The CNMI’s Carol Lee showed poise in a closely fought finale against Queensland’s Megan Smith to rule the main consolation draw of the 2015 14/U Australian Championships yesterday at the Melbourne Park.
Lee dropped the opening set, 4-6, before working her way back into the game and sweeping the last two, 6-2, 10-2, to clinch the championship in the 32-player west pool.
“In the first set, my opponent was kind of stronger and more consistent than the other players I played in the earlier rounds. She hit in different styles and strategies,” Lee said in a message sent to Saipan Tribune yesterday.
The 13-year-old Lee’s finals opponent was the No. 6 seed in the main draw and ranked at No. 200 (national), the highest ranked player she faced in the consolation draw.
“That’s why I was kind of surprise and could not really do my plan in the first set,” Lee said.
After losing by two points in a back and forth match, Lee sorted things out and tried to compose herself.
“I changed my style and calmed myself, breathing in and out. I played smarter, trying my best to limit my errors,” the Saipan Community School student added.
While Lee minimized her mistakes in the second set, Smith continued to play erratic in the super tiebreak third set, allowing the CNMI bet to notch an 8-point win and complete the come-from-behind victory.
The win against Smith was Lee’s fifth in a row since she was forced to retire (due to knee strain) from her opening match against the No. 2-ranked Madison Bishop of South Australia in the 64-player main draw last Saturday.
The victory also came three days after the Commonwealth’s top junior play took one of the “December Showdown” awards in the tournament. Lee was lauded by the event’s organizers for showing respect toward the game officials, her co-players, and others involved in the competition. The two other awards are for people who compete for every point and commit to the game.
Lee, along with fellow CNMI players Tania Tan, Robbie Schorr, Ken Song, and Conatsu Kaga are in Australia as part of the Pacific GSDF (Grand Slam Development Fund) Touring Team. They will stay in the Land Down Under until next week, as they will compete in a team tournament, starting this Saturday.