Another title sweep is within Carol Lee’s reach, as she is still unbeaten in the Open BNP Paribas Junior de Nouvelle-Caledonie after yesterday’s matches at the Ligue Caledonienne De Tennis in New Caledonia.
Lee and her doubles partner Holly Stewart of New Zealand downed Japan’s Sakura Kurokawa and Erika Matsuda in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-0, to bag the finals berth at the lower half of the draw and set up the a championship duel against Japan’s Otoha Aoki and the U.S.’s Sara Tsukamoto. The No. 1-ranked Aoki and Tsukamoto also eased past Japan’s Hitomi Toyama and Rima Toshida, 6-1, 6-3, to arrange the title showdown between the Top 2 seed teams in the division.
Lee will be on a mission when she plays Tsukamoto and Aoki in the doubles finals, as the CNMI bet (with Palau’s Ayana Rengiill) also made it to the title game of the same tournament last year and lost to the Japanese and her teammate Koharu Nimi, 5-7, 4-6.
A victory over the No. 1 seed would not only avenge Lee’s defeat at the hands of Aoki and Nimi, but will also moved the Commonwealth player closer to a second title sweep in New Caledonia. Last week, Lee earned both the singles and doubles championships in the New Caledonia ITF Junior 2017 for her second and third title in the ITF Juniors Circuit.
The 15-year-old Lee could make it fifth in a row, as he is also in contention in the singles event of the Open BNP Paribas Junior de Nouvelle-Caledonie a after advancing to the semifinals yesterday.
The No. 1 seed Lee eliminated No. 5 Elys Saguil-Ventura of New Zealand, 6-3, 6-4, to take the first finals seat at the upper half of the draw. Incidentally, Lee will also face Aoki in the semifinals after the No. 3 seed Japanese ousted Australia and No. 9 Chiara Di Tommaso, 6-2, 6-0.
In the other Final Four pairing, it will be Helena Mohamed of France and Matsuda. The unranked Mohamed, who lost to Lee in the finals of last week’s tournament, barged into the semis following a 6-2, 6-4 victory over fellow unseeded player Milan Krish of Australia. The No. 12 Matsuda, on the other hand, posted the biggest win yesterday after pulling off an upset over the No. 2 seed Tsukamoto, 7-5, 6-1.
The ongoing Open BNP Paribas Junior de Nouvelle-Caledonie is a Grade 5 tournament that awards 30 world ranking points to the singles champion and 20 each to the doubles winners. If Lee gets the 50 points, she is expected to move up to the rankings anew after climbing from world No. 314 to No. 287 following her sweep in the New Caledonia ITF Junior 2017.