CNMI junior player Carol Lee capped her giant-slaying ways in Australia with a finals win in the girls U12 singles event of the 2014 Australia Post Margaret Court Cup yesterday.
Lee played in the finals against the top-ranked Kelly Gilmour of Australia and stunned her heavily favored foe in two sets, 6-1, 6-3, at the Albury Grasscourts in Albury, New South Wales. Gilmour was the fourth seeded player that was hit by Lee’s upset axe. The first three were the No. 3 pick Hana Kim, No. 6 Mia Repac, and the second-ranked Caitlyn Portera.
The CNMI netter clinched the girls U12 singles championships without dropping a single set. She was also the lone unseeded player out of 24 to finish in the Top 7.
With Lee gaining the girls U12 singles title, the Pacific Oceania ITF Touring Team closed out the four-day tournament with two championships. Tahiti’s Gillian Osmont gave the visiting squad the other championship after ruling the boys U10 singles. The team missed its third crown when Palau’s Ayana Rengiil fell to Australia’s Ivana Popovic in the finals of the girls U14 singles.
Meanwhile, in the girls U12 doubles, Lee and teammate Naia Guitton of Tahiti made it all the way to the quarterfinals. The Pacific Oceania ITF Touring team members won over Australia’s Ashleigh Simes and Brianna Smith in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, to march into the Round of 8. In the quarterfinals, Lee and Guiton were paired against the second-ranked Kim and Keona Mendis and ran out of gas in a lung-busting three-set game. Lee and Guitton eked out a 7-6 victory in the opening set, but missed a sweep when Mendis and Kim took a 6-3 win in the second set. Then in the deciding third set, it was a back-and-forth match with the ranked pair eventually pulling off a 10-8 thriller. Mendis and Kim went on to bow to Gilmour and Portela in the finals, 3-6, 2-6.
In other doubles results, the CNMI’s Michael Ren teamed up with Fiji’s Nicholas Yee Joy and won in the first round against Talen Andrews and Brock Krane, 6-2, 6-1. However, Ren and Joy failed to advance to the quarterfinals after losing to the top-ranked and eventual champions Thomas Pavlekovich-Smith and Timothy Karpinski in Round 2, 6-0, 6-2.
Another CNMI bet, Christopher Cajigan also played in a doubles event. He partnered with Fiji’s Shivneil Chand and drew a bye in the first round before falling to the six-ranked Thomas Bosancic and Ayrton Santos in the second round, 0-6, 3-6.
In the U16 singles, Cajigan made it to as far as the quarterfinals in the consolation bracket after beating Alexander Bielinski, 6-4, 6-4. The CNMI netter then suffered a tough 6-7, 7-6, 10-5 loss to Henry Minh Tri Tu in the Round of 8.