The CNMI’s Carol Lee made the grade in the opening round of the doubles event of the Copa Mundial Campeche FMT.
Lee partnered with Ukraine’s Viktoriya Petrenko and the unranked pair needed only two sets to eliminate Mexico’s Ana Paula Chavez Sanchez and Fatima Yareli Gutierrez Martinez, 6-2, 6-2, yesterday at the Campeche Country Club in Campeche, Mexico. The Commonwealth player and her Ukrainian teammate are in the upper half of the 32-team draw and will be tested against a seeded duo in the second round.
Lee and Petrenko will challenge No. 5 Elen Louka of Cyprus and Burundi’s Sada Nahimana, who had a tougher win in the opener to remain in contention. Louka and Sada eked out a 7-5 triumph in the first set over the unseeded pair of Marian Fernanda Campos of Mexico and Canada’s Ashley Chang. Then in the second set, the Cyprus Burundi also labored through a 7-6 (3) victory against Chang and Campos to set up a Round 2 date with Lee and Petrenko.
If Lee and Petrenko prevail anew today, they will barge into the quarterfinals and will duel the winners in the match between Jenna Defalco/Madison Sieg of the U.S and Mexican wild card entries Ximena Cano and Karen Verduzco. Sieg and Defalco got a free pass to the second round after a win via walkover against No. 1 seed Marta Custic of Spain and China’s Qinwen Zhang. Cano and Verduzco, on the other hand, played an extended game before ousting Croatia’s Antea Mandic and compatriot Dianela Rodriguez. The Mexican duo took the first set, 6-1, but missed a sweep when Mandic and Rodriguez bounced back in the second, 6-4. Then in the super-tiebreaker third set, the Mexican tandem pulled off a 10-8 win.
Meanwhile, Lee’s doubles victory made up for her early exit in the singles play. The 16-year-old was in the lower half of the 64-player and had a heartbreaker in the first round, losing to Mexico’s Ingrid Carolina Millan and three sets last Monday. Millan drew first blood, 6-3, but was denied the sweep when Lee mustered a 6-2 triumph in the second set to extend the match. Then in the deciding third set, the opposing players went back and fourth with Millan pulling off a 7-6 (4) win.
The ongoing Copa is a Grade 1 event, which offers 280 ranking points to the singles champion and 210 to the doubles winners. After completing the high-ranking event, Lee will remain in Mexico to play in the Mundial Juvenil Yucatan HSBC FMT at the Club Campestre de Yucatán Calle in Merida. Her second competition in the Central America country will run from Nov. 19 to 25 and is a Grade A event, giving 500 points to the singles winner and 375 to the doubles champions.