seeded Sabrina Mary Woll of Hong Kong, 6-2, 6-4, to join 15 others to the second round of the girls singles event of the Junior ITF competition. Lopez’s victory averted a CNMI shutout in Day 1 of the tournament, as her fellow Commonwealth players failed to survive the opening round.
Carol Lee battled through a sore ankle and blisters, giving the top-seeded Ayumi Hirata of Japan a scare in the first set before losing, 6-7 (3), 2-6. Following Lee to the exit door were Tammy Ackerman, Negahr Rastguiy, Isabel Heras, Julia Ishikawa, Tania Tan, Malika Miyawaki, and Ami Tsukagoshi.
The fifth-picked Ackerman joined Lee at the top half of the 32-player draw but fell to unseeded Kwan Wun Man of Hong Kong, 3-6, 2-6. Ishikawa and Heras were also at the upper half of the draw and bowed to Japan’s Ayu Sugiyama, 0-6, 1-6, and Haruka Hosino, 2-6, 1-6, respectively. Rastguiy won the opening set of her first-round game against Japan’s Yuna Fukumuro, but failed to march on after dropping the last two, 1-6, 1-6.
At the bottom half of the draw, Sakano lost to Japanese wild card entry Sakura Hondo, 2-6, 0-2, while Tan was also eliminated by another Japanese in Nagomi Higashitani, 0-6, 1-6, and Tsukagoshi got the boot from Ayano Shimizu, also of Japan, 0-6, 1-6. Miyawaki, one of the four wild card entries in the tournament, was the eighth CNMI player to be ousted by a Japanese player, falling to Risako Umekuni, 1-6, 2-6.
In other girls’ singles results in the opening round, the second-ranked Maria Dominique Ong of the Philippines eliminated Japan’s Akari Miyazaki, 6-4, 6-3, to set up a second-round meeting against Umekuni.
Completing the event’s second round qualifiers were Hong Kong’s Yuen Tung Liu and Japan’s Funa Kozaki, Chisato Hayakawa, Yuki Naito, and Makoto Ohara, who will be Lopez’s second round opponent.
Meanwhile, all five of CNMI’s bets in the boys singles were knocked out in the opening round.
Luther Lizama was pitted against the top-ranked Ching Lam of Hong Kong and the latter cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win. Colin Ramsey also had a tough opening assignment in Australian and No. 2 seed Jesse Delaney, who needed only two sets to beat the Commonwealth player, 6-1, 6-0.
Michael Ren and Robbie Schorr joined Ramsey at the bottom half of the draw and dropped their opening matches, too. Ren fell to Singapore’s Sherwin Foo, 1-6, 1-6, while Schorr lost to Japan’s Shinji Hazawa, 0-6, 0-6. Song suffered the same fate that hit Schorr, as South Korea’s Yohan Sung blanked the former, 6-0, 6-0.
Seven others survived their opening matches yesterday, while eight will battle for the four remaining second round berths when they debut in the Grade 5 event today. Japan’s Kento Yamada, James Kent Trotter, and Tomohiro Masabayashi, Singapore’s Enzo Chua and Shaheed Alam, Thailand’s Palaphoom Kovapitukted, and American Jack Pulliam downed their respective foes to make it to the second round.
Japan’s Kazuki Shimizu and German qualifier Marvin Bockers will collide today for one of the four remaining second round seats, while the three other first round pairings today are as follows: Hong Kong’s Fabien Calloud vs. Japan’s Rintaro Oka; Japan’s Rimpei Kawakami vs. South Korea’s Justin Cheun; and Japan’s Yusuke Miyai vs. Hong Kong’s Jonathan Zhang.