Barbadian ace Darian King did not have to break much of a sweat as Barbados came from a rubber down to level the Davis Cup Americas Group ll round three tie 1-1 against Venezuela today.
Playing his very first match since the United States Open, King needed to win in order to keep Barbados’ hopes of a Group l promotion alive after Matthew Foster- Estwick failed to get past Ricardo Rodriguez in the best of five sets encounter, losing 1-6, 2-6 and 1-6 during the opening match this morning at the National Tennis Center.
And just when King delivered a dominant display of tennis to secure the opening set 6-1 against Venezuela’s number two seed Jordi Munoz, and began the first game of the second set with a one-love lead, the home fans were even more glued to their seats to see more exciting tennis action from their star player this afternoon. However, they were left a bit disappointed when Jamaican referee Simon Casserly announced just after 1 p.m. that Munoz retired after a total of 29 minutes facing King.
Explaining his condition to the media, Munoz said: “When I was on the court preparing for the match I felt bad, like vomiting and I tried to give my best [during the match against Darian King] but I decided that it is not the best sense to continue today because I need to recover for tomorrow because at the moment I am the player who is going to play the doubles.”
Of course, King was looking forward to finishing off Munoz quickly either way and since it concluded in such circumstances, he is now looking forward towards tomorrow’s doubles match with teammate Haydn Lewis.
The 156th ITF world ranked King made it look so easy but explained his second serve was an area that needed more attention and something he along with his coach Christopher King, his older brother, would spend time working on before tomorrow’s double match at noon.
“Still a few things to work on, as you see the second serve [I need to work on]. I got broken in the first [set] because of the few double faults….But as I said I did not play competitively after the United States Open, so it is just to get back into the stride of matches and just to work on my off days and when I have free time,” said King, who won a total of 35 points compared to 14 by Munoz.
Unfortunately, King’s teammate, Foster-Estwick, playing his very first Davis Cup match, was unable to put up a pleasing performance at home as he lost in straight sets to a more seasoned campaigner in Rodriguez. The Venezuelan accounted for seven of 14 break points, which were among the decisive factors in the game.
The 20-year-old, Foster-Estwick showed lots of aggression which at times turned into frustration at not being able to keep the ball in play and being unable to return at the forecourt at crucial moments.
But if there are any positives for him to take away these were his huge serves that earned him two aces in the first set.
The serves were so big that it forced Rodriguez to wait for the return way off the baseline and credit to Rodriguez who read the ball well and responded accordingly, applying lots of topspin on each delivery, something he admitted during the post-match interview was his game plan coming into the match against Foster- Estwick.
As Barbados looks to score a 2-1 advantage during tomorrow’s doubles match, non-playing captain, Damien Applewhaite said his team was in an all too familiar position that placed them in a must-win situation.
“It comes down to the crucial doubles tomorrow, our plan is always to perform at our best and try to get the big win tomorrow. We are always confident in our performances and just hope that once we do our best and perform well we come out on top,” Applewhaite said.
Tomorrow’s doubles match takes place at the Tennis Center beginning at 12 p.m.