Darian King shone with a superb win but Ecuador through Emilio Gomez came from behind and levelled the contest at 1-1 on the opening day of their Davis Cup Group One tie today.
Played at the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association’s Wildey, St Michael hard court, King, ranked number one on the island, delivered a phenomenal performance in front of his home fans to defeat Ivan Endara in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 and 6-2.
Barbados number two player Haydn Lewis, though, found the going tough against Ecuador number two player Emilio Gomez who won 6-1, 7-6 and 6-4 to level the playing field and give his side a chance of staying alive in the tie.
Speaking after the game at a press conference King said he had a game plan and just went out and executed it.
“I have seen Endara play a couple times on ATP [Association of Tennis Professionals] tours and as I said earlier in another press conference I just have to go out there and execute my game plan and that is what I did. Serve well and build a solid foundation,” King said.
The 23-year-old right-handed player also added that he was not feeling himself in the first two sets and tried to implement a few things under the instruction of his team captain Kevin Yarde. But when they realized it was not working out especially at one point where King double faulted, he decided to go back to his normal game plan and finished off Endara.
“I tried to neutralize his forehand because I know he has a big hit and his forehand is very heavy, very penetrative on court. So my game plan was to go to his forehand and then get to his backhand,” said King who will feature in tomorrow’s doubles match with Lewis.
Endara admitted that he felt pressured playing against King and there were times in the game, especially in the second set, where he shouted with frustration when things did not go his way. Endara, known for his forehand shots, had King at one point in the second set 4-4 but the homeboy did not let up and regained the advantage at 5-4 and eventually took the set.
King with a 2-1 lead then continued his momentum into the third set by going up 1-0 but that lasted only for so long as Endara bounced back to level the scores 1-1. But Barbados’ golden boy proved to be in a different league to his opponent who had very limited answers for King during the game that lasted one hour and 15 minutes.
After King’s superb display of tennis on court local fans were hoping that Lewis would follow suit and give Barbados a 2-0 lead. But that was not meant to be as he came up against Gomez who was not an easy customer.
The son of Andres Gomez who won the French Open back in 1990 and was also at one point in history ranked number four in the world in singles, Gomez had Lewis on the backfoot on several occasions.
Lewis actually started off with a bang when he took the lead in the first set 1-0 but Gomez tied the scores, then took the lead 2-1 and never looked back.
Then in the second set the Bajan lad produced a greater effort when Emilio led 4-1 and Lewis cooked up some brilliant serves to break back into the game and lock the game 4-4. From there both men traded point for point until eventually the scores were locked 6-6 and it was at that stage Lewis’ emotions got the better of him and he hit the ball away in frustration and had to be warned.
Gomez used that in his favour and went on to take the set during the tiebreak 7-6. Lewis put up greater fight in the third set when he led 3-1 but Gomez came back and levelled it 3-3. Even though Lewis managed to win another point and put the showdown at 5-4 it was the visitor who eventually took the victory.
Lewis must be credited for his excellent serves but it was plays that included powerful forearm shots, equally powerful serves and extreme swiftness from the Ecuadorian that had Lewis beaten at times.
Tomorrow’s play will begin at 12 noon with the doubles match that will feature both King and Lewis against Gomez and Ecuador’s number one rank player Gonzalo Escobar.