King leads Davis Cup challenge

It was all too easy for Barbadian tennis ace Darian King. 

Competing in Davis Cup Group ll Americas, King continued his impressive form on home court with a three straight win against Luciano Ramazzini Friday afternoon at the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association. 

Barbados were placed early on the back foot 1-0 against the Guatemalans but King, ranked 114 among the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) in the world, dominated Guatemala’s number two player Ramazzini 6-2, 6-1 and 6-1 while receiving resounding applause from a very appreciative home crowd. 

Darian King delivered another excellent performance in Davis Cup action Friday. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

The task was not so easy for young Adam Hornby who played his fourth match wearing Barbados colours Friday. Hornby was first up on court against Guatemala’s number one Christopher Diaz but lost in straight sets 7-5, 6-0 and 6-2.

The writing was pretty much on the wall for King’s victory having played great tennis against some of the world’s best including Gael Monfils rank number six and David Goffin at number 14 on the ATP circuit.

Speaking with local media after the match, King explained that the transition from playing against players ranked top 20 in the world and then having to adjust against players like Ramazzini whose highest ranking is 307 wasn’t very easy. 

“It was very physical out there when I played Monfils and Goffin, as you can see I came out on fire in the first set and in the next two sets I was kind of dead, so when I came home I worked on my fitness, being more physical on the court and being more aggressive when I get the chance. In Davis Cup it’s three best of five, so obviously it’s something that I work on a lot and for me I am trying to shorten the points, so I am trying to work on it here so when I go to play back on the tour it’s nothing new to me,” King said.

Playing under windy conditions, King executed fantastic forearm shots, his serves were spot on at most times and retrieving at the nets was just as accurate. 

Coached by his older brother Christopher King, Barbados’ number one ranked tennis professional said they had been working on his explosiveness and coming more towards the nets which have been paying off.

“I am trying to be aggressive now as I have been playing the Masters event. I am trying to take as much opportunities to come forward to the nets and Friday I took the advantage to show my presence at the nets and as you can see most of it paid off and it is a change in my game that I have been working on for a long time,” King said. 

Saturday at 12p.m. Barbados will seek to take a 2-1 lead in the tie playing against Guatemala in the doubles and King is confident that himself along with Haydn Lewis can get the job done against Diaz and Wilfredo Gonzalez. 

Christopher Diaz, Guatemala’s number one player.

“We lost to them (Guatemala) in the Central America and Caribbean Championships, I think in three tight sets. They are great doubles players, Christopher (Diaz) I played on tour and as you can see he is a great ball striker…. Wilfredo (Gonzalez) I played with from eight, nine years old, we both played a lot of doubles together and we won a lot of titles together, so I know how Wilfredo and Christopher play and it doesn’t take away from the fact how myself or Haydn play. We play well together, we have a great record and tomorrow we will see who goes up 2-1,” said King.

Captain of the Barbados team, Damien Applewhaite, said that tomorrow’s doubles match was crucial and will be looking towards King and Lewis with a fresh pair of legs to put them in an advantageous position. 

Having now tied at 1-1 going into a must-win situation tomorrow, Applewhaite stated that the team was confident with the decision made putting Hornby first to play in the singles match ahead of the much more experienced Lewis. 

Speaking of Hornby, the 21-year-old had nothing to lose and went out hard in the first set with lots of determination. 

After the game he noted there were a few positives to take away from playing Diaz. 

“I think it went well, a few position things but just a few things to work on as well but overall I am happy with how I played. It was a good experience. He is ranked five hundred and something in the world, so for me to actually be close in the first set and competitive… I feel like I was in the points for most of the match, the scorer was a little harsher but the take away is that I am right there. There is obviously some things to work on but overall it’s definitely positive,” Hornby said. 

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