Malika sweeps singles, doubles titles


Malika Miyawaki stretches for a return to Asia Raulerson during their girls U14 singles title match in the 2016 North Pacific Regional Championships last Saturday at the Pacific Islands Club courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Malice Miyawaki had a double celebration over the weekend after winning both the singles and doubles crowns in the girls U14 age group competition in the 2016 North Pacific Regional Championships.

Miyawaki first clinched the doubles crown with partner Conatsu Kaga after surviving a super-tiebreaker third set match against fellow CNMI players Asia Raulerson and Maria Gregoire last Friday at the Pacific Islands Club court. The eventual champions drew first blood with a 6-3 victory in the opening set, but failed to close out the match as Gregoire and Raulerson came out swinging in the second with an emphatic 6-1 triumph. With the game tied a set apiece, the two Commonwealth pairs had to play an extended game, which went down to the wire with Miyawaki and Kaga pulling off a 12-10 win.

The newly crowned doubles champions finished the rebound-robin contest with a 3-0 record, while Raulerson and Gregoire ended up with a 2-1 mark. The Federated States of Micronesia’s Isabel Garcia and Anne Skilling rounded out the Top 3 in the doubles as they earned a 1-2 mark in the competition following a 6-1, 6-1 victory over compatriot Tatiana Panuelo and Guam’s Jocelyn Tenai.

In the girls U14 singles, it was another all-CNMI affair with Miyawaki again taking the long route to the Promised Land after slipping past Raulerson in a super-tiebreaker third set finale last Saturday. Miyawaki cruised to a 6-2 win in the first set, but met a tough opposition in the second as Raulerson eked out a 6-4 victor to keep her title hopes alive. The deciding third was neck and neck in the early phase before Miyawaki gained momentum in the homestretch for a 10-6 title win.

With the victory, Miyawaki lived up to high expectations, as she was seeded first in the girls U14 singles. Joining Miyawaki and the third-seeded Raulerson in the Top 3 was No. 2 pick Conatsu, who finished third after sweeping Gregoire in the consolation match, 6-1, 6-1, last Friday. Earlier, last Thursday, Raulerson and Miyawaki downed Gregoire, 6-2, 6-0, and Conatsu. 6-1, 6-1, respectively, to arrange their final duel.

Meanwhile, the CNMI nearly swept the girls singles championships in the regional tournament as Conatsu’s younger sister, Coume, bagged the U12 tiara. FSM’s Sunshine Palik spoiled the host’s bid to dominate the finals after getting back at Grace Choi in the girls U16 title match.

Coume notched the girls U12 singles championship after outclassing FSM’s Ridianne Wolphagen, 6-3, 6-0. The CNMI bet made it to the finals after a similar straight set win over compatriot Marielle Lopez, 6-0, 6-1, while Wolphagen moved into the title match following a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Guam’s Kaia Malikooti. The Guam player settled for the third place honors in the singles division after a victory via walkover against Lopez.

In the doubles, Malikooti and Wolphagen denied Coume the sweep when they topped the singles champion and her partner Anika Camacho in the title deciding match last Friday, 0-6, 6-4, 10-8. Going into the weekend tiff, the pairs of Coume and Camacho and Malikooti and Wolphagen held identical 3-0 records.

In the girls U16 singles, Palik, who was stunned by Choi in their pool play match early last week, 2-6, 4-6, avenged her lone loss in the tournament following an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory in the finals. Palik’s sweep of Choi came just a few days after she eliminated another CNMI player in Mimi Sakano in the semis, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-1. Choi, on the other hand, took only two sets to knock out Anika Sachdev, 6-0, 6-2, to set up a finals date with Palik.

Despite falling short in their singles bids, Choi and Sakano still finished the tournament as champions after ruling the round-robin doubles competition. The CNMI pair went undefeated in three games, seling the division championship last Friday after dominating Guam’s Alyssia Merletti and Victoria Smith, 6-0, 6-2.

Besides the girls doubles and singles finals, the regional tournament also had the title deciding matches in the boys division over the weekend and complete results will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Tuesday edition.

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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