Top seeds lead way in jr. tennis


Sean Lee makes a backhand return to Seong Eon Heo during the first set of their boys U14 singles game in the 2017 CNMI Junior Tennis Championships last Saturday at the American Memorial Park courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The top-ranked players in the 2017 CNMI Junior Tennis Championships lived up to high expectations as they survived the opening week of the competition at the American Memorial Park courts.

Robbie Schorr, who is seeded No. 1 in the boys U18 singles, slipped past Ken Song in three sets yesterday, 6-0, 3-6, 6-4, to move into the finals against Michael Ren. Song arranged a semis duel against Schorr following a 6-0, 6-4 triumph over Steve Goodwin last Saturday.

The unranked Ren, on the other hand, downed Tony Kim in his first game, 6-2, 6-1, and then pulled off an upset over No. 2 Vincent Tudela, 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the semis to set up a title duel against Schorr.

Other top seeds who boosted their championship bids in the singles events were JC Ferrer, Daniel Kang, Isabel Heras, and Sean Lee.

Lee advanced to the semifinals of the boys U14 singles after shutting down Seong Eon Heo last Saturday, 6-0, 6-0. Heo earned the right to face the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals after eliminating Jun Wang, 6-2, 6-4. Lee’s semis foe is Eugene Park, who ousted Rintaro Miyawaki, 6-1, 6-0, in the other Round of 8 match at the upper half of the bracket.

At the lower half of the 11-player draw, it will be Richard Steele versus the No. 2 rank Sam Ryu. Steele marched into the Final Four after beating Jaehoon Son, 6-0, 6-0, and Andy Kim, 6-0, 6-2. Ryu made it to the semis following a 6-0, 6-1 triumph over Hyunmin Cho—a 6-4, 6-4 winner against Seung Won Lee in the opening round.

In the boys U12, Kang eased his way to the semis after drawing a bye in the first round and winning over Brandon Lee via walkover. Kang will be pitted against No. 3 Jae Yun Jung, who knocked out Park, 7-5, 6-4. The other semis pairing will have the No. 4 seed Andrew Chung facing the unranked Jiwoong Kwon. Chung eked out a 6-4, 7-5, 10-8 victory against Danny Lee to book a semis ticket, while Kwon eliminated Ming Gi Jung, 7-5, 6-0, and then stunned No. 2 seed Anthony Gregoire, 6-1, 6-3, to complete the Final Four cast in the division.

In the girls U12 singles, Ferrer headlines the semifinalists as she got a bye in the opening week and automatically moved into the Final Four opposite Helen Kim—a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Olivia Hwang. Yejin Son and Hye Jin Elliot also qualified in the semifinals after downing Ashley Choi, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 2 Annika Camacho, 6-4, 6-3, respectively.

In the girls U18 singles, the favored Heras went 2-0 in the round-robin contest to remain in the title contention. She first defeated Malika Miyawaki, 6-3, 6-3, and then also swept Grace Choi, 6-1, 6-4. Heras will be dueling Tania Tan this weekend to determine the champion in the division. Tan has a perfect record, too, having beaten Choi last Saturday, 6-1, 6-0, and Miyawaki yesterday, 6-4, 6-4.

Meanwhile, results in other singles and the complete doubles events will be reported later this week.

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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