2018 South Pacific Oceania Junior Championships (SPOJC)

Tournament Referee, Pat O’ Rourke, writes that:

” The 18th year of the SPOJC ITF grade 4 event in Fiji threw up a number of firsts. A girls qualifying was held for the first time and there were considerably more girls playing in the event than boys, the reverse of every other year. The doubles draws were also increased from 24 to 32 to cope with the numbers and allow the players in qualifying for singles to play main draw doubles. There were large contingents of players from Japan and Australia with smaller numbers from New Zealand, the Pacific and other Asian Nations with 17 nations being represented among the 116 players taking part.

The top seeds in the singles events Mann Shah (IND) and Carol Lee (NMI) were both ranked in the top 250 in the world and their play reflected their ranking. Shah went through the boys draw without dropping a set although he was pushed hard by Clement Mainguy (VAN) in the quarterfinals winning 6-2 6-4. In the final he overcame enthusiastic Japanese player Ayato Arakaki 6-4 6-0. Carol Lee was even more dominant in the girls singles and beat surprise finalist Ikumi Yamazaki (JPN) 6-2 6-1 in the final.

Shah backed up his singles win by combining with fellow countryman Aaryan Zaveri to edge out Ryota Ishii (JPN) and Kamil Kozlowski (AUS) in a thrilling doubles final 76(4) 67(3) (10-6). The girls doubles was a walkover victory for second seeds Win Ka Lin (HKG) and Jingyi Wang (CHN) due to a leg injury to Manami Ukita (JPN). It was a disappointment for Ukita and partner Yamazaki as they had convincingly beaten the top seeds Lee and Chiara Di Tomasso (AUS) 6-1 6-3 in the semi-finals.

As most of the players were staying for the second week grade 5 event, consolation singles events proved popular with 24 girls taking part and 16 boys. Also on semi-finals day a player party was held at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in the evening with Pacific Island entertainment and fire dancing. This was greatly enjoyed by all.”

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