New doubles partners triumph


Moris Villanueva goes for a backhand return during his and Bobby Cruz’s men’s open doubles game against Michael Ren and Ken Song in the 8th TanHoldings Tennis Classic last Sunday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan courts. (Contributed Photo)

Former CNMI National Team member Bobby Cruz and Moris Villanueva were victorious in their first team up as they took the men’s open doubles title in the 8th Annual TanHoldings Tennis Classic.

Cruz and Villanueva were undefeated in the round-robin competition to clinch the division championship. The winning duo first coasted past Michael Ren and Ken Song in an early Sunday afternoon match at the Hyatt Regency Saipan court, 6-1, 6-1. Cruz and Villanueva then went to the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan court just a few hours after their victory to meet Donn Dunlop and Peter Loken, who came from a hard-earned 1-6, 6-2, 10-7 triumph over Ren and Song last Saturday. The new partners went on to prevail in their second and last match after registering a 4-1, 4-2 victory in their shortened game against Dunlop and Loken.

The win was a sort of revenge for Villanueva, who in 2014 lost to Loken and Luke Beling in the finals of the same division. Villanueva joined forces with fellow junior player Tommy Choi in their runner-up finish in the men’s open doubles two years ago.

In other results of the second and final week of the Tan Holdings Tennis Classic, Alex Park had a new partner in A.J. Hudkins and they gained the men’s 3.0 double crown against the former’s teammate last year Clayton Izuka and newcomer Chris Aninzo after posting a 6-0, 6-1 victory in the finals.

Park, who won the same division last year, and Hudkins marched into the finals after stunning the top-ranked pair of Randy and Richard Steele in the semis, 6-3, 7-6 (3). Park and Hudkins, who joined the same competition in 2015 with Haruya Eda and finished third, earlier eliminated Rintaro Miyawaki and Go Sekiguchi, 6-1, 6-1, to move into the Final Four.

Izuka and Aninzo, on the other hand, went through the eye of the needle to make it to the championship game. They slipped past Michael Jones and Sun Joon Tenorio in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-7 (8), 10-7, and then edged No. 2 seeds Allan Lee and Sam Ryu in the semis, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.

Meanwhile, another new partnership—Vickie Izuka and Chiharu Sato—triumphed in the women’s 3.0 doubles. The duo topped the division after getting a perfect record in two games. Their first win came against the tandem of Maaya Sato and Rei Sekiguchi last Friday at the Kanoa Resort court, 6-3, 6-1. For their second victory, Sato and Izuka played at the Hyatt court last Saturday and also swept Guinevere Borja and Gillian Villagomez, 6-2, 6-1.

Villagomez and Borja settled for the runner-up honors as they pulled off a 7-2, 2-6, 11-9 victory over Maaya Sato and Sekiguchi last Sunday.

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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