Team 5 led by captain Jimin Woo with players Sean Lee and Isabel Heras won the seniors division of the Marianas Invitational Team Cup last weekend at the American Memorial Park.
It was the first time the organizing Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association ever held a team tournament and Team 5 made history by not only winning the championship, but did so by sweeping all its matches.
Woo and company first drew Team 1 and totally dominated them via a score of 5-0. Woo started things off with a 6-2 win over Colin Ramsey in the first men’s singles. Lee then won with the same score against Isaac Heo in the second men’ singles, before Heras made quick work of Serin Chung, 6-1, in the women’s singles.
In the men’s doubles, Woo and Lee teamed up in dispatching Ramsey and Heo, 6-2. Lee and Heras then completed the shutout with a 6-1 victory over Ramsey and Chung in the mixed doubles.
Against Team 2, it was more of the same for Team 5 as they also pitched a shutout for their second consecutive match. First to go down was Moris Villanueva, who gave Woo a stiff challenge before folding, 4-6. Lee was then dominant against Jun Wang, 6-2. Heras then got the better of Tania Tan, 6-1.
Woo and Lee played a bit better than Villanueva and Wang to the win the men’s doubles, 6-3, before Woo and Heras made the coup de grace with a 6-3 triumph over Villanueva and Tan in the mixed doubles.
Team 5 had its biggest trial against Team 3 made up of Heimanarii Lai San, Andy Kim, and Hyejin Elliot. Woo was a 6-3 winner over Lai San, but Lee succumbed for the first time against Kim, 4-6. Heras gave Team 5 back the lead with a 6-2 win over Elliot before Kim and Lai San tied the head-to-head with a 7-5 tightrope in the men’s doubles against Woo and Lee. Woo and Heras then shut the door on Team 3’s upset hopes after outdueling Lai San and Elliot in the mixed doubles, 6-3.
Following a near collapse against Team 3, Team 5 went back to its dominating ways via another 5-0 wipeout of Team 4. Woo held Ken Song to love to win the opening men’s singles. Lee then squared off against David Kwon and the two played the longest match of the tournament that had the latter taking a marathon 7-6 (11) win over the former. Heras kept Malika Miyawaki scoreless in the women’s singles before Woo and Lee teamed up in turning back Song and Kwon, 6-4, in the men’s doubles. Woo and Herras capped Team 5’s successful run in the tourney with an impressive 6-0 win over Song and Miyawaki.
For the record, aside from an unassailable 4-0 record in the tournament, Team 5 also finished with an 18-2 record in sets. Team 3 was runner-up with a 3-1 record (12-8 in sets), followed by Team 4 at 2-2 (9-11 in sets). Team 2 and Team 5 brought up the rear with win-loss records of 1-3 (7-13 in sets) and 0-4 (4-16 in sets), respectively.
NMITA president Jeff Race congratulated Team 5 for winning the round-robin competition and thanked all the players for taking part in the two-day tournament.
“It was a great event and the first of its kind for a local event here. Many thanks to TanHoldings and TSL Foundation for their sponsorship of the event,” he said.
Results of the juniors division of the very first Marianas Invitational Team Cup will be published in tomorrow’s edition of the Saipan Tribune.