Woo, Elliot dominate open singles finals

Posted on Mar 29 2022

Jimin Woo, left, and Hye Jin Elliot won the men’s and women’s open singles, respectively, of the Bridge Capital Tennis Classic last Sunday at the American Memorial Park. (MARK RABAGO)

Top seeds Jimin Woo and Hye Jin Elliot outdueled familiar foes to win the men’s and women’s open singles, respectively, of the Bridge Capital Tennis Classic last Sunday at the American Memorial Park.

Woo beat second seed Colin Ramsey in the championship round anew in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. Last month, the senior at Saipan International School also bested Ramsey in the men’s singles finals of the 2021 White Coconut Tennis Classic.

It was a complete 180-degree turnaround for Woo as the day before the finals he struggled against Moris Villanueva in their semis matchup. With an apparent lower back injury, the 17-year-old needed a super tiebreaker to escape the upset axe, 6-1, 4-6, 10-5.

“I was able to serve normally when playing Colin so I was able to win more service games that match than against Moris,” he said after the championship game.

Woo said his lower back was really bothering him in the semifinals and it affected his movement on the tennis court.

“I took pain killers during the match and hit my serves very slowly. I was thinking about going underhand, but I felt that I could manage without serving it that way. My lower back was hurting when I served,” he said.

Ramsey booked a final tickets after overcoming No. 3 seed Sam Ryu, 6-2, 6-1. Earlier, he took out Tomas Abel, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to the quarterfinals. Woo started the tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Andy Kim.

In the women’s open singles, Elliot was again paired against close friend Serin Chung and won, 6-4, 2-6, 10-7.

She found herself down in the finals early so she had to catch up by playing more aggressively.

“I just knew I had to fight for the points as I was behind in the beginning. We were both tired but we tried our best to put our best efforts into the game,” she said.

Elliot and Chung have bigger fish to dry than the singles championship of the Bridge Capital Tennis Classic, as the two teenagers are set to try out for the CNMI National Tennis Team for this year’s Pacific Mini Games Northern Marianas 2022.

“We are currently preparing for the Mini Games tryouts. I am excited that I have the opportunity to be able to tryouts for the Mini Games. I have been training by going to the Mini Games practices every Saturday set up by coach Jeff [Race],” said Elliot.

Elliot advanced to the finals after beating Chung’s younger sister, Irin, 6-2, 6-3, while Serin defeated Hoo Wang, 6-2, 6-2, to enter the finals.

A few hours after facing off in the super tiebreaker finals of the women’s open singles, Elliot and Chung joined hands and played Mikayla Lopez and Tammy Ackerman in the women’s doubles finals. Experience won out against youth and they lost in another super tiebreaker. Elliot, however, took the loss in stride.

“I think Serin and I just needed to be more aggressive in attacking the balls in the game. But I think overall we played pretty well,” she said.

In the men’s doubles, top seeds Woo and Sam Ryu took the championship after surviving Ramsey and Bobby Cruz, 6-4, 6-4.

Ed Javier and Ronnie Lacbayo justified their top ranking by going undefeated in the men’s doubles 40 round-robin play. The duo won over Martin Jambor and Tomas Abel, 6-2, 7-6 (2), and Jorge Olanda and Jorge Poquiz, 6-4, 6-0, to win the division.

Javier and Lacbayo also ruled the men’s doubles 4.0 after blanking the Kadokura brothers, Yukataka and Wataru, in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

In the men’s singles 3.0, top seed Yutaka Kadokura got the better of second seed Kiwon Lee in the finals, 3-6, 6-1, 10-3. No. 2 seed Paul Jang, meanwhile, upset No. 1 seed Cody Shimizu, 6-1, 6-2, in the finals to win the men’s singles 4.0.

The Bridge Capital Tennis Classic is organized by the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association and will enter its juniors phase next weekend.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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