Carol survives Robbie in finale


Carol Lee stretches for a return to Robbie Schorr during their men’s 5.0 singles game in the 10th TanHoldings Tennis Classic yesterday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

A good crowd showed up for the men’s 5.0 singles title game between Carol Lee and Robbie Schorr and the CNMI’s top junior players did not disappoint the spectators, as they went back-and-forth in the extended finale yesterday in the 10th TanHoldings Tennis Classic at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan courts.

The No. 2 seed Schorr took the first set, 7-5, but No. 1 Lee rallied and foiled the former’s upset bid with a 7-5 triumph in the second. Then for the supertie-breaker set of the rain-delayed title match, the two finalists were still neck-and-neck before Lee escaped with an 11-9 victory to complete the comeback.

“What a match! Everyone who came to the court to watch the finals was treated to a high-level tennis game. It’s one of those best matches I’ve ever seen. Carol played great, Robbie played great, and it could have gone either way,” many-time CNMI national coach Jeff Race, who was with Lee and Schorr when the Commonwealth crew (along with Colin Sinclair, Isabel Heras, Tania Tan, Ken Song, and Malika Miyawaki) brought home three gold medals and one silver from the 2019 Pacific Games held in Apia, Samoa last summer.

Lee competed in her first local tournament since winning a gold medal (mixed doubles with Sinclair) in Samoa and traveling in Asia, Europe, and Pacific Oceania for ITF Juniors events and she nearly missed the contest sanctioned by the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association and backed by the Tan Siu Lin Foundation.

The world-ranked No. 125 left Saipan for Atlanta early last week to visit Georgia Tech, one of the many schools she checked, as she prepares to play in the collegiate ranks. Lee was then scheduled to return to Saipan early Saturday morning so she initially decided to forfeit her first game in the division, as it was scheduled just a couple of hours after she touched down at the Francisco M. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

Lee, however, reconsidered her earlier decision, as she arrived ahead of schedule and organizers moved her first match a couple of hours later. Incidentally, the 17-year-old dueled Race in the quarterfinals and won, 6-2, 6-0. Race reached the Round of 8 after taking Isaac Heo to school with a 6-0, 6-0.

Next up for Lee was Ji Min Woo, who marched into the semifinals after eliminating Kevin Wang, 6-1, 6-3. In the semis of the upper half of the bracket, Lee extended her winning streak after downing the No. 3 seed Woo, 6-4, 6-0.

At the lower half of the draw, Schorr also did not drop a single set en route to moving into the finals. He first notched a 6-2, 6-0 triumph over Sam Ryu—a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Jun Cheol Hwang in the opening round game last Friday. Schorr then ousted No. 4 Ken Song, 6-4, 6-1, to set up a finals date with Lee.

The Schorr-Lee championship showdown was scheduled at 9:30am, but started about an hour late due to rain. The delay and a few more showers, however, did not prevent the Pacific Games gold medalists from showing why they are the top junior players in the CNMI and one of the best in Pacific Oceania, as they engaged in a nip-and-tuck game.

Robbie Schorr serves to Carol Lee during their men’s 5.0 singles game in the 10th TanHoldings Tennis Classic yesterday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

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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