Carol stays in contention


Carol Lee gets ready to serve during a single match in last month’s Juniors ITF event on Saipan. She is now in Fiji and marched into the quarterfinals of the South Pacific Open Junior Championships 2018. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Carol Lee is the lone CNMI player left standing in the South Pacific Open Junior Championships 2018 as she advanced to the quarterfinals of the ranking tournament in Fiji.

Lee is seeded No. 1 in the Grade 4 competition and made it to the Round of 8 after sweeping her first two games at the Regional Tennis Centre Nadovu Park in Lautoka. The Commonwealth player dominated Japan’s Ayaka Koga in the second round last Wednesday, 6-0, 6-2, and then also took only two sets to beat No. 16 Komaki Ido of Australia yesterday, 6-2, 6-0, to stay on course of winning the singles championship that eluded her last year.

The 16-year-old player bowed to Papua New Guinea’ Violet Apisah in the singles finals, 0-6, 4-6, and also faltered in the doubles title game when she and Maxine Ng of Singapore were defeated by Violet and Patricia Apisah, 6-0, 7-6 (3). Lee had a chance to return to the tournament and make up for the pair of losses last year, as she has been in Fiji for about a month, training at the regional facility along with six other CNMI players.

Isabel Heras and Conatsu Kaga joined Lee in the singles main draw, but dropped their opening matches. Qualifier and Australia’s Ella Fraser downed Heras, 6-2, 6-1, while China’s Yujia Ma swept Kaga, 6-1, 6-3.

In other results in the girls singles, four other players qualified to the quarterfinals. The list includes No. 4 and Australia’s Helena Spiridis and No. 10 and New Zealand’s Elys Saguil-Ventura, who may take on Lee in the semifinals if the CNMI player prevails in today’s quarterfinal game. Lee will be pitted against the winner in the match between No. 9 Mio Kozaki of Japan and No. 8 Patricia Apisah.

In the doubles play, Lee and Australia’s Chiara Di Tommaso drew a bye in the first round and will face the unranked pair of Kanami Hayashige and Ayaka Koga of Japan in Round 2. The Japanese duo advanced following a tough 4-6, 6-3, 10-4 triumph over compatriot Julia Daiya Barden and Heras.

Kaga is also entered in the doubles event and will team- up with the Solomon Islands’ Zorika Morgan. The Pacific Oceania pair will challenge No. 3 Kokomi Koyama and Kozaki of Japan in the first round.

Meanwhile, Robbie Schorr won his opening match in the boys singles after topping Australia’s Darcy Nicholls, 6-4, 7-5. Up next for Schorr was No. 14 Satchel Benn and the New Zealand player eliminated the CNMI bet, 7-5, 6-4.

Sean Lee, Ken Song, and Jimin Woo also saw action in the boys singles and were booted out in the opening round by their Australian opponents. Benson Pisanelli ousted Song, 6-3, 6-0; Sohi Hitesh Shah swept Woo, 6-1, 6-3; and Stefan Cvetkovic downed Lee, 6-0, 6-0.

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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