Five seeded CNMI players are in contention for the singles title in their respective divisions in the 2019 North Pacific Regional Championships.
Sean Lee and Hyejin Elliot, who are seeded No. 1 in the boys U16 and girls U14 singles events, respectively, No. 2 Sam Ryu, No. 4 Helen Kim, and No. 2 Daniel Kang all made it to the semifinal round after completing their pool play assignments yesterday at the American Memorial Park and Pacific Islands Club tennis courts.
Lee swept his pool play matches in Group A, earning a 4-0 record following a 6-0, 6-1 victory over fellow CNMI player Isaac Heo. Lee’s semis foe today is the unseeded Nolen Narruhn of the Federated States of Micronesia, as the latter finished second in Group B with his 3-1 record.
In the other semis match in the boys U16 singles, Ryu will duel No. 4 Deavyn Etscheit. Ryu topped Group B with his 3-1 mark, winning in the tiebreak against Narruhn and Guam’s Aidan Schembari. The Commonwealth player secured the first place finish in the group after crushing compatriot Cory Lee, 6-0, 6-0. Deavyn, on the other hand, earned a spot to the semifinals after stunning No. 3 seed and CNMI’s Eugene Park, 6-4, 6-3.
In the girls U14 singles, Kim and Elliot finished pool play with similar 4-1 records to march into the semifinal round. Kim swept her first four games before losing to Palau’s Galyah Mikel yesterday, 6-4, 3-6, 4-10, but still topped Group A, as she prevailed in the tiebreak against Elliot (head-to-head). Elliot, who fell to Kim last Monday, won her last pool assignment play after whipping Guam’s Randiann Atento, 6-0, 6-0.
With Kim and Elliot taking the No. 1 and 2 spots, they avoided an early semis collision, as the former will be pitted against No. 3 seed Leila Etscheit of FSM and the latter will face Guam’s Alicia Addison. Etscheit had a 3-1 record in Group B, while Addison was unbeaten in four games.
In the boys U14 singles, the CNMI will also have two entries in the semis in Kang and David Kwon.
The No. 2 seeded Kang ruled Group B, getting a 2-0 record after downing FSM’s Theadore Ned, 6-0, 6-3. Kang will square off against No. 4 Jacob Jackson in the semifinals, as the Guam player finished first in Group C with a 3-0 mark. Kwon also had a perfect record (3-0) in the pool play in Group D to earn a semis date against No. 1 Jones George of FSM. Kwon is the only unseeded player in the Final Four, while George lived up to high expectations in the elimination round, as he dominated the CNMI’s Eubin Park, 6-1, 6-0, and Guam’s Arjan Sachdev, 6-0, 6-0.
Meanwhile, in the U12 age group team event, Guam Girls 1 is still unbeaten in four games, while FSM 1 and CNMI Girls 1 are not far behind with identical 3-1 marks. Guam Girls 3 (2-2), CNMI Girls 2 (1-2), FSM Girls 2 (0-3), and Guam Girls 2 (0-4) complete the standings in the round-robin competition that has two playing days left before the winner is decided.
In the boys division, Guam 1 is ahead with its 3-0 card, followed by FSM 1 (2-1), CNMI 1 (2-1), Guam 2 (1-2), FSM 2 (1-2), and CNMI 2 (0-3).