Rain that delayed proceedings for a lengthy period could not stop Antoine Lil Man Daniel from winning the Monarchs Of The Courts Road Tennis Competition and the top prize of $10,000 last night.
The diminutive Daniel had a commanding victory over Barbados’ most decorated player Julian Michael Jackson White before a huge crowd at the Ranch off the Spring Garden Highway.
Daniel played an array of attacking shots which thrilled the crowd at the seaside location as he surged to victory.
The fans were aware that White had defeated Daniel in a close and entertaining final at Silver Hill, Christ Church the last time they met and were looking forward to another thriller.
Daniel stamped his authority on the first set establishing an early lead over White and setting the pace of the game.
White is a dogged player with an abundance of determination and fought his way back into the set with several attacking shots and a strong defence. At 11-9 Daniel had a narrow lead.
The crafty Daniel took control of the match with a number of forceful shots. White tried to defend but could not counter the lethal forearm and powerful back-arm of his opponent who won the first set 21-14.
He then took charge of the match by overwhelming White in the second set 21-16. In this set both players showcased their skills. Daniel was powerful with his shots down the court cutting and smashing. White was sound in his defensive play while probing and using his back-arm to take several points off Daniel who still took the game to establish a two-set lead.
White has won 40 national road tennis titles, a feat that has not been matched by any other player on the island, so despite being two sets down several fans felt that he would pull something special out of the bag in the third set.
The number one rated player on the island outplayed his opponent in the third set. He controlled the ball on both sides of the court. On several occasions White played shots which made Daniel look like a novice and had the fans cheering with delight. He whipped his adversary 21-12 to make the third set critical.
Both players were cagey in the fourth set but Daniel ensured that he returned to the game plan that had seen jumped out into an early lead in the game. He mixed attack with defence brilliantly and achieved what many of his fans had predicted. His 21-16 victory in the third set translated into a tidy sum of $10,000 first prize.
“I feel great. Jackson is a good player but the wet court slowed him down and I got the better of him,” an elated Daniel told the media after the clash.
A beaming Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said afterwards the prize money could be increased to $15,000 next year.
He added that competitions such as The Monarchs Of The Courts Competition was an opportunity to take road tennis to a higher level.
In the 21 and under final, Emar Edwards defeated Darius Gaskin 21-15, 21-19 to capture the title. (DH)
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