Robbie Schorr defended his men’s singles title in the 2020 White Coconut Tennis Classic, but not after working his way to victory against a former NCAA Division 1 player yesterday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
Schorr, who clinched the 2019 crown in the same tournament after sweeping Jimin Woo, 6-3, 7-6, this time needed an extended game to make it back-to-back, as TJ Bellama proved to be a tougher opponent in their finals showdown. Bellama, who used to play captain for the Arizona State University men’s tennis team in the Pac-12, scored a 6-3 victory in the second set to deny Schorr the sweep in the finale. Earlier in the first set, the No. 1 junior player in the CNMI raced to a 3-0 lead en route to a 6-3 triumph to move closer to a successful title defense.
Then in the deciding super-tiebreaker third set, Schorr played steadier in the end to pull off a 10-7 win and spoil Bellama’s debut on Saipan soil.
The new Saipan resident was seeded No. 3 in the tournament and reached the finals after eliminating Sean Lee, 6-1, 6-0, Malika Miyawaki, 6-0, 6-0, and the No. 2 seed Woo, 6-4, 6-1. Woo, before losing to Bellama, made it to the semis following his 6-1, 6-1 victory against Jeff Race—a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Vincent Tudela in the lower half of the draw.
At the upper half of the men’s singles field, Schorr eased past Ji Hwan Ryu, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 4 seed Ken Song, 6-0, 6-4, to march into the finals. Song moved into the semis after laboring through a 5-7, 6-0, 10-7 victory over Colin Ramsey, while Ryu advanced to the quarterfinals after booting out Steven Goodwin, 6-2, 6-4.
Meanwhile, David Kwon, Ian Chae, and Wataru Kadokura won their respective divisions in the boys juniors singles.
Kadokura stunned No. 1 seed June Yu in the boys U14 finals, 6-3, 6-0. Kadokura was seeded No. 2 in the six-player field and moved into the title match after ousting David Bachani, 6-4, 6-3. Bachani set up a semis duel against Kadokura following his 6-4, 6-2 win over Danny Jeoung.
Yu, on the other hand, made it to the finals after a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Cody Shimizu, who marched into the Final Four after eliminating Jaden Hwang, 6-0, 6-1.
In the boys U16 singles title game, the No. 2 Kwon defeated the unranked Isaac Heo, 7-5, 6-3. Kwon escaped with a 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 win over Juncheol Hwang last Sunday to set a championship showdown against Heo, who pulled off an upset over No. 1 seed Andy Kim, 7-6, 6-1. Hwang also surprised Kim after taking a 5-7, 6-4, 10-6 win in their battle for third place.
In the boys U10 singles, Chae prevailed in the three-way tiebreak to secure the division championship.
Chae posted a 3-1 record in the round-robin competition and won the standoff after posting an 18-8 mark (games won/loss. Eamon Tang and Jihun Park also earned the same slates, but the former had an 18-14 record (games won/loss) and the latter registered 19-15 to drop to second and third place, respectively.
Meanwhile, results of other events in this year’s White Coconut Classic will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Wednesday issue.