The CNMI’s Carol Lee won her opening game in the 2017 Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania Qualifying Zone last Monday at the R.K Khanna Tennis Stadium in New Delhi, India.
The 15-year-old player saw action for Pacific Oceania in the Singles 1 match and swept Uzbekistan’s Yasmina Karimjanova, 6-2, 6-1. The victory, which Lee gained after an hour and 14 minutes, allowed the unranked Pacific Oceania to force a rubber match against the No. 8 seed Uzbekistan. Earlier in the Singles 2 play, Uzbekistan drew first blood after Mila Maslenkova downed Tahiti’s Naia Guitton, 6-2, 6-1.
With Pacific Oceania and Uzbekistan splitting the two singles games, the opposing teams returned to the court and played the lone doubles match. The game came only a few hours after Lee secured the victory for Pacific Oceania and she and Guitton were dominated by Maslenkova and Karimjanova in the first set, 6-1. In the second set, Lee and Guitton stood toe-to-toe with the Uzbekistan pair before falling short in the extended game, 5-7.
Lee and company are in Group D of the pool play in the Asia Oceania qualifier where the Top 3 teams after the playoffs will gain slots to the 2017 Junior Fed Cup World Group Finals that will be played in Budapest, Hungary in September.
Joining Lee’s team and Uzbekistan in the group are Chinese-Taipei and India. Pacific Oceania was scheduled to face the third-seeded Chinese-Taipei yesterday and the unranked India today. Chinese-Taipei defeated India, 2-1, in last Monday’s other match in Pool D. Only the Top 2 teams after the pool play will advance to the playoffs and Lee’s team must make it to the Top 10 to avoid getting through the pre-qualifying tournament next year. Pacific Oceania ruled the pre-qualifying competition that was also held in India last month after downing Sri Lanka in the finals, while the former finished at No. 15 in last year’s qualifying zone.
Meanwhile, the top-ranked and early favorite Japan is in Group A and clobbered Sri Lanka in its opening game, 3-0. The unranked China pulled off an upset over No. 6 Korea, 2-1, in the other pairing in the group. In Pool B, No. 2 Thailand shut down Kyrgyzstan, 3-0, while No. 5 New Zealand edged Malaysia, 2-1. In Pool C, No. 4 Australia topped Kazakstan, 2-1, while No. 8 Hong Kong prevailed against Indonesia in similar scores.