DAVIS CUP-Barbados one win away from victory
Darian King and Haydn Lewis didn’t only knock the wind out of Victor Estrella and Jose Hernandez’s sails today – they also knocked out their fight.
Although Estrella and Hernandez have two more games to play tomorrow, the Dominican Republic’s duo already sound like a beaten bunch.
Barbados is just one win away from re-writing tennis history after King and Lewis gave the home side a crucial 2-1 lead in their Davis Cup Group 1 tie against the visitors at the National Tennis Centre.
King and Lewis completely dominated Estrella and Hernandez, on their way to handing them a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 whipping in their doubles encounter.
It was a contest the Barbadian pair dominated from start to finish, as they quickly dismissed the visitors in just 95 minutes.
In the post match press conference, Hernandez didn’t hide his disappointment when he was asked what he thought of his team’s chances of pulling off a comeback victory tomorrow.
“We’re not confident. They have the momentum. They’re locals and I’m sure they want to win but we want to win as well so it’s going to be tough and we’re trying to do everything to win,” a despondent looking Hernandez muttered.
Estrella didn’t seem too concerned when he was asked about the pressure he was under going into tomorrow’s final games.
“I’m not under any pressure. I know what I can do and I just want to play my game tomorrow. It is not life, it is just a game and I don’t have any pressure.
“I just want to play. If we lose we lose, and of course we want to win . . . but the way I see it, this is my 16th year playing Davis Cup and I am past my best moments in tennis so I am just going to enjoy tomorrow and the match,” Estrella said.
Their responses off the court were similar to their play on the court – lacking effort and leaving much to be desired.
After winning the opening game, the Dominican Republic pair wasted a perfect opportunity to break the home side after rushing out to a 0-40 lead on Lewis’ serve.
But two perfect volleys by King were followed by a huge serve from Lewis, as Barbados fought back to deuce the game and even the contest at 1-1.
After breaking the visitors twice to take a 5-2 lead, King and Lewis seemingly lost concentration, allowing the Dominican Republic back into the match as they pulled to 5-4.
However, Lewis’s serves would come to the rescue, with a backhand by Hernandez cannoning into the net to give Barbados the opening set.
From thereon, it was all one way traffic, as King and Lewis regularly showcased their superior volleying skills at the net, much to the delight of the appreciative crowd.
It allowed them to take a commanding 5-1 lead in the second set before easily taking a 2-0 lead.
The third set was just as easy, with the home side breaking the visitors twice to turn a 2-2 score into a dominant 5-2 lead.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy. The guys executed well and made it look easy but at the end of the day you still have to execute because you’re talking about two highly ranked players,” non-playing captain Kevin Yarde explained.
Lewis said he thought the turning point of the match occurred in the second game of the first set, when they were able to battle back from 0-40 to hold serve.
“I think we got a bit lucky too being 0-40 down because they could have easilygone for a big return and make it. If we had gotten broken there, that would have been a completely different match,” he insisted.
The result means King has a chance to end the tie by defeating Estrella in tomorrow’s opening singles match.
And while he knows it won’t be an easy task to defeat his 56th ranked opponent, he is confident that in his current form he can create a huge upset.
“I’m feeling confident, but tennis is played on the day and I’m looking for a big upset tomorrow. Hopefully I play well. You never know, tomorrow is a different day.
“But you know I’ve played Victor before. He’s a very tough opponent, but I’m feeling ready with my support and how I am playing so far. I think I have a chance of closing this out,” a smiling King confidently said.