The crowded mixed up doubles event in the 2018 Coconut Tennis Classic is down to eight teams with coach Jeff Race and junior player Juncheol Hwang leading the quarterfinals cast after the opening week matches were completed at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
The No. 2 seed Race and Hwang made it to the Round of 8 after sweeping Nason Wessel and Vincent Tudela, 6-2, 6-0, last Sunday. The Race-Hwang tandem, who slipped past David Kwon and Grace Choi in their opening match, 6-7, 6-3, 10-9, last Friday, will shoot for win No. 3 and a semis berth in the lower half of the draw when they take on No. 7 Helen Kim and Tania Tan in the quarterfinals. Tan and Kim earned the right to face Race and Hwang after ousting Ruma and Sean Lee, 6-3. 7-6.
The seeded teams at the bottom half of the draw are all accounted for with No. 5 Robbie Schorr and J.C. Ferrer and No. 4 Seung Won Lee and Moris Villanueva prevailing in their second round matches. Schorr and Ferrer eased past Steven Goodwin and Fanai Staffler, 6-1, 6-1, to arrange a Round of 8 tiff with the pair of Lee and Villlanueva, who also eliminated Richard Steele and Saorin Oh after only two sets, 6-1, 6-2.
At the upper half of the draw, three seeded pairs and one unranked duo made it to the quarterfinals. No. 1 seed Daniel Heo and Peter Loken advanced after beating Danny Lee and Roy Pangelinan, 6-3, 6-1. Loken and Heo will next challenge the unseeded Kazuma Nakabayashi and Dong Min Lee, who pulled off an upset over No. 8 La Hunn Lam and Ji Min Woo, 6-2, 6-4.
In the other Round of 8 pairing at the top half of the 32-team draw, it will be No. 3 Isaac Heo and Ken Song versus No. 6 Eubin Park and Michael Ren. Heo and Song coasted past Danny Jeong and Malika Miyawaki, 6-2, 6-1, while Park and Ren also took only two sets to knock off Minji Jung and Gary Ramsey, 6-1, 6-2.
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles, Schorr and Villlanueva, the Top 2 seeds in the division, are on course for a finals collision as they made it to the semifinals last week.
Schorr got a bye and an outright semis berth and will have to win over Ken Song to move to the title match. Song set up a Final Four date against Schorr after defeating Steven Goodwin, 6-4, 6-3.
Villanueva also needed only two sets to march into the semis as he topped Woo, 6-2, 6-3. The No. 2 seed Villanueva will meet Race in the semifinal game this Saturday, as the latter earned a Final Four slot following a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Tudela.
Besides the men’s singles and mixed up doubles, the 11 other events in the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association-sanctioned tournament will also resume their games this weekend, while final matches are expected to be played on Monday.