The CNMI’s Robbie Schorr and Sean Lee made the grade in the opening round of the 2018 Northern Marianas Junior Championships after dispatching their respective opponents yesterday at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan hard courts.
Lee was paired against fellow Commonwealth player Seung Jin Paik and eased his way to the second round with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Next up for Lee is the No. 7 seed and Chinese-Taipei’s Ming-Chieh Chiu, who rallied past South Korea’s Sun Ann, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, in one of the matches at the upper half of the draw.
Schorr is also at the top half of the draw and eked out a 7-6 (5) win over South Korea’s Minsung Kim in the first set before cruising to a 6-1 triumph in the second to complete the first round sweep. Schorr capitalized on the exhausted Kim to notch the easy win in the second set. The searing heat took its toll on the visiting player, who had to call a medical timeout, as blood started to drip from his nostrils.
With the victory over Kim, Schorr arranged a second round duel against the Philippines and No. 3 seed Jose Antonio Tria—a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Japan’s Ewan Oguro.
Other second round qualifiers at the upper half of the draw were South Korea’s Junhyun Lee and Joseong Choi, Australia’s Rahul Desai, and Hong Kong’s Marvin Lee. Junhyun advanced after eliminating Australia’s Kolt Piggins-Massaad, 6-0, 6-1; Desai prevailed against the CNMI’s Jimin Woo, 7-6 (4), 6-2; Marvin Lee downed South Korea’s Donggyu Kim, 6-3, 6-4; and Choi ousted Australia’s Tomi Perica, 6-3, 6-1.
At the lower half of the draw, wild card Alexey Shtengelov shutdown the CNMI’s Ji Hwan Ryu, 6-0, 6-0, while South Korea’s Sukhee Ann scored a similar win over the CNMI’s Richard Steele to join No. 2 seed Guntin Sootinun-Opar of Thailand in the second round.
Four second round slots are left in the boys singles with the CNMI’s Ken Song and Seung Hyun Kim playing today and hoping to get those tickets. Song will challenge South Korea’s Ha-neul Choe, while Seung Hyun will meet the U.S.’ Maxwell Omalley.
Meanwhile, in the girls singles, the CNMI has only three players in contention after Maria Gregoire, Malika Miyawaki, and Tania Tan dropped their opening matches yesterday.
Tan fell to South Korea’s Min Kyo Jung, 3-6, 5-7; Miyawaki lost to Australia’s Sasha Nelson, 1-6, 0-6; and Gregoire bowed to Japan’s Nanami Katsumi, 0-6, 0-6.
Carol Lee, Isabel Heras, and Coume Kaga drew byes in the opener and will be playing their first game today. The No. 1 seed Lee will meet Japan’s Yuina Igarashi, who moved into the second round after knocking out South Korea’s YiSoo Han, 6-1, 6-2, while Kaga is pitted against Japan and No. 5 seed Mio Kozaki. Heras also has a seeded opponent in No. 8 Manami Ukita.
Completing the Round 2 qualifier were No. 4 Chui Kei Leung, South Korea’s Eunseo Yun and Gi Woo Choi, Japan and No. 6’s Sakura Kurokawa, No. 3 Ai Yamaguchi, No. 7 Mua Shigeta, and No. 2 Wing Ka Lin of Hong Kong.