The CNMI’s Carol Lee is still in the race for the singles and doubles titles in the 30th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup.
In the singles event, Lee won her first two matches to move into the quarterfinal round of the 48-player field. The No. 8 seed debuted with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory over Nursharneem Shamsudini of Malaysia last Wednesday at the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association Centre in Kuching. The Commonwealth bet then was pitted against China’s Yuijiao Chen in yesterday’s third round and posted a 6-2, 6-4 triumph to make it to the quarterfinals.
In the Round of 8 that will be played today, Lee will have a tougher foe in the No. 1 seed Qinwen Zhang of China. Zheng marched into the quarterfinals after sweeping Chinese-Taipei’s Ssu-Yi Wu, 6-2, 6-0, and Australia’s Megan Smith, 6-3, 6-3. Smith entered Round 3 following a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Indonesia’s Joleta Budiman, 6-3, 6-4, while Wu made it to Round 2 after eliminating the Philippines’ Rafaella Jean Villanueva, 6-0, 6-1.
Zheng and Lee are at the top half of the draw and are joined in the quarterfinals by Thailand’s Mannanchaya Sawangkaew and Australia’s Olivia Gadecki. At the bottom half, three of the four Round of 8 berths were already taken with No. 2 and Korea’s Sohyun Park, Japan’s Sakura Hosogi, and Australia’s Ivana Popovic qualifying. China’s Jiaqi Wang and Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Astakhova will battle for the last quarterfinal ticket today.
In the doubles event, Lee and her Australian teammate Chiara Di Tommaso are also in the quarterfinals. The No. 6 pair drew a bye in the first round and then topped India’s Annika Kannan and the U.S.’ Anjali Mogili, 6-2, 6-3, to advance to the quarterfinals. Lee and Di Tommaso’s next opponent are India’s Sailsa Aher and Indonesia’s Joleta Budiman, who came from a 0-6, 7-5, 10-7 upset win over No. 2 seed Hosogi and Wang.
The ongoing tournament in Sarawak is Lee’s second competition in Malaysia and it is a Grade 3 event, offering more ITF Juniors ranking points. In last week’s 1st ITF Perlis Junior Championship 2017, the 15-year-old Lee got 20 points for placing second in the doubles and another 20 for her semis appearance in the singles play.
Sixty and 45 ranking points will be given to the singles champion and runner-up in the 30th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Cup, while the doubles winners will receive 50 and the second finishers will get 30.