The CNMI’s Carol Lee marched all the way to the finals of the doubles event of her debut tournament in Belgium.
The 17-year-old and her teammate, Skyler Marie Grace Grishuk of the U.S., advanced to the title game of the doubles competition in the 55th Astrid Bowl Charleroi/Belgian International Junior Championships after pulling off an upset over No. 3 seed and American pair Hurricane Tyra Black and Gabriella Price, 6-2, 6-4, in their semis game last Saturday at the Royal Astrid Tennis Club in Charleroi-Marcinelle.
Then in last Sunday’s finale, Lee and Grishuk were pitted against the unranked duo of Veronika Pepelyaeva and Avelina Sayfetdinova. The Russian pair, who moved into the title match after eliminating No. 5 Alexandra Eala of the Philippines and Annerly Poulos of Australia, 6-4, 6-4, ended up stunning Lee and Grishuk, 6-4, 6-2, to rule the tournament.
Despite the loss, the finals stint in the doubles event in the Belgian International Junior Championships is Lee’s best showing in a Grade 1 competition and this guarantees the CNMI bet 130 ranking points. Lee’s previous best performance in a Grade 1 event (doubles) was a semis appearance in the Copa Mundial Campache in Mexico in November last year. She had a pair of quarterfinals stints in a Grade 2 event in South Korea and Italy, was a Round of 16 qualifier in another Italian and Grade 1 tournament, champion of a Grade 5 event in Fiji, and a semifinalist in a Grade 4 competition, also in Fiji.
Lee, as of May 27, is ranked No. 126 in the world and is expected to climb up the ladder once the points she earned from her first tournament in Belgium are counted in. The junior player, who will lead the CNMI National Women’s Team in the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa this summer, achieved her highest ranking (No. 119) in March this year after winning a singles event (Grade 3) in Casablanca, Morocco.
Strong finish for Schorr, Song
Meanwhile, two more Pacific Games-bound tennis players, Robbie Schorr and Ken Song, swept their last two matches in the Pacific Nations Cup 2019 at the ITF Regional Tennis Centre in Lautoka, Fiji over the weekend.
Schorr and Song, who missed the playoffs in the main draw of the Men’s League, played in the games that determined the No. 9 to 14 finishers in the competition and topped the group after dominating the Fiji Development Team and Nauru in similar scores, 3-0.
Song shut down Nauru’s Robert Hubert and Schorr did the same to Dallas Addi, while the Commonwealth players completed the sweep last Saturday after whipping the pair of Hubert and Delvin Thomas, 6-1, 6-0.
Then last Sunday, Song also blanked Fiji’s Avikash Kumar, while Schorr coasted past Storm Cornish, 6-2, 6-2. The CNMI players needed only two sets, too in their doubles victory over Cornish and Shantanu Shail, 6-1, 6-4.
In other results, Tahiti won the men’s division of the Pacific Nations Cup after downing Fiji Men, 2-1, while Samoa took the women’s title after also beating Fiji, 2-1.