Woo leads playoff qualifiers for CNMI


The CNMI’s Ji Min Woo serves to the Federated States of Micronesia’s Jones Neth George during their pool play game in the boys U12 singles event of the 2016 North Pacific Regional Championships last Tuesday at the Pacific Islands Club court. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Ji Min Woo swept his pool play matches to lead the CNMI qualifiers list in the boys U12 singles event in the 2016 North Pacific Regional Championships.

Woo shut down fellow Commonwealth player, Jae Hoon Soon, 6-0, 6-0, yesterday at the Pacific Islands Club courts to finish Group C with a 4-0 record and give the CNMI one of the four quarterfinals berths in the division. Joining Woo in the Round of 8 were Seung Jin Paik, Rintaro Miyawaki, and Richard Steele.

Paik also earned a perfect 4-0 mark in Group D after routing compatriot Andy Kim, 6-0, 6-0, on Day 3 of the regional competition, while Miyawaki placed second in Group B with his 3-1 slate after falling to the Federate States of Micronesia’s and top finisher Freddy Jerson, 5-7, 1-6. In Group A, Steele duplicated Miyawaki’s 3-1 card after eliminating fellow CNMI player Anthony Gregoire, 6-1, 6-1, yesterday.

Steele and company will play in the quarterfinals today with the former meeting the third-ranked Woo at the bottom half of the draw. Another CNMI vs CNMI Round of 8 tiff will be seen in one of the matches at the top half of the draw with the unranked Miyawaki facing the fourth-seeded Paik. No. 1 seed Andrew Leng of Guam and FSM’s Jones Neth George will collide in the other quarterfinal game at the upper half of the draw, while Palau’s Ton Lomisang Perez and Jerson complete the pairing.

In the girls division, Coume Kaga and Marielle Lopez made it to the semifinals and unfortunately, they will duel today for one of the two finals tickets. Kaga went unbeaten in Pool A with her 4-0 mark after defeating the fourth-ranked Ridianne Wolphagen of FSM, 6-1, 6-2, yesterday, while Lopez placed second in Pool B after prevailing in the three-way tie against fellow CNMI player Anika Camacho and FSM’s Paris Panuelo.

Joining Kaga and Lopez in the Final Four were Wolphagen and Guam’s Kaia Malikooti.

In the girls U14 singles, the CNMI got four of the eight quarterfinals slots with Malika Miyawaki, Conatsu Kaga, Maria Gregoire, and Asia Raulerson making the grade. Miyawaki came out on top of Group A with her immaculate 3-0 record after downing FSM’s Anne Skilling, 6-1, 6-2, while Gregoire took the other playoff berth in the same pool as her 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Guam’s Jocelyn Tenai gave her a 2-1 slate.

In Group B, the CNMI also had a 1-2 finish with Raulerson ranked first with her 4-0 card, and Kaga second after earning a 3-1 mark. Raulerson is at the bottom half of the draw for the quarterfinal round and will face Tenai, while Gregoire will square off against FSM’s Isabel Garcia. At the upper half, Miyawaki will meet FSM’s Tatiana Panuel, while Conatsu will challenge Skilling.

In the boys U14 singles, which follows a round-robin format with the champion to be decided by the final standings once each player completed six games, the CNMI’s Robbie Schorr is still ahead with his 3-0 mark, while Ken Song moved up to second with his 3-1 mark after slipping past former second place Tony Kim (2-1), 1-6, 6-4, 10-5, yesterday. Kim dropped to third place, while Guam’s Roman Merletti (2-2) is in fourth place and followed by the CNMI’s Sean Lee (1-2), Sam Ryu (1-2), and Eugene Park (0-4).

In the boys U16 singles, three Commonwealth bets secured quarterfinals ticket. The list includes Vincent Tudela, Michael Ren, and Steven Goodwin. Tudela finished Group A with a pool best 3-0 mark and will be paired against Palau’s Samuel Nillasca in the quarterfinals. Ren and Goodwin, on the other hand, will cross paths in the playoffs as the former topped Group C with his 2-0 record and Goodwin earned an even 1-1 mark in Group A.

In the girls U16 singles, the two CNMI representatives both made it to the semifinals and fortunately they will not face each other in the Final Four. Grace Choi swept her Pool A matches for a 3-0 record and will battle Guam’s Anika Sachdev in the semis, while Mimi Sakano will be up against FSM’s Sunshine Palik. Sakano ruled Pool B with a similar 3-0 mark to avoid an early collision against Choi.

Doubles results
Sakano and Choi paired in the girls U16 doubles and won their opening games yesterday after sweeping Guam’s Alexia Brown and Sachdev, 6-4, 6-4.

In the boys U16, Tudela and Ren are seeded second and automatically advanced to the semis opposite the pair of Guam’s James Hourican and Nillasca, while Goodwin and Jeffrey Seo were out of the contention after falling to FSM’s Sterkis Abraham and Joab William, 2-6, 0-6.

In the boys U14, Sean Lee and Ken Song and Tony Kim and Robbie Schorr won their opening games against Park and Ryu, 6-2, 6-0, and Merletti and Andy Kim, 6-0, 6-0, respectively. In the girls division, the CNMI pairs of Conatsu Kaga and Miyawaki and Gregoire and Raulerson also prevailed against their respective foes. The U14 doubles in both divisions have round-robin formats.

In the boys U12 doubles, Paik and Woo are in the semifinals along with the tandems of Sachdev and Dakota Gibson, Perez and Jonah Ziegler, and Leng and Thomas Ysrael.

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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