World-ranked player Carol Lee is a step away from advancing to the finals of the doubles event in Morocco’s RUC Tennis Junior Open.
Lee, who is ranked No. 330 in the world, and teammate Skyler Marie Grace Grishuk of the U.S. made it to the semifinals of the Grade 4 competition under the ITF Juniors Circuit after downing Great Britain’s Amarni Banks and Algeria’s Lynda Benkaddour in two sets last Wednesday at the Tennis Clos de l’aviation Route d’El Jadida in Casablanca.
The No. 1 seeded pair of Lee and Grishuk eked out a 7-5 win over their unranked opponents in the opening set before completing the sweep with a much easier 6-3 triumph in the second.
The victory was sweet revenge for Lee, who fell to Banks in the opening round of the singles division. The win was also the CNMI player’s second against Benkaddour, as the former topped the Algerian in their battle for the quarterfinals berth in last week’s ITF/CAT North African Circuit 2017.
After eliminating Banks and Benkaddour, Lee and Grishuk will face No. 3 and Switzerland’s Joanne Zuger and Morocco’s Oumaima Aziz for the finals ticket at the top half of the draw. Zuger—the sister of Sina who defeated Lee in the Round of 8 of last week’s Grade 3 tournament—and Aziz marched into the Final Four after a similar straight set victory against Switzerland’s Lea Magun and Australia’s Tina Nadine Smith, 6-4, 6-2.
The semifinal round of the RUC Tennis Junior Open will all feature the seeded players in the 16-team field, as the Final Four pairing at the bottom half of the draw will have No. 4 Astigarraga Harper of Spain and Daniella Dimitrova of Bulgaria challenging No. 2 Celestrine Avomo Ella of Gabon and Elena Gemovic of Serbia.
Ella and Gemovic barged into the semifinal round after easing past New Zealand’s Oleksadnra Kalachiva and France’s Ines Bekrar, 6-0, 6-4. Harper and Dimitrova, on the other hand, beat the Russian pair of Darya Mukhina and Daria Solovyeva in the first set, 6-3, before pulling off a tough 7-6 (3) victory in the second.
The semis games were scheduled to be played last night and results of neither match were unavailable at press time. The doubles champions of the third tournament Morocco hosted this month will receive 40 rankings points, while 30 will go to the runners-up. Lee, for making it to the semis, is already guaranteed 15 ranking points.