Triumphant return for Tan


Lydia Tan steps forward for a return to Elizabeth Culp during their game in the women’s singles finals in the 2020 White Coconut Tennis Classic last Monday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Former CNMI National Tennis Team member Lydia Tan found success in her return to singles competition in the 2020 White Coconut Tennis Classic.

Tan, who donned the Commonwealth colors in the 2010 Micronesian Games in Palau, joined the women’s open singles event in Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association’s second tournament for the season and ruled the division. She clinched the championship last Monday after sweeping Elizabeth Culp, 6-1, 6-4, in their finals duel at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.

Last weekend’s tournament was the first time in more than five years that Tan played in a singles event so the title victory was unexpected.

The No. 1 seed Tan reached the championship match after blanking Seon Hee Kim last Saturday, 6-0, 6-0, while Culp, who was seeded No. 2 in the seven-player field, advanced to the finale following a 6-1, 6-2 win over Yuko Kumada. Culp earlier also took only two sets to beat Ella Kim, 6-1, 6-1 and move into the Final Four, while Kumada ousted Sarka Jambor, 6-2, 6-3, to set up a semis game versus the former.

Kumada ended up joining Tan and Culp in the Top 3 after a tough 6-3, 2-6, 10-8 victory over Seon Hee Kim in the consolation match that was also played last Monday.

Meanwhile, the girls U14 singles finale also featured the Top 2 seeds in the group with No. 1 Helen Kim living up to high expectations after downing No. 2 Serin Chung, 6-4, 6-3.

Kim automatically marched into the semis after getting a bye in the opening week and notched the finals berth at the top half of the draw following a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Savita Sikkel. Before bowing to Kim in the semis, Sikkel won over Seiyul Hong, 6-1, 6-1.

Chung, on the other hand, swept Seo Hee Lee, 6-0, 6-0, and Hoo Wang, 6-1, 6-2, to bag the finals ticket at the bottom half of the draw. Wang earlier arranged a semis match over Chung after booting out Yebin Shin, 6-1, 6-2.

In the girls U12 singles, Serin’s sister, Irin, defeated Anna Kwon in finals, 6-2, 6-0. Irin also had an easy semis assignment, as she topped Jeong Bin Park in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Park advanced to the Final Four round against Irin following a 6-2, 6-0 triumph over Isa Nishitani.

Kwon, before losing to Irin, dominated Ellie Cho, 6-0, 6-1, and Hannae Chae, 6-1, 6-2.

Elizabeth Culp eyes a backhand return to Lydia Tan during their title match in the women’s singles event in the 2020 White Coconut Tennis Classic last Monday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

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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