The Top 4 seeds in the girls doubles lived up to expectations, as they all made it to the semifinals of the 2018 Northern Marianas Junior Championships.
The CNMI’s Carol Lee and Hong Kong’s Wing Ka Lin, who are ranked No. 1 in the 10-team field, marched into the Final Four after sweeping the Japanese pair of Yuina Igarashi and Sakura Kurokawa, 6-0, 6-4, yesterday at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan hard courts.
The favored Lee and Lin will face No. 3 Manami Ukita and Ai Yamaguchi today for the finals berth at the upper half of the draw. Ukita and Yamaguchi earned a semis berth after downing South Korea’s Yisoon Han and Eunseo Yun, 6-3, 6-2.
At the lower half of the draw, it will be No. 2 Mio Kozaki of Japan and Hong Kong’s Chui Kei Leung versus No. 4 Nanari Katsumi and Mua Shigeta of Japan for the other finals ticket. The Japanese duo moved a step away from advancing to the title game following a 6-4, 7-5 victory over South Korea’s Ji Woo Choi and Min Kyo Jung. Kozaki and Leung, on the other hand, foiled the semis bid of the hosts’ Coume Kaga and Malika Miyawaki after posting an emphatic 6-0, 6-0 win.
Meanwhile, in the boys doubles, two seeded teams and two unranked pairs marched into the semis after yesterday’s matches.
The unseeded tandem of Ha-neul Choe and Donggyu Kim of Souht Korea pulled off the biggest upset so far in this Junior ITF tournament after ousting No. 1 seed Ryota Ishii of Japan and Jose Antonio Tria of the Philippines, 6-3, 6-2.
It will be an all-South Korean semis tiff at the top half of the draw, as Donggyu Kim and Choe will be paired against No. 4 Minsung Kim and Dong Gyu Oh, a 5-7, 6-3, 10-1 winner over Australia’s Alexey Shtengelov and Mitchell Brad Smith.
Siblings Suk and Sukhee Ann are the third South Korean pairs to barge into the semis after prevailing against compatriots Hoseonh Choi and Junhyun Lee, 2-6, 6-4, 10-7, in the battle of unseeded teams. The Anns will duel No. 2 seed Guntinun Sootinun-Opart of Thailand and Hong Kong’s Coleman Wong in the other Final Four match. Sootinun-Opart and Wong won over Aussies Rahul Desai and Tomi Perica, 7-5, 6-4.
In other results, Tria eliminated the CNMI’s Robbie Schorr after surviving an extended game yesterday. The Philippines bet won the opening set, 6-4, but missed the sweep when Schorr fought back in the second with a similar 6-4 triumph. Then in the deciding third set, the two players went back and forth before Tria eked out a 7-6 (1) win to move into the quarterfinals, which will be played today along with the matches in the girls division.