Carol rules Fiji tourney


Singles champion Carol Lee, left, and runner-up Ikumi Yamazaki pose with their special trophies during the awards ceremony for the South Pacific Open Junior Championships 2018 in Fiji yesterday. (Fiji Tennis Photo)

The CNMI’s Carol Lee had a triumphant return to Fiji after taking the singles crown in the South Pacific Open Junior Championships 2018 yesterday.

The No. 1 seed lived up to expectations after dominating No. 11 and Japan’s Ikumi Yamazaki in the finals, 6-2, 6-1, at the Regional Tennis Centre Nadovu Park in Lautoka.

The title victory over the Japanese was Lee’s fifth via sweep, as the Commonwealth eliminated her four other opponents after only two sets. In the semifinals, Lee defeated No. 10 Elys Saguil-Ventura of New Zealand, 6-3, 6-2, while earlier in the quarterfinals, the former topped No. 9 Mio Kozaki of Japan, 6-2, 6-2. The 16-year-old’s two other wins in the early games in the upper half of the draw were against Ayaka Koga of Japan, 6-0, 6-2, and versus No. 16 Komaki Ido of Australia, 6-2, 6-0.

At the lower half of the draw, Yamazaki stunned three higher-seeded opponents to set up a finals duel against Lee. The Japanese first ousted No. 5 Jennifer Ikida of the U.S. in the third round, 7-5, 6-1, and then booted out No. 2 Chiara Di Tommaso of Australia in the quarterfinals, 7-5, 6-0. For her last win in the tournament. Yamazaki recorded it against compatriot and No. 7 Kokomi Koyama, 6-2, 6-3.

Yamazaki attempted for another upset against Lee, but the CNMI junior player was on a mission and ended the Japanese’s giant killing. Lee came into Fiji to earn the championship she missed last year when she lost to Papua New Guinea’s Violet Apisah, 0-6, 4-6.

Meanwhile, Lee also played in the doubles, but missed a return trip to the finals when she and Di Tommaso fell to Yamazaki and Manami Ukita in the semifinals last Saturday. The No. 6 Japanese took only two sets to eliminate the No. 1 pair of Lee and Di Tommaso, 6-1, 6-3, however the former’s victory went to naught, as Hong Kong’s Wing Ka Lin and Jingyi Wang took the title after getting the win in the finals via walkover.

Before losing to Ukita and Yamazaki, Lee and Di Tommaso moved to the semis following their triumps over Japan’s Kanami Hayashige and Ayaka Koga, 6-4, 6-3, and Ivy Mclean of New Zealand and Helena Spiridis of Australia, 6-4, 6-1.

In other results, the boys singles championship also went to a No. 1 seed player in India’s Mann Shah, who defeated No. 11 Ayato Arakaki, 6-4, 6-0.

In the doubles, Shah teamed up with compatriot Aaryan Zaveri to slip past Japan’s Roya Ishi and Kamil Kozlowski of Australia, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 10-6.

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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