Jimin Woo and Sam Ryu justified their top seeding in the men’s open doubles after winning the division in the 2021 TanHoldings Tennis Classic last Sunday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
Woo and Ryu, who played against each in the finals of the boys 18-and-under just a week prior, defeated CNMI Sports Hall of Famer and many time national tennis coach Jeff Race and Luther Lizama, 6-3,7-6 (4).
It was the third championship of the tournament for Woo, as the 17-year-old Saipan International School student also ruled the men’s open singles as well as the aforementioned boys 18-and-under singles.
“I’m very happy that I got the win for both singles and doubles especially on my last TanHoldings tournament before I go to college next year,” he said.
Woo dedicated his championships to his father, Bongchun Woo.
“I dedicate these wins to my dad who is working in Korea. I haven’t seen him for a year and a half. He is the one who went out to the courts to train me every day. Without him I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.
Ryu, an 18-year-old student Mount Carmel School, said winning his first ever men’s open doubles was an unbelievable feeling.
“It is my first time winning men’s open doubles and I was so happy to play coach Jeff and Luther in the finals because I never thought I would play my coach in the tournament.”
He added that playing with Woo in the finals made him reassess his disdain for playing doubles in the past.
“I am also happy to play doubles and win with Jimin because he was an excellent partner for doubles. I didn’t like doubles before, but after I played with Jimin in this tournament, it made me a person who wants to play doubles in the future. It is always fun to play with Jimin who is also my friend. I always improve by playing with Jimin and it makes me more motivated to play aggressively and with confidence.”
Ryu added that either playing with or against Woo is always an honor because he is the kind of player you can learn tennis skills from due to his experience.
“I really don’t mind losing to him, but I always wanted to focus on having a great match so that my opponent can be satisfied as well. Playing him in my finals for 18-and-under and playing with him in the men’s doubles was so exciting and extremely fun. We had various plays that we thought of to win points and if I didn’t have a partner like Jimin, I don’t think I would’ve not succeeded.”
He also dedicated their men’s doubles open victory to himself.
“I am dedicating this to myself for my personal goal and to my family who is always cheering for me whether I win or not.”
In the men’s doubles 2.0, Dave Guerrero and Jim Tuttle took the championship after defeating Derek Culp and Rod Klasson, 6-1, 6-3.
“We just finished our match and it was fun. It was a very spirited match and we enjoyed it. They really gave us a scare at the end. I think we had them 4-1 and they came back at 4-3,” said Tuttle.
Guerrero said it was a very competitive match despite the final score. “At the very end, there was like deuce five times.”
Tuttle said he and Guerrero had incredible chemistry together despite the tournament being the first time they played together. Both hope the 2021 TanHoldings Tennis Classic will be the first of many more tournaments they will team up.
In the men’s doubles 4.0, Patrick Vincent Aquino won his third championship of the tournament after teaming up with Ronnie Lacbayo to beat Bong Gamab and Jun Javier, 7-5, 7-5. He previously won the men’s 4.0 singles and the mixed doubles 4.0.
Javier and Lacbayo came from being on opposing sides to teaming up in winning the men’s doubles 40 title when they outlasted Brian Wessel and Roy Pangelinan, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 10-6.
In the men’s doubles 50, Ken Imaya joined forces with Wessel and the duo triumphed over Pangelinan and Dong Min Lee, 6-3, 6-4. The winners in the men’s doubles 60 were Jorge Olanda and Joe Quitugua after they got the better of Lito Cabrera and Edgar Lloren in a marathon finals, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 10-6.
The results of the rest of the divisions of the 2021 TanHoldings Tennis Classic will be reported in tomorrow’s issue of Saipan Tribune.