The CNMI’s Carol Lee is on course to a third straight singles crown after marching into the semifinals of the Oceania Open Junior Championships yesterday at the Regional Tennis Centre Nadovu Park in Fiji.
Lee, who won the 2018 Northern Marianas Junior Championships on Saipan in May and last week’s South Pacific Open Junior Championships 2018 in Lautoka, swept her way into the Final Four of the Oceania Open after eliminating three opponents. The No. 1 seed first downed the unranked Quianyu Liu of China, 6-0, 6-2, and then scored a similar straight win over No. 2 and Japan’s Mua Shigeta, 6-4, 6-2 to move into the quarterfinals. In the Round of 8, the CNMI player was pitted against another Chinese in Xiaoyan Xue yesterday and prevailed anew after only two sets, 6-1, 6-3, to move two victories away from ruling the ITF Juniors ranking tournament.
In the semifinals, Lee will be up against No. 5 and China’s Jingyi Wang, who worked out a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 triumph over No. 4 Jennifer Kida of the U.S. to earn the right to challenge the CNMI player for the finals berth at the top half of the draw.
At the lower half, the semis pairing will feature the unranked Japanese Kamami Hayashige versus No. 12 Manami Ukita. Yahashige started her upset run in the tournament with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Australia’s Elena Micic and then followed it up by booting out No. 11 Jing Yang of China, 6-2, 6-1. The eventual semifinalist also topped No. 6 and compatriot Mio Kozaki, 6-0, 6-1, to make it to the quarterfinals where she pulled off an upset against the No. 2 seed Wing Ka Lin of Hong Kong, 6-1, 7-5.
Ukita, on the other hand, advanced to the semifinals after ousting New Caledonia’s Clara Cwajgenbaum, 7-6 (6), 6-4; No. 7 and New Zealand’s Elys Saguil-Ventura, 6-4, 7-5; and fellow unranked Japanese Minami Tani, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Tani earlier in the first rounded defeated the CNMI’s Isabel Heras, 6-2, 6-1, while another Commonwealth bet—Conatsu Kaga—also dropped her opener to Australia’s Tama Bajagic, 1-6, 2-6.
In the boys singles, Robbie Schorr made it all the way to the third round. He drew a bye in the opening round and then swept Australia’s Stefan Milenkovic, 6-2, 6-3, to set up a battle for a quarterfinals ticket against No. 1 seed Mann Shah of India. Shah went on to eliminate Schorr with his 6-0, 6-0 win and also gained a semis entry following a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 triumph over No. 7 Kelvin Du of Australia.
The CNMI’s other bet in the boys singles—Ken Song—bowed to Australia’s Bryce Robinson in the first round, 1-6, 3-6.