by Morissa Lindsay
A last-minute pull out by Haydn Lewis and a straight sets defeat in today’s doubles match of the Davis Cup Group One tie have allowed Ecuador to take a 2-1 lead over hosts Barbados.
Just before 11 a.m. at the Barbados Lawn Tennis Association’s Wildey, St Michael court where the tie is being played, Lewis, Barbados’ number two player, informed management that due to his persistent back problem, he was advised by the physiotherapist not to play today’s doubles match in which he was scheduled to team-up with number one Darian King.
That news unexpectedly forced Barbados team captain Kevin Yarde and management to seek an alternative player and the task fell to Russell Moseley.
Ecuador number one player Gonzalo Escobar who took to the court for the first time in this tie and partner Emilio Gomez who defeated Lewis 6-1, 7-6 and 6-4 in yesterday’s singles match, definitely capitalised on Barbados’ misfortune and took today’s doubles match quite convincingly 6-3, 6-4 and 6-1 over King and Moseley.
Speaking after the game, Yarde told the media prior to the start of the match during warm-ups this morning, Lewis started to feel pain in his back.
He said the fact that the 29-year-old was unable to play today meant that they will have to decide who will play in his place for tomorrow’s singles game in which he was scheduled to play Ivan Endara.
“I don’t think anyone woke up this morning and expected this and I certainly didn’t. I know Russell certainly didn’t and neither did Darian. As I said, Haydn left here yesterday and he was fine and then he came here this morning and didn’t seem fine. It will be a tough decision to make in terms of who will play between Moseley and Seanon Williams,” said Yarde, who added that he intended to sleep on that decision overnight.
Most of the pressure was definitely on King during the match-up and even though both teams admitted that they got off to a pretty shaky start, Ecuador took the momentum by winning the first set. Barbados responded well at the start of the second with a 1-0 lead but Escobar and Gomez put themselves back in it, moving smoothly to a 3-1 advantage.
Moseley and King however played some good shots and their serves were spot on and that allowed them to fight their way back to 3-2 but the dominant Ecuadorians never let their guards down and went ahead 4-2 even though Barbados were always one step behind and trailed 4-3, 5-4.
The Ecuadorians at that stage were really fired up and took the set 6-4 despite loud applause and encouragement from the home fans to boost their team.
With a 2-1 lead Escobar and Gomez wasted no time finishing off the Barbadians who were down 2-0 in the third set and managed to win a game, but did not make much of a difference as the visitors went on to claim the set 6-1 and the overall game.
After the game Moseley who played in his first Davis Cup match on home soil said: “It is kind of embarrassing knowing that you are playing with the best player on court and you’re getting beat in straight sets because you are just not good enough, but I know that we are close enough that we will get over it and hope for the best moving forward.”
Meanwhile King said after today’s defeat and being down 2-1 he did not feel any added pressure to perform in tomorrow’s singles match against Gomez and intended to play his normal game.
He explained: “I think this happened to us against Mexico and I am just going to go out there and play and not worry about results and try to execute every point.”
Two singles are scheduled for tomorrow and up first will be King against Gomez starting at 10 a.m. That should be a good game as both men are fresh off a win from yesterday’s singles. The second and final game to bring the curtains down on this tie will be Ivan Endara versus either Moseley or Williams.