MILLER, MINOR REIGN ANEW IN NPQ TENNIS
Miller topped the all-CNMI boys U15 championship game after sweeping teammate Jake Lee, 6-2, 6-2. The two Commonwealth junior players also collided in the U14 finals last year with Miller prevailing in two sets, 6-0, 6-3.
Before the NPQ, Miller was a bit sluggish in the past months, missing the 2011 CNMI Junior Championships in April and falling short in the U18 singles in the 2011 DFS Micronesian Junior Championships last month.
However, in Guam, the Saipan Southern High School student stepped up big time and swept all his games. Miller went 3-0 in pool play and did not drop any set. In the quarterfinals, he won over teammate Chris Cajigan on Wednesday, 6-4, 6-0. Then in he semis, he was pitted against the Federated States of Micronesia's T.J. Rush and triumphed in straight sets anew, 6-3, 6-3, to set up a rematch against Lee.
“In the finals, I saw Christian played his best game in the tournament. It was a hard fought match and he did very well against Jake,” CNMI coach Jeff Race said.
Duplicating Lee's feat was Minor, who was unbeaten in the round-robin U18 singles, notching six wins. She capped her undefeated record with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Palau's Abigail Gbewonyo yesterday. Minor won all her matches in straight sets to defend the championship she took against FSM's Alyssa Hawkins last year, 6-0, 6-2.
The strong CNMI Junior Team topped two more events, bringing its total to five. Rafael Jones was the first one to win a singles competition for the Commonwealth, ruling the boys U18 on Tuesday, while Carl Dela Cruz and Mikayla Lopez handed the CNMI two more victories after prevailing in the boys U12 and girls U15, respectively.
Dela Cruz pulled off a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win over home bet Derek Okuhama in the championship match yesterday. Dela Cruz swept his pool games and beat teammate Michael Ren in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-0, and another CNMI bet, Colin Ramsey, in the semis, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. Okuhama foiled an all-CNMI finals in the boys U12 when he downed Moris Villanueva in the other semis pairing, 6-4, 6-2.
In the girls U15 singles, Lopez finished Pool A with a 5-0 record. She advanced to the semis against Pool B second finisher Camden Nadler of Guam and won, 6-4, 6-3, to arrange a finals tiff against teammate Melody Johnson. Johnson also ruled her pool with her 5-0 slate and then thwarted Pool A runner-up Shawn Adams of FSM in the semis to make it to the finals. In the all-CNMI finals, Lopez reiterated her mastery over Johnson, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
The CNMI Junior Team missed a sweep in the NPQ when 2010 champion Negahr Rastguiy settled for second place in the girls U12 division after bowing to Palau's Ayana Rengiil. According to Race, before the title match, Rastguiy woke up vomiting and failed to hold her ground against the Palauan netter.