Carol Lee reasserted her might over France’s Helena Mohamed to top the singles event of the Open BNP Paribas Junior de Nouvelle-Caledonie last Saturday at the Ligue Caledonienne De Tennis in New Caledonia.
The CNMI player took only two sets to beat Mohamed in the finals, 6-1, 6-2, and duplicate her straight sets victory (7-5, 6-2) against the Frenchwoman in the New Caledonia ITF Junior 2017. Her triumph in her second tournament in the French territory gave Lee her fourth Juniors ITF championship. The 15-year-old Lee’s other titles came from the RUC Tennis Junior Open (doubles) in Morocco and New Caledonia ITF Junior 2017 (both singles and doubles).
Before easing past Mohamed in the championship game of the Grade 5 tournament, the No. 1 Lee was engaged in a tough semis match against Japan’s Otoha Aoki last Friday. Lee prevailed in the opening set, 6-4, but was denied the sweep when Aoki pulled off a thrilling 7-6 (7) in the second set to bring the game into the deciding third set. Lee went on to play steadier in the homestretch after eking out a 6-4 triumph over the persistent Japanese, who ruled the 2017 Northern Marianas Junior Championships last month.
While Lee went the distance to advance to the finals, the unranked Mohamed took the short route to the championship game. The French stunned the No. 12 seed Erika Matsuda in the other semis game after only two sets, 6-2, 6-0.
Meanwhile, Lee also played in the doubles finals last Friday, but she and New Zealand’s Holly Stewart bowed to No. 1 seed Sara Tsukamoto and Aoki, 3-6, 3-6.
With her runner-up finish in the doubles and title win in the singles, Lee gained 45 more world ranking points—30 in the singles and 15 in the doubles. She will leave New Caledonia with 95 points as she got 50 in the first tournament. With the nearly 100 points, the CNMI player is expected to climb a few more notches in the world rankings. She went to New Caledonia ranked No. 287 with 161.25 combined ranking points (135 in singles and 105 in doubles). From New Caledonia, Lee will return to Fiji for a few more tournaments under the ITF Juniors Circuit.