Carol Lee and her Pacific Oceania Team started their bid in the 2018 Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group II with an impressive 3-0 victory over Iran last Tuesday in Isa Town, Bahrain.
Lee played in the second singles for Pacific Oceania and dominated Kimiya Asbaghipour, as the former nearly shut down her Iranian opponent at the Bahrain Tennis Federation hard courts. Lee cruised to a 6-1 victory in the opening set and then played even better in the second with another easy win, 6-0.
The CNMI junior player’s triumph in the second singles match secured Pacific Oceania’s victory over Iran as Samoa’s Steffi Carruthers earlier downed Sara Azaddoost in the first singles tiff, 6-1, 6-0. Pacific Oceania then completed a sweep of its opening assignment after Carruthers teamed up with Papua New Guinea’s Abigail Tere-Apisah in dismantling Shahrzad Banisaeid and Kimia Rahmani in the doubles, 6-0, 6-0.
With its convincing win on Day 1 of the tournament, the Gilles De Gouy-captained Pacific Oceania took the early lead in Pool C. Oman and Malaysia are also in the group with the former nosing out the latter, 2-1, to gain second place in the team standings.
The pool play continued yesterday with Carol and company scheduled to challenge Oman and Malaysia and Iran set to duel in the other pairing in their group. Pacific Oceania will then close the elimination round today when it faces Malaysia.
The 2018 Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group II has three more pools with the top finisher in each group advancing to the semifinals. In the Final Four, the No. 1 placers in Pool A and C will battle for a finals berth, while the other pairing will be the No. 1 finisher in Pool B versus the No. 1 in Pool D. The finalists will then be promoted to the elite Group I in 2019, while the losing semifinalists will remain in Group II.
Pool A has Uzbekistan, New Zealand, and Lebanon and the former won the first match in the group against the latter, 3-0. There are also three teams in Pool B with the Philippines edging Kyrgyzstan, 2-1, Singapore completes Pool B and was slated to square off against Kyrgyzstan yesterday. For Pool D, Indonesia and Pakistan won their opening matches against host Bahrain, 3-0, and Sri Lanka, 2-1, respectively.
Among the 14 teams playing in the Bahrain, four are seeded and favored to win the tournament. Uzbekistan is seeded first with its No. 33 ranking in the world and was followed by No. 48 the Philippines, No. 55 Malaysia, and No. 56 Indonesia. Pacific Oceania is seeded at No. 6 with its 61st rankings.