Support for CNMI players in ITF Jrs. tourney sought


Carol Lee is back on island and is seeded first in this week’s 2018 Northern Marianas Junior Championships. (Contributed Photo)

The Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association is encouraging the community to rally behind CNMI players that will see action in the 2018 Northern Marianas Junior Championships.

“We will have our 14 junior players competing in this ITF Juniors tournament and we hope to see spectators at the court to cheer our players on,” NMITA official Jeff Race said.

The ITF Juniors ranking event will kick off today with matches in the girls and boys singles. Doubles games will also be played and the competition will run until this weekend at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan hard court.

Leading the Commonwealth’s charge in the Grade 5 event is Carol Lee, who is seeded first in the girls singles draw. Lee just planed in yesterday morning after competing and training in Africa and will play her first game tomorrow against the winner of the first round match between Japan’s Uina Igarashi and South Korea’s Yisoo Han.

Since she is favored in the tournament and playing at home soil, Lee admitted feeling the pressure of delivering the goods for the host country. However, she said she is up to the challenge, as she aims to pay back the support she has been getting from her fellow players, her family, and officials here by winning this week’s contest.

“It’s really good to be back home. I’ve missed my family and friends and there’s nothing like home. I do feel the pressure a bit, I won’t lie. I know there are expectations that I do well here and maybe even win. I am going to do my best. I’ve been training and playing on clay recently so returning to hard courts will take some adjusting. I am ready though,” Lee said.

Joining Lee on the girls main draw are Coume Kaga, Maria Gregoire, Isabel Heras, Tania Tan, and Malika Miyawaki. The Commonwealth bets will be up against players from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Chinese-Taipei, and Australia.

Kaga will be pitted against Japan and No. 5 Mio Kozaki in the second round, while Gregoire and Heras will face Japan’s Nanari Katsumi and No. 8 Manami Ukita in the first and second, respectively. Tan will challenge South Korea’s Min Kyo Jung in the first round today, while Miyawaki is paired against Australia’s Sasha Nelson.

In the boys singles, the CNMI will be pinning its hopes on Robbie Schorr, Richard Steele, Ken Song, Sean Lee, Seung Jin Paik, and Ji Min Woo, Seung Yun Kim, and Ji Hwan Ryu. Schorr and company will all play in the opening round today.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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