Carol eases through first round


Carol Lee, seen here in last year’s ITF Juniors tournament on Saipan, swept her foe in the opening round of the 2017 Oceania Closed Junior Championships yesterday at the Regional Training Center in Lautoka, Fiji. (Contributed Photo)

The CNMI’s Carol Lee needed only two sets to win her opening round match in the 2017 Oceania Closed Junior Championships yesterday at the Regional Training Center in Lautoka, Fiji.

Lee outclassed Australia’s Grace Schumaster in the first set, 6-3, and then demolished her Land Down Under foe in the second, 6-0, to cruise to the second round of the ITF Juniors event. In Round 2, the Commonwealth bet will be pitted against New Zealand’s Elys Saguil-Ventura, who eliminated Lee’s Pacific Oceania teammate Naia Guitton of Tahiti, 6-4, 6-3. Lee and Saguil-Ventura will battle for the quarterfinals slot today.

The fourth seeded Lee is at the lower half of the 32-player field and though she is among the favorites in the tournament, she does not want to think way ahead and be overconfident.

“I really want to win but I have to manage my expectations and just take it one match at a time. If I think ahead I could lose focus. There’s always pressure to perform well and my expectations of myself are always high regardless of seeding or draws. I’ve worked hard on the mental aspect of my game, trying to embrace the pressure rather than give in to it,” Lee said.

She added that the level of competition in the Oceania Closed Championship is so high that even seeded players should not be complacent or else they would find themselves out of the race.

“The competition is tough and all the players have worked hard to peak at this tournament as it’s the strongest ITF tournament in the Pacific every year,” the CNMI player said.

Several players ranked in the Top 300 are entered in the competition and also suiting up in the B2 tournament are nationally ranked players from Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, and American Samoa.

Lee’s fellow CNMI player Isabel Heras got a taste of the difficult games in the tournament after bowing to Australia’s Zara Brankovic, 0-6, 1-6, in yesterday’s opening round. Another Commonwealth representative—Robbie Schorr—also lost his first singles match when he fell to Aussie Dylan Heap, 0-6, 4-6.

Schorr will also play in the doubles and will team up with Guam’s Mason Caldwell. The CNMI-Guam combination will have its opening match today against Camden Camacho, also from Guam, and Marlin Hannam of Vanuatu.

In the girls doubles, Lee is joining forces with Australia’s Oleksadra Kalachova and the fourth-seeded pair will duel the Aussie duo of Isabella Bozicevic and Helena Spiridis today for a spot in the quarterfinals. Heras, on the other hand, is partnering with Milan Krish, also of Australia, and they will challenge Roopa Bains and Megan Smith.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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