On this day last year, Carol Lee made history for CNMI tennis, as she was able to secure a slot on the main draw of the US Open (Juniors) in New York.
Lee became the first player from the Commonwealth to have seen action in the Grade A event under the Junior ITF World Circuit. The then 17-year-old Lee advanced to the 132-player draw after beating Hibah Shaikh of the U.S., 6-2, 6-3, in the second qualifying game. Earlier in her first qualifying match, the CNMI bet pulled off an upset over No. 16 seed Tara Malik of the U.S., 6-3, 6-4, to move one win away from notching one of the eight qualifying slots in the prestigious tournament.
With her pair of victories, Lee reached the first round of the competition and was pitted against world No. 127 Robin Montgomery, who cruised to a 6-2 triumph in the first set before laboring his way through a 7-5 win in the second.
The US Open was Lee’s second Grade A event last year, as she also played in the Australian Open. She went to New York for the US Open less than two months after handing the CNMI a gold medal in the mixed doubles event (with Colin Sinclair) of the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
Now, Lee is in Atlanta and will be suiting up for four-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion Georgia Tech in the NCAA Division I. She is included on the Yellow Jackets’ 2020-2021 roster released last month and is among the four rookies on the squad.