Lee nears 5th ITF Juniors title


Carol Lee gets ready to serve in this file photo taken during the 2016 Northern Marianas Junior Championships. Lee is in Fiji and is on course to her fifth ITF Juniors title. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The CNMI’s Carol Lee is one win away from bagging her fifth ITF Juniors crown after making it to the finals of the doubles event of the Oceania Open Junior Championships 2017 yesterday in Fiji.

Lee paired with Singapore’s Maxine Ng and they took the finals ticket at the top half of the draw after outlasting the Japanese pair of Yuna Ohashi and Shiho Shibata in their semis game at the Regional Tennis Centre Nadovu Park in Lautoka. The No. 1 seed Lee and Ng eased past their Japanese foes in the first set, 6-1, but failed to wrap up the semis early when Ohashi and Shibata won in the second in similar scores. Then in the deciding super-tiebreaker third set, the opposing teams went back and forth before Lee and Ng played steadier in the homestretch to eke out a 10-8 victory.

The semis game against the Japanese duo was Lee and Ng’s first win via distance, as the top-ranked pair swept their two foes earlier. In the second round, Lee and Ng downed Saki Imamura and Kaede Tada of Japan, 6-4, 6-3. Then in the quarterfinals the CNMI-Singapore tandem defeated another Japanese duo in Kanami Hayashige and Ayaka Koga, 6-1, 7-5.

Koha and Hayashige advanced to the quarterfinals after eliminating the CNMI’s Maria Isabel Heras and Australia’s Chloe Katerdigan, 6-3, 6-1, while Imamura and Tada ousted another Commonwealth player Conatsu Kaga and Vanuatu’s Rosalie Molbaleh in the second round, 6-0, 6-1.

Lee, who won her first doubles title in Morocco last month and got two singles and doubles crowns in New Caledonia, will gun for her first championships in the ITF Juniors Circuit today when she and Ng face the unranked Ikumi Yamazaki and Hikaru Yoshikawa of Japan. The unseeded Japanese advanced to the finals after pulling off an upset over No. 8 Mami Mitsumoto and Mua Shigeta in the semis game at the lower half of the draw, 6-3, 6-1. Yoshikawa and Yamazaki also stunned two other seeded pairs to move into the semifinals, beating first No. 1 Patricia Apisah of Papua New Guinea and Roopa Bains of Australia, 7-5, 6-3, before ousting No. 6 Luciana Kunkel of Australia and Kiana Mokhtari of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-3.

Meanwhile, in the singles event, Lee is also in contention after barging into the Final Four. The No. 1 seed swept Australia’s Kelsey Lewis, 6-3, 6-3; Solomon Islands’ Georjemah Row, 6-3, 6-2; and Japan’s Yuna Ohashi, 7-5, 6-4, to make it to the semis. Joining Lee in the Final Four were No. 14 Imamura, and the unranked Yoshikawa and American Elle Christensen.

Heras and Conatsu also played in the singles with the former surviving the second round and the latter dropping her first game. Heras drew a bye in the opening round and won over Tada in the second, 7-5, 7-5, before bowing to Hayashige in the third, 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, while Conatsu fell to Japan’s Ayaka Koga, 1-6, 0-6.

In the boys singles, the CNMI’s Robbie Schorr also prevailed in his first match against Australia’s Andrew Ilett, 6-3, 6-1, before absorbing a 2-6, 3-6 defeat at the hands of New Zealand and No. 8 Te Kani Williams.

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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