Barbadian duo Shawn Simpson and Rhett Cumberbatch gave it their best shot but came up short in the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.-sponsored Barbados Men’s Squash Open round of 16.
Barbados’ number one player Simpson was first on court against Antonio De La Torre of Guatemala this morning at the Barbados Squash Club, Marine Garden, Hastings, Christ Church. The Guatemalan ranked 266 in the world showed his level of experience to take the best of five set showdown 11-9, 6-11, 11-8 and 11-8 against the 474 ranked Simpson.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first set De La Torre appeared as though he was about to take a 2-0 lead in the second set when the homeboy showed some resistance after being down 4-3, by dropping two short shots followed by a hard smash for three vital points and a 6-4 lead that took the momentum away from De La Torre. This tied the game 1-1 and gave the home lad a chance to get himself back into the must-win contest.
Both men were very attacking with their strokeplay in the third set and had some long rallies that went in favour of De La Torre who managed to take the lead from Simpson, who was guilty of too many unforced errors and gifted his opponent easy points and a 2-1 advantage.
Simpson needed to fight much harder in the fourth set in order to stay alive and force the fifth and decisive set. Again the rallies continued and De La Torre with a three point (8-5) lead was put on the backfoot by an intense looking Simpson who forced the visitor to hit down and he levelled the scores at 8-8. But De La Torre apparently worked out a strategy to hit hard and wide of the court in an effort to make Simpson run opposite sides until he could not reach to defend the play.
After the match Simpson told Barbados TODAY that despite the loss he felt up to par with his opponent.
“I felt good on court in terms of giving my all. The level of squash that I had to play was slightly higher than I am accustomed to. I felt like I was right there with him in terms of shots. But it was the level of intensity, rallies and fitness that have made him come out on top. I started to fade in between some of the games whereas he might have recovered a bit quicker than I did and that gave him that little boost to pull away,” Simpson explained.
Looking ahead the 32-year-old now has his eyes set on playing professionally in the United States or Central America later this year in an effort to improve on his rankings.
In the other game Cumberbatch had a tough task of being the man to take Barbados through to the quarterfinal but he too found the going difficult and went down in straight sets to Julian Morrison of Jamaica 11-9, 11-3 and 11-9. Cumberbatch had a good start in the first set with a three point advantage at 8-5 when Morrison leveled the scores 8-8 and even though Cumberbatch took a one point lead at 9-8, Morrison with a few good shots wide of Cumberbatch came from behind to take a 1-0 lead.
The Jamaican was in total control in the second set with a 7-3 lead and Cumberbatch never rebounded. The third set was similar, only this time Cumberbatch showed more aggression hitting the board hard to come from being down 7-4 to tie the scores 7-7 and bring himself back into the game. However, again he rushed too many of his plays and that allowed Morrison to take a clean sweep.
There were other round of 16 matches played and a major upset came when the number one seed in this tournament Joe Chapman of the British Virgin Islands and ranked 107, lost in straight sets to Lawrence Green of England 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 in an exciting battle.
Joe Green the brother of Lawrence pulled off a hard fought 14-12, 11-5 and 11-9 win against Spencer Lovejoy representing United States (USA). The USA suffered three other defeats when Richard Chin lost 11-4, 11-6, 11-3 to Micah Franklyn of Bermuda, David Cromwell was defeated 11-7, 11-7 and 12-7 by Lewis Doughty of England and Fernando Magdaleno of Mexico got the better of Le Roy Leong 11-9, 11-9, 7-11 and 11-6.
Meanwhile Cameron Stafford of Cayman Islands was victorious 11-6, 11-6 and 11-8 over Jules Snagg of St Vincent and the Grenadines.