Tennis tournament returns


In this 2020 file photo, Lydia Tan competes in the women’s singles event in the White Coconut Tennis Classic at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. (Saipan Tribune)

The Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association will have its first tournament of the season this weekend with the staging of the White Coconut Tennis Classic at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.

The White Coconut Classic will also be the first tennis competition that will take place on island since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

The NMITA will have 11 events for this year’s White Coconut Classic, including the main feature of the tournament—the mixed-up doubles. The unique event usually has adult and youth players teaming up, while other pairings have players with different skill level.

This season’s mixed-up doubles event has 36 teams with junior players Daniel Kang and Irin Chung getting the No. 1 seed in the 64-squad draw and adult player Dong Min Lee and junior player Hoo Wang taking the No. 2 seed.

In this 2018 file photo, Vincent Tudela, left, hits a low shot, while teammate Nason Wessel looks on during their game in the mixed-up doubles of the White Coconut Classic at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. (Saipan Tribune)

Seeded players are given a bye in the first round. Eleven other teams are seeded in the mixed-up doubles event. The list includes (No. 3 to 12 seeded teams) Simon Tang and Sam Ryu, Rafael Jones and Savita Sikkel, Cody Shimizu and Edwin Simbulan, Min Seong Kim and Sean Lee, Wataru Kadokura and Bishop Ryan Jimenez, June Yu and Gerald Boyer, Sam Culp and Gary Ramsey, Nason Wessel and Ami Tsukagoshi, Lina Tsukagoshi and Hye Jin Elliot, and Si Woo Lee and Andy Kim.

This year’s White Coconut Classic that will be played from Feb. 13 to 15 and Feb. 20 and 21, will also have competition in the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s over 40 singles, co-ed U10 singles, boys and girls U12 and U14 singles, boys U16 singles, and mini-tennis.

The men’s singles division has the most entries among the singles events with 13 players on the 16-player draw. Junior players Jimin Woo and Sean Lee are the Top 2 seeds in the division, while former junior player Colin Ramsey is seeded third and Sam Ryu—another junior player—is seeded fourth. Completing the men’s singles division field are Andy Kim, Mat Murphy, Quintin Ramsey, Jun Wang, Gerald Bouter, Isaac Heo, David Kwon, Vincent Tudela, and Jones.

Meanwhile, players in the other draws will be reported in Saipan Tribune’s Friday issue.

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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