Top seeds rattled but still advance
Three of the top ten seeds almost saw their run in the Massy United Insurance Clash of the Titans road tennis come to an abrupt end.
But like Brandy once popularly sang, “Almost doesn’t count”.
Playing at the Villages at Coverley last night, Marson Johnson, Anderson “St George” Sealy and Curtis Jones all flirted with danger, before eventually advancing to Sunday’s round of 16 matches.
While the sixth seeded Johnson advanced after an exhausted Stig Merritt threw in the towel after just two games which finished 21-13,18-21, Jones and Sealy in particular, were made to fight off elimination against Jerry Harris and Jeffrey “Borah” Best respectively.
In fact, the tenth seeded Sealy should have probably bought a lotto ticket after his 12-21, 21-16, 23-21 victory over Harris, after seemingly headed for defeat not once, but twice.
After dropping a mistake-laden opening set in which he failed to cope with Harris’ speedy serves, and committed numerous unforced errors, Sealy seemed all but headed for the exit, down 9-14 in the second set.
However, in an unexpected turn of events, Harris won just two of the next 14 points, as he sent almost all of his shots either into the net or outside of the court, allowing Sealy to take the lead at 17-16 and eventually the set.
After battling back from an early deficit, Sealy switched sides –– as is customary in the third set –– with a comfortable 10-6 lead.
And even though Harris fought back to get within two points at 14-16 through the use of his serves once again, Sealy found himself with four match points and on the brink of victory at 20-15.
But Harris staged a remarkable comeback. He not only won all five of his service points to deuce the game, but he also came within match point after Sealy astonishingly slammed an easy smash into the net.
It was not to be though, as after Sealy used his experience to force his opponent into an error. He won the next point and then breathed a sigh of relief as Harris’ service clipped the top of the net and went out to see him through to the next round.
Jones, the third seed, was also forced to come from a set down before eventually wearing down Best, 13-21, 21-16, 21-14.
Using his strong backhand as his main weapon, Best lured the usually attacking Jones into a rallying game in the first set, which he comfortably won.
A more aggressive Jones though, sensing a need for urgency, used his quick footwork with good effect in the ensuing set, stepping around his backhand to power some memorable shots past the veteran.
It allowed him to force a third and decisive game, which, while close in the beginning stages, became an easy stroll to victory for Jones as he took control in the latter stages with his aggressive.
Another seeded player, Julian “Snake” Quimby had a slight scare against the steady Sylvanus Doyle. Some early erratic play in the first set saw Quimby losing 15-21. However, he rebounded to take the next two sets 21-10, 21-14.
Earlier, reigning Monarch of the Courts champion, Antoine “Lil Man” Daniel, while not impressive, still wowed the crowd with his wide arsenal of shots in a 21-18, 21-11 dismissal of Simon Bayne.
National table-tennis player Aaron Barker stormed into the next round after brushing aside Terry Dottin, 21-7, 22-20 along with David Arendell who had a workmanlike 21-17, 21-19 win over Dwayne Lynch.
Adrian “Dan” Skeete also advanced after Michael “Mikey” Jean failed to turn up for their match.