On his biggest stage Darian King delivered undoubtedly his biggest performance.
And Jose Hernandez was simply outclassed.
For a little over an hour this afternoon, King produced a memorable display of spectacular tennis to leave Barbados’ Davis Cup Group 1 tie against the Dominican Republic in the balance.
The 22 year-old completely dominated the higher ranked Hernandez 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 at the National Tennis Centre, to make amends for compatriot Seanon Williams’ 6-1, 6-1,6-1 defeat to Victor Estrella in the day’s opening match, and leave the rubber delicately poised at 1-1.
The contest, which took only 75 minutes, was over almost as soon as it started, as the 268th ranked Hernandez struggled to adjust to the windy conditions.
King evidently had no such issues.
“To me, I was just in the zone man. I didn’t feel any wind or anything. I think the wind really affected him, as this is his first time here,” a smiling King, who is ranked 291 told the media shortly after wrapping up victory.
“I played impressive man. I served well…normally my serve is my downfall but I think I served well today. I didn’t miss a lot of groundstrokes and I stuck to my plan.
“As I said before the wind can be a advantage or a disadvantage and for me today it was an advantage,” he added.
The island’s top ranked player even went as far as to call it his best performance ever.
“I definitely think this was my best performance over all. I was zoned in, first time in Group 1 so I think all the pressure was on them so I just relaxed and went out there and played my game.”
King, who only recently returned to the island after winning both the singles and doubles titles at the Panama F1 Futures competition, never let Hernandez settle.
He won the first point of the match with a powerful backhand winner down the line, on his way to breaking Hernandez in the first game.
And despite his opponent holding serve in the third game to reduce King’s lead to 2-1, it merely served as minor setback.
A powerful crosscourt forehand winner was followed by a scorching ace as King quickly made it 3-1, only to break his opponent once again in the fifth game.
Hernandez did have some moments of his own, leaving King stationary with a beautifully hit backhand crosscourt shot, which grazed the line on its way through.
However, with the wind blowing gustily, an evidently frustrated Hernandez regularly found either the net or outside of the court as he struggled to time the ball.
It resulted in King breaking him once more to close out the first set.
A more aggressive Hernandez started much more positively in the second set, holding his serve to leave the score tied at 1-1.
But once the wind picked back up, his struggles continued, leading to King breaking him once again to take a 4-1 lead before easily closing out the set.
Down 2-0 in the third set, Hernandez actually gave up, preferring instead to just watch King’s blazing backhand and forehand shots whizz by.
Ten minutes later it was all over, with King raising his racquet in the air as his dejected opponent walked to the net to congratulate him.
“It was tough conditions. I was clearly not on my best game and not my best day…,” a disappointed Hernandez explained.
“The wind affected me a lot. It was very bad. I have never played before in wind like this. I tried to be patient, I tried to attack, I tried to defend, I tried to go to the net, I tried everything.”
Earlier, Williams just didn’t have an answer for the 56th ranked Estrellas.
It took Estrella, who at the age of 34 became the oldest man to ever win his first ATP title last month, just 87 minutes to dismiss Williams.
Despite a positive start, the 24 year-old committed countless unforced errors, especially with his forehand, virtually handing his opponent the victory.
Not that Estrella didn’t excite the crowd at times, as he used his powerful forehand to good effect, to regularly whip shots past his bemused opponent.
Williams, though, took the loss in stride.
“I personally don’t feel that I played very well. I thought I was ready but when you actually get on the court sometimes it’s a different story,” he said.