Woo sweeps pool play


Ji Min Woo returns a shot to Sean Lee during their game in last year’s TanHoldings Tennis Classic at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. Woo and Lee are playing in the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji. (Contributed Photo)

The CNMI’s Ji Min Woo was undefeated in pool play of the boys U14 singles competition in the rain-hampered Day 3 of the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships.

Woo wrapped up his Group A assignment with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Tonga’s Christopher Maasi yesterday in Lautoka, Fiji, to finish the elimination round with a perfect 3-0 record. Maasi dropped to a 2-1 record, losing to Woo in the battle for first place in the pool, however both players made it to the quarterfinals. Woo and Maasi’s Round of 8 foes have yet to be decided as only three games were played yesterday due to rain and make-up matches in the three other groups in the division and in the girls U14 and U16 and boys U16 singles will be played today. Playoff games will also take place today and each match will be shortened (race to 4 instead of 6 per set).

The other Group A match completed on Day 3 was between Vanuatu’s Warea Tigona and Fiji’s Avokask Kumar with the former winning, 6-0, 6-0, to avoid being shutout in pool play after dropping his first two games. Kumar was winless in three matches to miss the cut. Only the Top 2 teams in each group will advance to the playoffs.

In Group B, the CNMI’s Seung Jin Paik fell short against No. 2 Maui Leflon of Vanuatu, 4-6, 6-3, 7-10. Paik ended pool play with a 1-2 record and bowed out of competition, while Leflon (2-1) marched into the playoffs. Guam’s Andrew Leng and Tahiti’s Meheannu Larson will collide in a make-up game today for the second and last playoff berth in the group.

In Group C, Sean Lee (1-1) will challenge No. 4 Kelese Kofe of Tuvalu in another rescheduled match with the winner joining Tahiti’s Manovai Elie (2-0) to the next round.

In the girls U14 singles, sisters Coume and Conatsu Kaga will go for sweeps in their respective pools today with the former meeting Tahiti’s Kira Foing Loi in Group D and the latter taking on the Federated States of Micronesia’s Anne Skilling in Group C. The Kaga siblings are in the quarterfinals, but need to win their last pool play matches and the Round of 8 games to avoid crossing paths early in the playoffs.

In the girls U16 singles, Malika Miyawaki (0-1) must pull off an upset against No. 2 Naia Guitton of Tahiti in their make-up match in Group B today to remain in playoff contention. Grace Choi is in the same situation as she takes on No. 3 Eleanor Schuster of Samoa in Group D, while No. 1 and two-time division champion Carol Lee will go for a sweep in Group A to formalize her entry to the quarterfinals when she duels Tahiti’s Kava Taufa.

In the boys U16 singles, Robbie Schorr and Ken Song are out of the woods, while Michael Ren’s playoff chances will depend on the results of the make-up games today. Schorr (2-0) will face Fiji’s Shantanu Shail in Group C and a sweep will give the former the No. 1 spot in the pool. Ren is done in pool play in Group A with his 1-1 record and is likely to join No.1 and Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy to the next round, as the latter is expected to win against the Cook Island’s Elijah Amataiti (0-1). Ren is in Group D and must beat Marlin Hannam (2-0) of Vanuatu and hopes that Kristen Pavitt of Samoa loses to Tuvalu’s Gavin Molotii to keep his playoff hopes alive.

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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