Sinclair, Lee reach quarterfinals

The CNMI’s Carol Lee returns to New Caledonia’s Leilany Ipunesso during their third round game in the women’s singles event in the XVI Pacific Games at the Apia Tennis Courts in Samoa yesterday. (Lydia Tan)

The CNMI’s Carol Lee and Colin Sinclair are still in contention in the singles and mixed doubles event in the XVI Pacific Games, as they marched into the quarterfinals yesterday at the Apia Park Tennis Courts in Samoa.

Sinclair made it to the Round of 8 in the men’s singles event after cruising past No. 14 seed and Samoa’s Leon Vainui Soonalola, 6-1, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, which will be played today, the No. 1 seed Sinclair will take on No. 5 and Fiji’s William O’Connell, who outlasted No. 9 and Guam’s Daniel Llarenas in the third round yesterday. A win over O’Connell will move Sinclair to the semifinals and a chance to play in the medal round in the men’s singles.

All but two of the quarterfinalists in the men’s singles event are seeded players with No. 3 Clement Mainguy of Vanuatu, No. 7 Maca Rouas of New Caledonia, No.15 Heimanarii Lai San of Tahiti, and Matthew Stubbings of Papua New Guinea also advancing. Unranked Camden Camacho of Guam and Matavao Faleta Fanguna of Tonga completed the Round of 8 qualifiers.

In the women’s singles, Lee is also in the quarterfinals and has to brace for her favored foe in the next round.

The No. 5 Lee eliminated No. 12 and New Caledonia’s Leilany Ipunesso, 6-3, 6-1, to set up a Round of 8 duel against Pacific’s No. 1 player and PNG’s Abigail Tere-Apisah, who has yet to lose a game in the women’s singles draw after blanking Tahiti’s Chrissy Vongue and American Samoa’s Charity Murrieta Sagiao.

In the mixed doubles play, Lee is with Sinclair and the No. 2 seed pair advanced to the quarterfinals, too following a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Vanuatu’s Noah Molbaleh and Desiree Signo. Lee and Sinclair will go for the semis spot and a shot for a medal against No. 8 and Samoa’s Leon Soonalole and Eleanor Schuster.

“Colin and Carol may both play four matches each tomorrow (today) so it’s going to be a huge day,” head coach Jeff Race said.

Lee will be teaming up with Isabel Heras in the women’s doubles and they will meet the Tahiti pair of Vongue and Estelle Tehau with a quarterfinals berth at stake. Heras, who is sick, played back-to-back singles matches yesterday, winning against Samoa’s Sauleone Anasis Saipele, 6-4, 6-4, before losing to No. 4 Kalani Pisi Soli of American Samoa, 1-6, 1-6. Heras also played in the mixed doubles with Robbie Schorr and they were defeated by No. 7 Christian Duchnak and Soli, 6-4, 6-1.

After getting the boot in the mixed doubles, Schorr has one event left—the men’s doubles—and he and Sinclair will play in the second round against the Solomon Islands’ Charlie Benjamin and Popai Leon, who slipped past Tonga’s Christopher and Taufa Maasi, 6-3, 2-6, 10-5.

Isabel Heras serves, while Robbie Schorr gets ready near the net during their mixed doubles game against American Samoa’s Christian Duchnak and Kalani Soli in the XVI Pacific Games yesterday at the Apia Park Tennis Courts in Samoa. (Lydia Tan)

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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