World No. 220 Carol Lee is two steps away from bagging another ITF Juniors crown after she qualified in the semifinals of the 1st ITF Perlis Junior Championship 2017.
Lee, who swept Poland’s Natalia Michta in her opening game last Monday, eliminated two more opponents to make it to the Final Four of the tournament being played at the Tuanku Syed Putra Tennis Complex in Kangar, Perlis in Malaysia. The CNMI junior player got her second victory last Tuesday when she dominated the Philippines’ Melanie Faye Dizon, 6-2, 6-0. Then for her third triumph, the No. 2 seed Lee was pitted against Malaysia’s Elsa Wan and needed three sets to pull off the win and advance to the semifinals. Lee prevailed against Wan in the first set, 6-4, but failed to close out the match early when the Malaysian eked out a 7-5 victory in the second. Then in the deciding third set, Lee and Wan went back and forth, but the Commonwealth player proved to be steadier in the homestretch, escaping with another tough win, 7-5.
Lee, who owns two singles and two doubles ITF Juniors titles, booked one of the semis berth at the lower half of the 32-player draw and will face No. 3 seed and China’s Zheng Hua Xiao today for a finals ticket in the Grade 4 tournament. Xiao made it to the semis after beating Malaysia’s Nil Farah Fahrol Rodzi, 6-0, 6-0; Japan’s Nanami Saito, 6-4, 6-1; and South Korea’s Chae Hyun Sim, 6-3, 6-3.
In the other Final Four pairing, it will be an all-Chinese affair with No. 1 Jiaqi Wang taking on No. 6 Yijiao Chen. Wang has yet to drop a single set in the tournament, securing a semis spot at the upper half of the draw after sweeping No. 5 Ciara Di Tommaso of Australia. Che duplicated Wang’s perfect record going into the semifinals and set up a duel with her compatriot after ousting No. 4 and Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Astakhova in the quarterfinals, 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Meanwhile, in the doubles event, Lee, who is teaming up with Di Tommaso, was gunning for a semis ticket. The CNMI-Australian pair was scheduled to challenge Japan’s Akari Miyazaki and Yuki Sakurai in the Round of 8 match yesterday, but results of their game were unavailable at press time. The No. 2 seed Lee and Di Tommaso made it to the quarterfinals after outclassing Malaysia’s Chloe Jing and Hannah Yip, 6-2, 6-0.
The 15-year-old Lee is competing in Malaysia as part of the Asian Tennis Federation Touring Team. After this weekend’s event, she has one more tournament in Malaysia before heading to Thailand for two more competitions.