Barbados’ Davis Cup team have found themselves in a must-win situation.
Darian King and Haydn Lewis fought to the very end but were unable to hold serve after a 3-1 advantage in the fifth and decisive set, as they agonizingly lost 3-2 to Venezuelan pair of Luis Martinez and Jordi Munoz this afternoon at the National Tennis Center.
After three hours and 50 minutes of the nail-biting Davis Cup Group ll round three doubles rubber, the 6-7, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and 5-7 score-line was not the end result patriotic spectators wanted to see.
Speaking after the game non-playing captain, Damien Applewhaite, acknowledged that both teams competed fiercely and that it was unfortunate that Team Barbados were unable to come out with the win.
“We have been in this position before in the final of group two, so we can’t do anything about what happened just now [today] but what we can do is rest these players, make sure they recover properly and return tomorrow and it is pretty clear what we have to do, win the two singles matches tomorrow,” he said.
Barbados won everything on paper except the match having accounted for 11 aces served between King and Lewis, as Venezuela had just one. The Bajans also had seven of 13 break points compared to five from 11 by the Venezuelans who even scored less points in the match with a total of 150 in comparison to 161 by the hosts.
Barbados were ahead 6-5 in the first set when the visitors came from behind to tie the game at 6-6 and force a tie-breaker, which did not go in favour of the host team as Venezuela won the tiebreak 7-0 and led 1-0.
Barbados were down 2-1 when King and Lewis along with the crowd being their third player, rallied hard in the fourth set with Lewis executing those big serves, and was even more dominant at the top of the nets where he made the Venezuelans pay dearly with anything short, as they went on to level the set 2-2.
Similarly King ‘s serves were on point and he commanded the backcourt with several attacking forehand shots that often left Martinez and Munoz stationary.
When it came down to crunch time in the decisive set, both countries were fired up and even though Barbados won the first point of the fifth set and went on to take a 3-1 lead, Venezuela began to hustle and strike back to equalize 3-3.
It was then the rain threatened proceedings around 3:45p.m., the Venezuelans were anxious to leave the court after a serve from King to Martinez skidded but umpire Simon Casserly opted not to and after the game was locked 5-5 in the fifth set, Venezuela secured the next two points to capture the set and rubber.
There were times in the match where both King and Lewis got a little frustrated and rightfully so especially with the late calls made by the linesmen.
Speaking after the game, a disappointed King explained, “Having chances in each and every set and not building on it and every time we broke, we got broken back. I guess it was kind of a patchy march for us. I mean that is how it goes in tennis, I am just disappointed that we did not end up with the W.”
Meanwhile his teammate, Lewis said: “I thought I served well today, I only got broken twice, so it just came down really to the hurtful part when we were up 3-1, to get broken there. It is important to try and hold serve there but I think I served well today and mixed it up well and did my job. Only two breaks in five sets, so I served well.”
The reserve singles will serve off tomorrow at 10a.m. between Darian King and Ricardo Rodriguez.