Sakano, who fell short in his division title bid in the same tournament in 2012 and 2013, this time reached his target after beating Michael Ren in last Saturday’s finale, 6-2, 6-4, at the PIC hard court. Sakano, who lost to Christian Miller in the semifinals in the 2012 edition of the competition and was runner-up to Rafael Jones in 2013, got another shot at the boys U18 crown, following a 6-0, 6-2 semis victory over Vincent Tudela last Friday.
In the other semis pairing, Ren won via walkover against Jake Lee. Earlier in the quarterfinals, Lee eliminated Colin Ramsey, 6-4, 7-5, to bag the fourth and last semis ticket.
Meanwhile, five other junior singles events were played in Week 1 of the annual tournament.
In the girls U18 singles, Thea Minor successfully defended her championship. Minor, who is playing in her last junior year, survived two three-set matches to clinch the girls U18 tiara. She first slipped past Negahr Rastguiy in the semifinals, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0. The in the finals, Minor also dropped the opening set set Mikayla Lopez, 4-6, but came back in the last two, 6-2, 6-1, to retain the championship.
Lopez arranged a finals rematch with Minor after shutting down Carol Lee, 6-0, 6-0.
In the girls U14 singles, Isabel Heras swept all her foes to top the nine-player field. She completed her perfect record in the division after a 6-2, 6-1 title win over Tania Tan last Sunday.
Heras was at the lower half of the draw and started her bid with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 win over Julia Ishikawa. Up next for Heras was Malika Miyawaki, a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Ami Tsukagoshi, and the former won in straight sets, too, 6-3, 6-0, to set up a finals showdown with the top-seeded Tan.
Tan also needed only two sets in down Contsu Kaga, 6-3, 6-0, and Mimi Sakano, 6-2, 6-0, to bag the finals berth at the top half of the draw. Kaga forced a first round tiff against Tan after ousting Asia Raulerson last Friday, 6-0, 6-3, while Sakano barged into the semis after a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Grace Choi.
In the boys U14, Luther Lizama bested six other players. He notched the division championship after making short work of Ren in last Sunday’s afternoon title match, 6-1, 6-2. Lizama made it to the finals after eliminating Robbie Schorr, 6-3, 7-5, and Tudela, 6-1, 6-0.
Ren, on the other hand, needed only one victory to advance to the finals, downing Tony Kim in the semis, 6-3, 6-2. Kim dominated Woon Sun Cho, 6-3, 6-1, to move into the semis against Ren, who drew a bye in the opening round.
After falling short in his boys U14 singles campaign, Kim triumphed in the boys U12 division, defeating Ken Song in the finals, 6-0, 6-2. Kim clinched a finals berth after booting out Ji Min Woo, 6-1, 6-1, while Song booked a finals ticket, following a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sean Lee. Lee swept Daniel Kang, 6-1, 6-1, to arrange a semis duel against Song.
In the girls U12 singles, the finale went the distance with Coume Kaga slipping past Jireh Warren, 6-4, 6-7 (9-3), 6-2. The battle of the Top 2 seeds in the draw took place after Kaga and Warren gained two wins. Kaga edged Erika Tuttle, 6-4, 6-2, and Riko Ojima, 6-4, 6-1, in the bottom half of the draw. At the top half, Warren endured Maria Gregoire, 4-6, 6-2, 10-4, and had another close victory over Susan Sablan in the semifinals, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).