Lee inches closer to finale


Carol Lee is in the semifinals of the singles event in the 2017 Tecnifibre Tennis Central Championships in Wellington, New Zealand. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

CNMI junior player Carol Lee exacted revenge on Nina Paripovich after sweeping her Kiwi foe in their singles game in the 2017 Tecnifibre Tennis Central Championships yesterday at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Wellington, New Zealand.

Lee’s 6-2, 6-3 win was sweeter as it also put the CNMI bet to the semifinal round of the 64-player draw. Paripovich, along with compatriot Emilia Price earlier denied the No. 2 seed Lee (and Fiji’ Mulan Kamoe) entry to the finals of the doubles event in the Wilson Tennis Canterbury ITF last week in Christchurch.

The 15-year-old player will again knock on the finals door, as she takes on Japan’s Risa Fukutoku today in the semifinals of the lower half of the draw. The No. 3 seed Japanese moved into the Final Four following a similar straight sets victory over fifth-ranked Justine Leong of Hong Kong, 6-3, 6-2.

The other semis pairing will have top seed Mana Kawamura of Japan facing No. 4 Oleksandra Kalachova of New Zealand. The Japanese made it to the semis after downing Hong Kong’s Jenny Wong, 6-3, 6-2, while Kalachova followed suit as she eliminated Kawamura’s compatriot Momoko Nagato in similar scores.

The top-ranked Kawamura is also in the semifinals of the doubles event after she and Fukutoku defeated Lee and Kamoe in the quarterfinals of the upper half of the draw, 6-3, 6-2. The No. 1 seed duo will duel the Japanese-Korean tandem of Yuna Ohashi and Jiho Shin, while the other semis pairing will have Australia’s Maggie Pearce and Tully Richter challenging No. 2 seed Wong and Leong.

Meanwhile, Lee said the ongoing tournament in Wellington is tougher than the one she had in Christchurch.

“The last tournament had less people than this competition. The opponents I had to face here were tougher, but I am glad I was able to make it to the semifinals of the singles event. Looking at the score, one might think the games are easy, but they are not. Every game is a challenge for me,” said Lee in a message sent to Saipan Tribune following her singles win yesterday.

After the Grade 4 tournament in Wellington, the CNMI player will head to Auckland for the NZ ITF Summer Championships 2017—a Grade 3 competition and offers more ITF Juniors ranking points.

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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