Mark “Venom” Griffith is the winner of the inaugural Lance Bynoe Masters Open Road Tennis Tournament.
Griffith, Barbados’ leading road tennis player, won the title after defeating Antonio “Lil Man” Daniel 22-20, 21-14 in the final played at the Rubis Sports Club, Brighton, St Michael Monday night.
In the first game, Griffith fought skillfully to defeat Daniel who had outplayed him for most of the match. Daniel tested Griffith with several attacking shots often leaving him stranded with a variety of vicious smashes.
Daniel made it clear he intended to dominate Griffith and began the game in an attacking mode and rushed to a four point lead. Griffith had gained a single point when the service changed at 4-1.
The attacking Daniel continued to accumulate points with his power and placement. Suddenly, the score was 8-2 with the veteran player still in the lead.
Each time Griffith attempted to get into the game Daniel pounded him into submission with an attacking shot.
Daniel and Griffith are two popular players and their fans were out in full force. At 10-5 Daniel’s fans were calling upon him to sow Griffith, while the latter’s fans were insisting that the game was not over.
Griffith dug deep and started a minor fight-back. He began to place the ball away from Daniel and unleashed a couple of smashes of his own.
This set the stage for a period of exciting tennis as Griffith forced Daniel into several errors with a number of his shots thundering into the nets.
Griffith won six points while Daniel got four. The service changed at 14 -11, and Griffith had closed the gap but Daniel still maintained the lead .
Daniel got his thunderbolts working again and began to take charge of the game. He played several amazing shots including one ‘injection’ that dropped just inches over the nets.
The service changed at 17-13, Daniel began to race toward victory winning two points to take the score to 19-13.
Then the spectators watched in amazement as Griffith won six consecutive points to lock the game at 19-19. Daniel won another point that took him closer to victory at 20-19. But a determined Griffith snatched victory away from him by first tying the game at 20-20 and then winning it at 22-20
Griffith then easily won the second game 21-14 and the first prize of $10 000.
“I cannot remember coming from so far behind to beat Lil Man in a match before, he is a very tough player and seldom gives you the opportunity to get back into the game,” Griffith told Barbados TODAY after his victory.
Sheldene Walrond captured the ladies title after she defeated Rachel Smith 21-18, 21-15.
Walrond took an early 4-1 lead in the first game and held it until the service changed at 7-3.
Smith locked the game at 7-7 and held a one point advantage at 8-7.
Walrond collected her points in an easy manner by placing the ball down the centre of the court.
She led the game at 11-9 and 12-13. Smith, playing in a confident manner, locked the game at 16 -16, and took over the lead 18-17. Walrond locked the match at 18-18 and proceeded to win it at 21-18.
Walrond then took charge of the second game winning it 21-15. She pocketed $5 000 for her efforts.
After the match, Walrond said her success was due to a new mindset.
“I have adopted a new mindset. I have been practising a lot more, so therefore it gives me the confidence to go out there and play my shots,” Walrond said.
The champion stated she was willing to take on the role as the new queen of road tennis on the island.