Barbados will need to win against Uruguay come next month in order to stay alive in the Davis Cup Group l tie after the host suffered a tough 3-2 loss against Ecuador yesterday at the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association’s Wildey, St Michael court.
Going into the third and decisive showdown yesterday, Ecuador led 2-1 with two singles to play. First up on court was Barbados’ number one player Darian King who fought through cramps and pain to serve up yet another unstoppable performance to defeat Ecuador’s number two Emilio Gomez 7-5, 7-6 and 6-1 to level the showdown 2-2.
Injury, once again however, prevented Barbados’ number two Haydn Lewis from playing and the task then fell on the not-so-experienced Seanon Williams who went down in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 to Ecuador’s top player Gonzalo Escobar.
Speaking to the media Barbados team captain, Kevin Yarde said the task would be much greater coming up against Uruguay who have their number one player Pablo Cuevas at their disposal. Cuevas is actually ranked number 37 in the world while King is at 196.
“That is going to be a tougher challenge and more than likely that will be played in Uruguay so that makes it that much harder. But we will still go out there and try to give one hundred and ten percent and hopefully reverse the results from this weekend,” said Yarde, who also touched on Lewis and explained that the 29-year-old would need to do some x-rays so they could get a greater assessment on his condition and whether he would be ready to play next month.
“He is definitely an asset in the doubles and it may come down to having to reserve him for the doubles if he is able to play in a month’s time at a high level. Like I said I never expected this. He was playing so well leading up to this weekend, even after his match on Friday he was feeling fine and like I said it is just one of those things,” Yarde said.
In the first singles encounter yesterday morning both King and Gomez looked evenly matched and up to the task from the beginning of the opening set and the fact that there were more than ten deuces between the two men signalled to fans from early that they were in for a long battle between the two as King went on to take that set.
With the score on 6-6 in the second set, the game eventually went into a tie break. During that period the scores were locked 3-3 in the tie break and it was King who proved to be the more confident of the two and even though Gomez played lots of sliced shots to take the pace off the ball, King remained consistent. At one point in that particular set King appeared anxious but eventually settled himself, waited on his openings and played some fantastic shots. In the end he won the break 7-3 to take the set.
After two marathon sets both King and Gomez began to show signs of discomfort and were unable to produce those aces and allowed balls that they would normally reach in a flash to pass them. In the end it was King who triumphed to put the tie at 2-2.
Williams then had a great task on his shoulders playing the fifth and final game and even though he had some powerful serves against Escobar at the beginning and did well in the middle of the first set, he got off to a shaky start with a 3-0 deficit before bringing the score back at 3-2.
However, the visitor composed himself very well and took the set easily. In fact Williams only managed to win one point in the second set as Escobar brushed aside his opponent 6-0in the third and allowed his team to retain the Davis Cup Americas Group One status for 2016.
Williams said after his game that he was not happy with his overall performance but at the same time was grateful for the experience.
“For me it is always hard competing in Davis Cup. All of us we congratulate Darian because he has done very well and he gets a lot of exposure and opportunities to play the matches. But the other three of us, we play maybe four, five tournaments a year. So it is always tough going out there but I was ready physically, mentally, based on everything I did, I was comfortable,’’ said Williams, who said that in order for him to improve he needed to tour a lot more.