The CNMI’s Carol Lee is one step away from marching into the title game in the singles event of the Oceania Closed Junior Championships 2018 after recording another straight set win yesterday in Fiji.
Lee swept Australia’s Anastasia Berezov to bag one of the two semis berths at the lower half of the 32-player draw. The No. 4 seed eked out a 7-6 (3) victory in the opening set before easing past Berezov in the second, 6-3, to set up a showdown with another Australian bet in Annerly Poulos for a finals berth in the women’s singles play.
The No. 7 Poulos made it to the semifinals after stunning No. 2 Megan Smith in an extended quarterfinal game. Poulos took the first set, 6-4, but missed the early win with when Smith prevailed in the second in similar scores. Then in the deciding third set, Poulos completed the upset with another 6-4 triumph.
Poulos’ victory over Smith prevented Lee from arranging a rematch with the No. 2 seed player that eliminated the CNMI bet in the same competition last year. Smith defeated Lee in the quarterfinals of the B2 ranking tournament, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
This year, Lee and Poulos completed the list of seeded players that barged into the semifinals of the singles event, as No. 1 Valentina Ivanov of New Zealand and No. 3 Amber Marshall also made the cut. Ivanov ousted compatriot Elys Saguil-Ventura, 6-1, 6-4, for a Final Four collision with Marshal, who won the all-Australian quarterfinal tiff against the unranked Tayla Whitehouse, 6-4, 6-2.
All four semifinalists are already guaranteed to receive 60 ITF Juniors ranking points each. Two players could then increase their rankings points earned to 95 when they reach the finals, while the champion in the tournament will get 160.
Meanwhile, the CNMI’s Robbie Schorr would have to settle for 25 ranking points, as he and Jeremy Guines of Tahiti faltered in their semis bid in the men’s doubles yesterday.
No. 4 seed Cihan Akay and Nikita Volonski of Australia defeated Schorr and Guines in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-3, to move into the semis against No. 2 and compatriots Tristan Schoolkate and Dane Sweeny. Schoolkate and Sweeny also took only two sets to gain a semis entry following their 6-1, 7-5 triumph over fellow Aussies Chen Dong and Cooper White.
The men’s doubles semis will be an all-Australian affair with the duos of No. 1 seed Ken Cavrak and Rinky Hijikita and No. 3 Tom Evans and Stefan Storch squaring off for a finals berth at the top half of the draw. Cavrak and Hijikita advanced to the semis after eliminating Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy and Australia’s Kamil Kozlowski, 6-0, 6-2. Evans and Storch, on the other hand, took the long route to the Final Four round after slipping past New Zealand’s Isaac Becroft and George Stoupe, 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.
In the women’s doubles, Australia also dominated the semis cast with three of its teams advancing.
No. 1 Ivanov and Marshall topped compatriots Berezov and Maggie Pearce, 6-2, 6-3, to set another all-Aussie duel in the semis against Zara Brankovic and Poulos—a 6-0, 6-3 winner over New Zealand’s Sarah Weekley and Saguil-Ventura. In the other semis pairing, it will be No. 2 Grace Schumacher and Smith versus New Zealand’s Ema Miyaura and Jade Otway following their 6-3, 6-4 and 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 triumph against Roopa Bians and Lara Walker and Fiji’s Saoirse Breen and Samoa’s Eleanor Schuster, respectively.
In other results, the boys singles is down to four players with No. 1 Hijikita, No. 3 Cavrak, No. 4 Storch, and No. 6 Schoolkate qualifying in the semifinals.
Hijikita won over Akay, 7-5, 6-3; Cavrak topped Becroft, 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-5; Storch prevailed over Evans, 7-5, 6-2; and Schoolkate beat Sweeny, 6-3, 6-2.