Repeat for Race, Heras


Jeff Race makes a forehand return during his and Isabel Heras’ mixed open doubles game against Carol Lee and Steven Goodwin in the 8th Annual TanHoldings Tennis Classic last Sunday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Long-time CNMI coach Jeff Race and junior player Isabel Heras topped the mixed open singles event in the 8th Annual TanHoldings Tennis Classic after earning an unbeaten record in the weekend competition.

Race and Heras secured the division championship after sweeping Carol Lee and Steven Goodwin, 6-2, 6-4, in last Sunday’s game at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan courts. Heras and Race, who also ruled the same event last year, earlier eased past Wendi Herring and Martin Jambor last Saturday, 6-0, 6-1, for their first victory in the round-robin contest. Lee and Goodwin settled for the runner-up honors as they also prevailed against Jambor and Herring last Saturday, 6-0, 3-0 (retired).

In the mixed 4.0 doubles, No. 1 seed duo of Tania Tan and Clayton Izuka lived up to expectations after besting five other pairs. Izuka and Tan clinched the division championship following their 6-3, 7-5 triumph over the unranked Gillian Villagomez and Vincent Tudela in the finals, 6-3, 7-5.

Villagomez had a good debut in the annual tournament as she and Tudela pulled off an upset against the second-ranked Conatsu Kaga and Rintaro Miyawaki in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-4. Villagomez and Tudela marched into the semis of the lower half of the draw after slipping past Coume Kaga and Richard Steele, 5-7, 6-4, 10-6.

At the upper half of the bracket, Izuka and Tan bagged a Final Four berth after outclassing Malika Miyawaki and Alex Park, 6-4, 7-6. Park and Miyawaki, before their semis loss to the eventual champions, won over Ami Tsukagoshi and A.J. Hudkins, 6-1, 6-0.

Meanwhile, the pairs of Daniel Kang and Annie Lai, Sally Lee and George Lai, and Ken Imaya and Chie Sato completed the mixed doubles champions circle in the annual tournament.

Imaya and Sato posted the toughest finals victory in the mixed doubles competition as they labored for a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 against 2014 champion Marivic and Donn Dunlop in the over 40 category. Imaya, who gained the same division crown last year with Lydia Tan, and Sato were seeded second in the five-team contest and advanced to the title game after knocking out Sally Lee and Eric Van Der Maas, 6-3, 6-1.

The Dunlops, who were also the runners-up last year, earned a return trip to the finals after outlasting Mizuyo Otobe and Don Castillo, 6-4, 0-6, 10-4. Otobe and Castillo set up a semis duel against Marivic and Donn Dunlop after winning over Sam Lai and Merle Hudkings, 6-2, 6-3.

In the mixed doubles 3.0 division, Lai and Kang ruled the field after downing Grace Choi and Anthony Gregoire in the finals, 6-1, 6-4. The newly crowned champions moved into the title match following their 6-1, 7-5 semis win over Karen and Edwin Simbulan, while Choi and Gregoire took the other finals ticket after eliminating Mi Hye Park and Jun Wang, 6-0, 6-0.

George Lai and Sally Lee notched the mixed doubles over 50 crown after defeating Annie and David Lai in the finals, 6-2, 6-3. It took George and Sally also two sets to oust Karen Ramsey and Landon Nadler in the semis, 6-2, 6-4, while Annie and David duplicated the feat with their 6-3, 6-4 win over Kyoko and Tashio Matsumura.

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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