The tennis racquet of Haydn Lewis has once again led Barbados to Davis Cup glory.
With rain affecting play this past weekend and all of yesterday, Barbados were in a must-win situation on the second and final reserved day of the Davis Cup Americas Zone ll round three tie against Venezuela who were leading 2-1 this morning at the National Tennis Center in Wildey.
Darian King registered a comfortable 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 and 6-3 victory against Venezuela number one seed Ricardo Rodriguez which locked the tie 2-2 earlier today in the reverse singles and forced a fifth and decisive rubber.
This was left up to Lewis, who did the job and brought joy to his team by defeating Luis Martinez 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 and 6-4 to secure the tie 3-2 for Barbados who will now feature against the big boys of Group l namely Brazil and Argentina come next February.
After dedicating his memorable win to little cousin Michael Marshall who died recently, Lewis had a few things to get off his chest, and the lack of support especially from Government was on top of the agenda.
“For me, it is a huge deal despite the lack of support tennis has been getting from Government. We were in group one for two years and we did not get any support whatsoever and as a result, it was very difficult to stay in that group which is a much higher level.
“But without support, we managed to get back there, and I managed to get this win and it goes to show that we belong in that group [one]. But to be realistic we are not going to stay in that group very long if we do not get the support we need,” Lewis said.
In 2014, Barbados was in a similar situation against Mexico, seeking Group l promotion when Lewis brought home the Bajan men.
Fast forward three years and the 31-year-old delivered once again for Barbados and in the process showed it was no fluke when he did it previously.
Everyone knew King had what it took to level the tie this morning when he resumed leading 5-2 in the second set against Rodriguez.
But the Bajan ace ranked 159th got off to a sluggish start as he dropped three early points which allowed Rodriguez to equalize the game at 5-5. But King managed to save two break points at 5-5 before winning the serve and the next two games to tie the sets 1-1.
From there he had no problems taking care of business against Rodriguez to keep Barbados’ hope alive.
Then around 12 p.m. Lewis and Martinez walked onto the court but both men had to wait a couple minutes before play actually got underway for reasons totally out of their control as the Davis Cup website was down.
When play did actually get underway, Lewis showed signs of frustration having waited that long for the website to get sorted and not being granted additional time to warm up again. This seemingly was a factor in him losing the first set.
However, in the second set, he put aside his frustrations and began playing real tennis which the small crowd on hand was happy to see as he dominated the next three sets with a total of 16 high-class aces, as he buried Martinez on numerous occasions at the top of the nets.
Having come from behind to lead two sets to one, Lewis needed to close out the fourth set for the win and despite a few stubborn plays from Martinez to take a 3-2 lead, Lewis managed to tie 3-3 and broke the Venezuelan to take the lead and eventually the set 6-4 for that triumphant moment that saw him slam his racquet in jubilation.