All even

 Honours shared on first day of tennis match-up

Barbados and Mexico will go into Day two of their Davis Cup Group ll final tomorrow on level terms after today’s opening exchanges ended at 1-1 at the National Tennis Centre.

Darian King produced a superb performance winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 against Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela this afternoon to draw Barbados back in the contest at 1-1 and give the hosts a fighting chance going into into doubles action tomorrow. In the earlier game Tigre Hank defeated Haydn Lewis in straight sets 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.

Tigre Hank makes a return during his match against Haydn Lewis.
Tigre Hank makes a return during his match against Haydn Lewis.

It was a competitive day of tennis between the two nations and local supporters got their monies’ worth in the second game when Barbados’ highest ranked player King showed why his abilities on the court make him a definite force with which to reckon.

In the first set, King broke Reyes-Varela’s serve at 1-1 to go up 2-1 and never looked back as he won that set 6-4. There was no difference in the second set when he broke service early and took an immediate 1-0 lead. He then held serve to take a 2-0 advantage. In the third set Reyes-Varela managed to go up 2-1 and broke King’s serve at 2-2 and went up 3-2.

Reyes-Varela then pretty much faded at this stage in the third set which made it less competitive and allowed King, who suffered from a slight ankle injury coming on to the end of the match, to close off the game quite easily with a win.

The critical moment of the third set came when King broke the Mexican’s serve, took a 5-4 lead and then closed out the set 6-4 which had the home crowd, inclusive of Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley and president of the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association, Dr Raymond Forde, elated.

After the match, King told reporters the match was tough and conditions were hard for him but coming off two title wins overseas he had a lot of confidence in himself.

“It was hot and a little bit windy but obviously the wind was not a major factor. The heat was, but I pulled it out in three. I think I am playing well and I went out there confident after Haydn, and I was ready. Coming off of two title wins I went out there with confidence and that is the best thing for any tennis player to go out there without any fear,” he said.

The earlier game which started at 10:20 a.m. between Lewis and Hank saw Lewis making a few errors in his play. In the first set, Hank broke the first serve but Lewis managed to return the favor when the Mexican was leading 5-4 to make it 5-5. At this stage, Hank was feeling the pressure but somehow managed to break back at 5-5 and held serve to win the set 7-5. Hank looked confident and went up 2-0 in the second set. He won the two opening serves of the third set but Lewis managed to pull things back at 3-2 when he broke the serve to come back 3-3.

Things got interesting at this stage and Lewis unfortunately lost the serve to go down 4-3. Hank continued his dominance when he won his serve to go up 5-3 and from there it was all over for Lewis who lost his serve at 5-3 to go down in the final set 6-3. At the end of the match, Lewis attributed his lost to a lack of match practice.

However, Barbados’ non-playing captain Kevin Yarde said 1-1 was much better than being down 2-0 and they were very satisfied because they were still in the tie going into the second day which is scheduled to start at 12 noon.

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