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DAY 5: FUTURES TENNIS TOURNEY

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Japan's Masato Shiga plays a forehand return to No. 5 Yuichi Ito in a semifinal singles match of the 2013 Lacoste GVB Futures at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa tennis courts. Shiga defeated Ito 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 for a spot in the singles final. (courtesy photo)

Japan’s Masato Shiga plays a forehand return to No. 5 Yuichi Ito in a semifinal singles match of the 2013 Lacoste GVB Futures at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa tennis courts. Shiga defeated Ito 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 for a spot in the singles final. (courtesy photo)

PRESS RELEASE – Japan’s Bumpei Sato saw an opportunity to close out the doubles final match and smashed it for a winner against compatriots and No. 1 seeds Yuichi Ito and Takuto Niki in the 2013 Lacoste GVB Futures at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa tennis courts.

Sato and partner Yasutaka Uchiyama, the No. 2 seeds in the doubles draw, won in close, straight sets 7-6(2), 6-4 over Ito and Niki, both of whom had just played in singles semifinal matches prior to their doubles finale.

In the day’s first match, Ito played an intense three-set match in the semifinals against fellow Japanese countryman Masato Shiga, but came up short 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. Shiga, a 21-year-old from Yokohama in the Kanagawa prefecture, avenged a previous loss to Ito in the quarterfinals of April’s Japan F4 Futures tournament. In Shiga’s run to the final, the unseeded, bespectacled player defeated Canada’s Eric Vehovec, dropped No. 3 seed and doubles partner Junn Mitsuhashi, then dismantled No. 8 Woong-Sun Jun’s game in the quarterfinals to set up the semifinal with Ito.

“I came into the tournament well-prepared mentally and physically,” Shiga said through a translator. “I have to believe I can win. In my matches, even if my opponent was ranked higher, I just tried not to make mistakes on my shots. To win in the final, I believe that good service returns will be key.”

Shiga will need an answer for No. 1 seed Saketh Myneni of India who has not yet dropped a set in singles play. Niki came close to stealing a set from Myneni in the semifinals, but the former Alabama Crimson Tide tennis standout denied his Japanese opponent, winning 6-4, 7-6(4) for his ticket to the finals.

The final singles showdown between Myneni, currently ranked No. 302 in the world and Shiga, ranked No. 995 in the world, will begin at 11 a.m. at Hilton. The community is welcome to watch. The tournament committee is selling tournament T-shirts for $10 each, as well as souvenir booklets.

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