Carol reaches quarterfinals

Carol Lee, seen here in the Saipan-hosted Junior ITF World Tour event last year, is in the quarterfinals of both the singles and doubles divisions of the 2019 Oceania Closed Junior Championships in Fiji. (Saipan Tribune)

The CNMI’s Carol Lee swept her pair of matches in the 2019 Oceania Closed Junior Championships yesterday to remain in contention for the singles and doubles titles of the Junior ITF Word Tour event.

Lee first played in the singles division at the International Tennis Federation Regional Training Center in Lautoka, Fiji and topped New Zealand’s Jade Otway, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinals. The Kiwi earned the right to challenge the No. 1 seed Lee after slipping past Australia’s Shanelle Iaconi, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, in their first round match last Monday.

After eliminating Otway, Lee will face No. 5 seed Lara Walker of Australia for a spot in the semifinals. Walker moved into the Round of 8 after ousting fellow Aussie Catherine Aulia, 7-5, 7-6 (4) and New Caledonia’ Clara Cwajgenbaum, 6-3, 6-2. Walker will square off against Lee on Court 2 of the RTC with the winner facing the victor of the other quarterfinal pairing in the upper half of the draw—No. 3 Talia Gibson and No. 6 Mia Repac. The all-Australian duel was set up after Gibson eliminated Samoa’s Roselyn Tupuola, 6-1, 6-0, and New Caledonia’s Leylany Ipunesso and Repac downed compatriot Leanna Serna, 6-4, 6-1, and New Zealand.s Abby Mason, 6-0, 6-3.

At the lower part of the draw, the quarterfinalists were unranked Saoirse Breen of Fiji and New Zealand’s Vivian Yang and No. 2 Natasha Russell and No. 7 Amy Stevens of Australia. Stevens made it to the Round of 8 after beating fellow Aussie Elena Micic, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-0, while Breen advanced following an upset over No. 4 Roopa Bains, also from Australia, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 7-6 (3). Yang also stunned No. 8 Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz of Australia, 6-4, 6-3, while Russell booted out New Zealand’s Ana Tamanika, 7-5, 6-4.

Meanwhile, the doubles event is also down to eight pairs with Lee and her partner, Meeka Marshall of Australia, among the quarterfinalists at the bottom half of the draw.

Lee and Marshall marched into the Round of 8 after defeating Otway and Tamanika in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Next up for Lee and Marshall are the unseeded duo of Kempenaers-Pocz and Elena Micic, who reached the quarterfinals following a 6-2, 6-0 triumph against Tahiti’s Vaiani Dusserre-Valleaux and Tupuola.

If Lee and Marshall get through Micic and Kempenaers-Pocz, they will have a chance to play for a finals berth against the winner in the other quarterfinal match at the lower half of the draw—Iaconi and Zali Morris of Australia versus Aulia and Yang. Iaconi and Morris made it to the quarterfinals after laboring through 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 win against Mason and Sasga Nelson, while Aulia and Yang also needed an extended game to stun the second seeded pair of Talia Gibson and Repac, 4-6, 7-5, 10-8.

At the top half of the draw, No. 1 seed Bains and Russell led the quarterfinal cast, which also includes the New Caledonia duo of Ipunesso and Carolann Delaunay, Australia’s Stevens and Walker, and Aimee Brown and Sasha Situe, also from the Land Down Under.

Meanwhile, Sean Lee and Robbie Schorr bowed out of the doubles event of the Grade 2 tournament.

Australia’s Casey Hoole and Edward Vo, who are the No. 7 seed in the main draw, eliminated the unseeded Lee and Schorr, 6-1, 6-1, to barge into the quarterfinals against No. 1 Cihan Akay and Nikita Volonski.

In singles play last Monday, Schorr engaged Vo in a three-set match that the Aussie won, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Lee, on the other hand, was dominated by No. 1 seed Chen Dong of Australia, 6-0, 6-0. Both Schorr and Lee dropped to the consolation draw with the former going up against a qualifier and the latter battling Rahul Desai.

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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