Malika makes Pacific Oceania Touring team, again


The CNMI’s Malika Miyawaki, sixth left, poses with her fellow Pacific Oceania Touring Team players and their coach before playing against Australia in a team event in Brisbane last week. (Oceania Tennis Federation)

CNMI junior player Malika Miyawaki earned anew a spot on Grand Slam Development Fund’s Pacific Oceania Touring Team and competed in three tournaments in Australia last week.

Miyawaki, who was on the same elite squad that joined a series of competitions in the Land Down Under from December last year to early January this year, participated in a team event in Brisbane and also strutted her wares in two more regular tournaments in the same city in Queensland.

In the team event, Miyawaki joined forces with seven fellow Pacific Oceania players and a couple more from Asia and New Zealand and they defeated Australia’s representatives.

Up next for the 13-year-old player was the 2016 Rod Laver Qld Junior Championships and she had to go through a qualifying tournament to make it to the main draw. Miyawaki fought for one of the eight qualifying slots against 37 other players from New Zealand and Australia.

The CNMI player moved into the second round of the qualifier after a win via walkover against Nina Cincovic. Miyawaki then marched into the third round following an upset over the fifth-ranked Claudia Barnes, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. She went on to keep her streak in the qualifier and gained an entry to the main draw after winning over another seeded foe, No. 11 Ashleigh Ivanovski, 6-1, 6-3.

In the 64-player main draw, Miyawaki had the toughest assignment as she faced No. 1 seed Cyan Sun and lost, 2-6, 0-6. The second-ranked Roopa Bains won the singles crown after downing Sun in the finals, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (1).

In the doubles, Miyawaki paired with New Zealand’s Cayla Joy McInroy and they won their opening match against Kiwis Lily McCarthy and Hannah Morgan, 6-2, 6-4. The CNMI bet then met Sun anew in the second round and she and McInroy fell to Sun and Hana Kim, 6-2, 6-0. Top-ranked Bains and Sara Nayar ruled the doubles contest after defeating the second-seeded Sun and Kim in the finale, 6-4, 4-6, 11-9.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth junior player also competed in the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Rod Laver Lead and unfortunately she did not make the grade, losing in the third round after earning two wins. The Saipan International School student survived the first round with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Australia’s Margaret Jones and then swept No. 7 Savanah Dora Gillies, 6-0, 6-0, to move into the third round. With her 2-0 record, Miyawaki was just a step away from advancing to the main draw, however she fell short after bowing to Charlotte Rosemary Catherwood in the closely fought match, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (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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