Barbados reamins in Group I of the Davis Cup competition.
And they have to thank their number one player Darian King for maintaining this status.
Yesterday afternoon at the National Tennis Centre in Wildey, St Michael Barbados avoided demotion when they won their relegation tie against Uruguay 3-2.
The home side entered the final day of competition with a 2-1 advantage after King won his singles match on the opening day last Friday against Rodrigo Arus 3-1. He then returned on Saturday and teamed up with Haydn Lewis in the doubles which they won 3-0. Yesterday in the reverse singles King close it out when he came out on top with a straight sets victory at 7-6, 6-2 and 6-0 over Santiago Maresca. In the other game Barbados’ Russell Moseley was beaten by teenager Nicholas Xiviller 6-1, 6-4, in a match strictly for personal glory.
The third and decisive day did not end without drama when King and Uruguay team captain Enrique Perez-Cassarino having a verbal exchange that forced the referee to intervene.
At the start of the encounter it appeared as though King got off to a slow start but after the game he said that was not the case but did acknowledge that his forearm along with the wind caused problems on court and made him focus a lot more mentally in order to pull off the win.
“I wouldn’t say I started slow. I was up in most of the games but just didn’t convert my chances. But it was tough because the wind was blowing pretty strongly and unusually and it was tough for me, especially on the far side to the pavilion. But that set point was important for me to come up with the first and I relaxed more and played my game.
“It is very tough when your weapon is not working on the day. But for me to dig deep mentally –– because some points I was going haywire –– but for me to jump back into my game just being solid on the change-over and let the game come to you, I think that really helped and hopefully when I go back on tour it works,” the 23-year-old said.
He also explained the situation between him and Perez-Cassarino.
“That was just the heat of the moment after hitting two aces [in the third set]. I was feeling it and then went to hit the third and the ball got away from me and the crowd thought it was pretty funny and actually I did too. And Enrique was at the crowd and you know I had to back Barbados. So I had a few exchanges of words. But I mean he is the only guy that ever came to Barbados and caused problems with the crowd. But at the end of the day it was fine. I gave him a t-shirt of Barbados and after the match we shook hands and everything was okay.”
Rain played a factor yet again at the start which was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. but had to be delayed by at least 45 minutes. Eventually the game got underway around 10:15 a.m. and it was a battle to the very end during the first set between the two men.
Maresca won the toss and King went up 1-0 but the Uruguayan managed to level the scores and take the advantage 2-1 thanks to some unforced errors by King who began to struggle with his forearm. King broke back at 2-2 and it was from there on that they traded points until Maresca went ahead 6-5 and King at 40-15 made a winner and caused the game to go into a tie-break.
During the tie-break King took the first point and again Maresca avoided error and managed to keep up at 5-5. He took the lead by one point but then King with a great shot went on to take the one-hour- long set.
King started out well in the second set with shots that beat Maresca from the baseline even though the Uruguayan won two games in that set to the dismay of King who showed his frustrations when he shouted “my forearm gone bum”.
King still did well to hold out at 5-2 and sent down a few aces to eventually win the game.
Barbados number one player then went on to close out the third set comfortably despite his brief altercation.
Team captain Kevin Yarde was pleased with the performance and said the goal has always been to stay in Group l from since last month and was very happy that they accomplished that.
“This victory is not as emotional for me because they did not bring their strongest team. But a win is a win and going forward I know we have to put some things in place for next year and all the players involve will have to step up their game. From corporate Barbados to Government everybody has to step their game if we want to remain competitive in Group one and beyond and as I said take it one day at a time,” Yarde said, while looking ahead to March 2016 when Barbados visit Ecuador to play their first game.
The successful captain also analyzed the entire weekend which he described as a roller coaster one.
“Last few days have been a roller coaster ride but that wasn’t too bad. I saw positive signs in Seanon [Williams] game on Friday but he still has a lot of work to do and for Haydn as well we have seen good signs from Haydn and his back. So I think once these guys step up to the plate we have a good chance of remaining in group one next year and possibly going on to the world group playoffs,” he said.