The CNMI’s Carol Lee showed poise in her toughest singles match in the 2017 Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania Pre-Qualifying Zone to lift Pacific Oceania to the title win against Sri Lanka last Saturday at the R.K Khanna Tennis Stadium in New Delhi, India.
Lee eked out a 7-6 (5) victory over Anika Seneviratne in the first set of Singles 1 play and the Commonwealth player rode on the momentum of her close win in the second to ease past her Sri Lankan opponent, 6-2. Lee’s triumph sealed the deal for Pacific Oceania, as Tahiti’s Naia Guitton earlier posted a similar hard-earned win over Savini Jayasuriya in the Singles 2 match, 7-5, 6-3. Had the 15-year-old Lee dropped her singles game, she and Guitton would have been forced to play in the deciding doubles match over Seneviratne and Sathi Siyara Silva Mirissage just a few hours after the second singles tiff.
The match against Seneviratne was Lee’s longest as it finished after nearly two hours (1:42). It was also Lee’s first singles match that went over an hour and the Sri Lankan top singles player was the first to score three points against the CNMI bet.
Lee, in pool play, shut down the Philippines’ Gennifer Lysandra Pagente (6-0, 6-0) and Vietnam’s Ngoc Minh Phuong Nguyen (3-0), and then also blanked Singapore’s Joelle Goh in the semis before getting a scare from Seneviratne in the first set. The world ranked No. 352 also played against Tajikistan’s Anastasiya Tursunova and although Lee cruised to a 6-0 win in the first set, the latter gave the CNMI bet a good fight in the second set (3-6) as their singles match took a little over an hour to wrap up.
Lee credited her success in the pre-qualifying tournament to her training in Fiji and the series of tournaments she had been through in New Zealand.
“I think I have improved my play since the training and my ITF tournaments in New Zealand. I was confident about myself, knowing that I could win all my singles matches no matter how strong my opponents are,” said Lee, who will return to Lautoka to resume her training and prepare for the 2017 Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania Final Qualifying Zone.
The final qualifier will also be held in India in April with Lee and company joining New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, and 12 other countries from Asia in the battle for the three slots to the world competition.
“I’m going back to Fiji to train until the main qualifying comes again in India. There will be a lot more good players there so and I’m excited to play against them,” said Lee, who will be playing in the final qualifier for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, in the Junior Davis Cup pre-qualifier, the Philippines won over Singapore, while Lebanon and Vietnam completed the Top 4. The CNMI’s Robbie Schorr and his teammates Clement Mainguy of Vanuatu and Jeremy Guines of Tahiti topped their pool (battle for No. 9 to 14 finishers) after prevailing against Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.