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Ryu, Tang triumph

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Simon Tang goes for a backhand return during his and Sam Ryu’s mixed-up doubles game against Bishop Ryan Jimenez and Wataru Kadokura in the 2021 White Coconut Tennis Classic last weekend at the American Memorial Park. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The first team up of junior players Simon Tang and Sam Ryu proved to be productive, as they ruled the mixed-up doubles event in the 2021 White Coconut Tennis last Sunday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.

Tang and Ryu lorded in over in the 36-team field with the No. 3 seed clinching the division title following a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 6 seed Sean Lee and Min Seoung Kim in the finals. The straight set win over Kim and Lee came after Tang and Ryu pulled off a 6-2, 6-7, 11-9 upset over No. 2 seed Dong Min Lee and Hoo Wang in the semis game of the lower half of the draw. At the upper half semis tiff, Kim and Sean Lee also stunned No. 1 seed Daniel Kang and Irin Chung, 7-5, 6-4.

In other results, No. 1 seed Nason Wessel swept No. 2 seed Yutaka Kadokura in last weekend’ s finale, 6-2, 6-3, for the successful title defense in the division. The 12-year-old Wessel also took two sets to beat Kadokura in the 2020 championship game, 6-0, 6-3.

Sam Ryu hits the ball from the baseline. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Wessel secured his second straight boys U12 crown without dropping a single set in Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association’s first tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. He eased past Ian Chae in the first round, 6-0, 6-1, and then topped Si Woo Lee in the semis, 6-2, 6-1, for a return trip to the finals.

Kadokura also swept his first two opponents, beating Jin Jun Park, 6-3, 6-2, and Ki Woo Lee, 6-3, 6-1, before falling to Wessel in the championship match. In the battle for third place, the winner was decided via super-tiebreaker third set with Si Woo outlasting his brother Ki, 2-6, 7-5, 10-5.

Meanwhile, Ji Min Woo, Peter Loken, and David Kwon joined Wessel on the singles champions circle after ruling their respective events last weekend.

No. 1 seed Kwon was undefeated in five games in the round-robin play to win the boys U16 singles title. He clinched the division crown after downing No. 2 seed Daniel Kang last Sunday, 6-2, 6-3. Kang got the runner-up honors, as his loss to Kwon gave him a 4-1 record in the competition, while Dev Bachani rounded out the Top 3 following his 3-2 mark. Cody Shimizu, Sam Culp, and Min Seoung Kim were the other competitors in the division.

Nason Wessel returns to Jin Jun Park during their boys U12 singles game in the 2021 White Coconut Tennis Classic last week at the American Memorial Park. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

In the men’s singles, the battle for the title was also between the Top 2 seed players. No. 1 Woo won over No. 2 Sean Lee in the finale, 6-1, 6-4. The straight set victory over Lee gave Woo a perfect record in the division, as the eventual champion also defeated Andy Kim, 6-1, 6-1, and Sam Ryu, 6-0, 7-5.

Lee, on the other hand, dropped the second set of his semis duel against Colin Ramsey before escaping with a 6-1, 4-6, 10-6 victory. Lee had an easier time in his first round match against Vincent Tudela, 6-3, 6-3. Ryu joined Woo and Lee in the Top 3 after slipping past Ramsey in the consolation game, 6-3, 2-6, 10-7.

In the men’s over 40 singles finals, Loken outclassed first time Coconut Classic participant Tomas Abel, 6-4, 6-4. Loken also took two sets to beat Paul Jang, 6-0, 6-0, and Dong Min Lee, 6-0, 6-2, for the finals seat at the top half of the draw. At the bottom half, the debuting Abel won over Bishop Ryan Jimenez, 6-1, 6-2, and Eric Abragan, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the finals. Abragan and Lee squared off for the third place honors with the latter prevailing, 6-1, 6-0.

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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