Lil Man big on court
Julian Quimby mauled in clash of titans
At exactly 12 a.m. this morning, Antoine “Lil Man” Daniel stepped onto the court to face Julian “Snake” Quimby in what was supposed to be the feature match of the Massy United Insurance Clash of the Titans road tennis competition.
The only one who featured, though, was Daniel and 20 minutes later it was all over.
The large crowd who chose to welcome the morning in at the Villages at Coverley might have been wondering if it was Old Year’s night, as Daniel’s vast array of shots lit up the atmosphere, replicating a fireworks display.
The number two seed’s 21-16, 21-12 mauling of Quimby, will no doubt have sent shivers down the spine of David Arendell – his opponent in Sunday’s quarter-final match.
Arendell had earlier advanced to the final eight, after comfortably defeating Anderson “St George” Sealy 21-14, 21-12.
Former national table-tennis champion, Aaron Barker booked his spot by ousting the fifth seeded Marson Johnson 21-17, 24-22, while Curtis Jones registered a hard-fought 12-21, 21-18, 21-9 over southpaw Adrian “Dan” Skeete.
And while both of those matches proved to be thoroughly entertaining, they paled in comparison to Daniel’s class act.
Down 2-8 in the opening set after committing several unforced errors, Daniel eventually began to find his groove.
Trailing 5-10, Daniel’s tactic of attacking Quimby’s return from his serve worked to perfection, as he blasted two forehand winners past his stationary opponent on his way to winning all five of his service points.
Quimby did have his moments, such as when he speedily reached one of Daniel’s injections during a rally, and stuck his tongue out at his opponent after winning the point.
But they were few and far between, and after Daniel took the lead at 15-14, Quimby only managed one further point.
The real action was soon to follow.
A powerful hopping crosscourt forehand smash by Daniel at 3-3 woke up the crowd and he followed that up with a similarly superb forehand shot, this time down the line.
He then shocked Quimby with a classic backhand drag to push the score to 13-7, before treating the crowd to three consecutive scintillating forehand winners, which his opponent could only watch helplessly as they sped past.
In fact, when Daniel blasted another forehand smash past his opponent to make it 19-8, most people would have been expecting him to deliver a sow.
Two unforced errors though, allowed Quimby to avoid that embarrassment, before a wild forehand shot finally ended his torture.
Arendell will know a much bigger fight awaits him than the one he encountered against Sealy.
While his opponent entertained the spectators with his usual theatrics, apart from a few moments of brilliance, he never managed to breach Arendell’s solid defence, which looked impenetrable at times.
It resulted in Sealy committing numerous errors in what turned out to be a lopsided contest.
Just as in the previous round against Jeffrey “Borah” Best, Jones, the number three seed, found himself having to fight from a set down.
He was not able to survive Skeete’s ferocious attacks early on, and he quickly fell into a 2-12 hole. And even though he was able to claw back within three at 10-13, Skeete once again unleashed a fury of forehand smashes, which allowed him to ease to victory.
From a close 12-13 scoreline in the second set, Jones switched his attack to his opponent’s backhand, which resulted him winning the next five points (17-13) and eventually the set.
By now, Skeete was clearly exhausted. And despite hitting a couple of passing shots, fatigue took over, and he “gave up the ghost” at 9-20.
The stylish Barker almost self-destructed in a tight contest against Johnson.
After winning the first set and leading 20-17 in the second, he inexplicably hit two forehands into the net and sent a third long to allow Johnson to deuce the game.
However, he managed to regroup, and after saving a match point, won the next two points to set up a quarter-final clash with Jones.
In junior play, Dario Hinds defeated Kyle King 18-21, 21-17, 21-8 while Emar Edwards was a comfortable 21-8, 21-16 winner over Justin Smith, with both winners advancing to Sunday’s semi-final round.