The CNMI’s Carol Lee stayed on course in her title bid in the New Caledonia ITF Junior 2017 after winning her first game at the Ligue Caledonienne De Tennis in Noumea yesterday.
Lee, who is the No. 1 seed in the Juniors ITF Circuit event and drew a bye in the opening round, dominated Japan’s Hitomi Toyama, 6-1, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals. In the Round of 8, which will be played today, the 15-year-old will be paired against a familiar foe in No. 6 Chiara Di Tommaso of Australia. Lee faced Di Tommaso twice last year, beating the Land Down Under player in their Round of 16 game in the 2016 Open Junior BNP PARIBAS de Nouvelle-Caledonie, 6-1, 6-1, before losing in the doubles (with Palau’s Ayana Rengiil) in the semifinals of the ITF Waikato-Bays Under 18s Championships in New Zealand. Di Tommaso arranged her third meeting with Lee after ousting the host’s Lysiane Moto-Nekiriai yesterday, 6-0, 6-2.
Lee’s victory yesterday made her the only CNMI player in contention in the singles play, as both Carol Heras and Robbie Schorr were eliminated in the second round. Heras bowed to France’s Helena Mohamed yesterday, 0-6, 0-6, while Schorr fell to No. 13 seed Matteo Savio of Australia in a three-set game last Tuesday. Savio took the opening set, 6-3, but missed the sweep when Schorr pulled off a 7-5 triumph in the second. Then in the deciding third set, Savio regained his bearings to foil the CNMI bet’s upset bid, 6-4.
Meanwhile, in the doubles event, Heras is still in the race as she and teammate Sophie Michl of New Zealand survived the Japanese duo of Toyama and Rima Yoshida in the opening round yesterday. Heras and Michl, who are seeded third in the field, dropped the closely fought first set, 6-7 (5), but fought back with a tough victory in the second, 7-5, to extend the match. In the super-tiebreaker third set, the CNMI-New Zealand pairing managed to dominate their Japanese foes, cruising to a 10-3 triumph.
With the win, Heras and Michl may cross path with the No. 1 seed Lee and Holly Stewart of New Zealand in the semifinals of the upper half of the draw. Heras and Michl are scheduled to challenge today New Caledonia’s Moto-Nekiriai and Lea Bolo, who also came from a hard-earned 6-2, 6-7 (3), 10-4 victory over Singapore’s Julia Barden and Vanuatu’s Rosalie Molbaleh to move into the quarterfinals.
The other quarterfinal pairing at the top half of the draw will have Lee and Stewart squaring off against Australia’s Milan Krish and Julia Varvarios, who eliminated the Kiwi duo of Aimee Brown and Alysha Nowacki, 6-3, 7-5.
At the bottom half of the draw, the quarterfinalists were Di Tommaso and Grace Schumacher, New Zealand’s Amelia Lawson and Sarah Weekley and Lara McNaughten and Ema Miyaura, and No. 2 seeds Otaha Aoki of Japan and Singapore’s Ashley Yim.