Darian King has led the Barbados Davis Cup team to an historic win and in so doing has moved to a career high 112th world ranking.
For the first time in Davis Cup history, Barbados defeated Guatemala 3-2 and earned their place once more in the Americas Group ll final.
After the opening day on Friday ended 1-1, a superb 6-3, 6-4 and 6-3 victory by King and Haydn Lewis in the doubles against Christopher Diaz and Wilfredo Gonzalez on Saturday set things up nicely to give the home side a 2-1 advantage in the tie.
That performance ensured there was no unnecessary pressure for King when he contested the reverse singles Sunday morning against Diaz at the National Tennis Center, Wildey.
The top ranked Bajan ace jumped from number 114 to his best standing to date, when he slammed Diaz 6-4, 6-3 and 6-2 in two hours and seven minutes to win his second singles match of this Davis Cup tie and give his country the opportunity to face Venezuela who also defeated El Salvador 3-2 yesterday to secure their places.
It hasn’t yet been confirmed but it is expected that Venezuela will tour Barbados to contest that all-important final.
Speaking about his overall performance after the game, King explained how comfortable a match it was for him and the fact that his game plans have been going accordingly especially his serves, for which he credited his gym work.
He also added that after starting slowly in the first two sets where Diaz led 2-0 in both instances, his opponent had to be credited for playing well at that point in the match but said he did not fear Diaz who he knows quite well.
“I wasn’t fearing, I was pretty comfortable, I wasn’t stressing myself and as I said I knew how he played and I was trying to force a lot of errors out of him which I did and I did not want to be complacent but I still came out…because each day is a different tennis match. I am glad I can come out and play better on the day,” said King who was supported by his non-playing captain Damien Applewhaite who was happy with his team’s performance.
Playing under quite windy conditions, there were times when the officials made a few unfavourable calls especially against Diaz who was not happy and showed his frustration. One such instance was in the second set when King was down 2-0 and broke his way back to tie the game 2-2 and took the lead 5-2, a call was made against Diaz and the 511th ranked player made an unsportsmanlike comment that forced the chair umpire Simon Casserly to give him a stern warning.
Following that Diaz won the eight point of the second set to cut the deficit 3-5 and make sure King worked for his match point which came about after several long rallies with a number of deuces before finally overcoming his man to take a two-set advantage.
There were times in the showdown when both men put each other to the test with clean strokes, long rallies and a number of drop shots at the nets which showed who had the greater stamina and recovery skills.
In the sixth game of the third set Diaz double faulted, making it his third of the match and shortly after King with the advantage and break point, earned the point to go up 5-2 and eventually clinched the best of five set in straight sets 3-0.
Haydn Lewis played the fifth and final match in which he lost 7-5, 4-6 and 7-5 to Wilfredo Gonzalez.