Darian King warmed the hearts of spectators at the National Tennis Centre at Wildey, St Michael yesterday afternoon after he defeated Christian Garin of Chile in an epic 2-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-3 battle during the second match of the Americas Zone Group 2 tie.
It was a superb performance by Barbados’ number one tennis player who showed his mental strength and skills after he lost the first game to Garin at 6-2 who is rated 380th in the world.
The South American dominated the first game with a number of powerful back-arm shots and lobs on both sides of the court which left King helpless and looking out of his depth.
Garin rushed to a 4-1 lead in the opening set and proceeded to dominate the match. The local fans were stunned by Garin’s display; several of his shots were played with awesome power while others were just placed with precision.
He won the match 6-2 with the few Chileans at the centre jumping for joy. But the Barbadians began to rally behind King. “Let’s go, Darian”, became their rallying cry.
The second game was one of drama and excitement, King was three sets down but fought back to level the score, with several shots which left the spectators breathless. He then outplayed Garin to lead the game at 5-4 but the South American was not giving up. He leveled the score at five all. “Let’s go, Darian” was heard around the centre and the Bajan responded, as the game when to a tie-breaker at 6 all. The game was tense and the Chileans began to protest several of King’s points. King played a powerful shot down centre court which Garin tried to returned via his back arm but failed and King won the match.
In the third set King led Garin give games to two but the Chilean fought back, winning three straight sets and levelling the score. Tension was in the air but King took the lead and won the game 7-5.
He then polished off Garlin 6-3 in the fourth and it was game, set and match to Barbados as the fans erupted in the tennis centre.
After the match King said he was off to a bad start in the match and was trying new shoes which had him sliding a bit. He said he knew Garin liked to play on clay and had a weak back-arm.
“I was sure that after my bad start, I could recover and win the game,” King said.
In the first match Haydn Lewis was defeated by Gonzalo Lama 6-4, 6-1, 6-1. Lewis was leading 4-0 after the first set but seemed to lose poise and focus and was taken apart by Lama.
The action continues today.