Defending champion Sheldene Walrond defeated archrival Kim Holder 22-20, 21-12, to retain her title when the women’s final of the Barbados Public Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited Monarchs of the Courts took place at the Big Rock Arena last night.
In a contest that sometimes appeared to be lacklustre, Walrond registered her seventh successive victory over Holder in the past 18 months. The first set began at 9.28 p.m. and was over at 9.42 p.m. This game appeared to be a cat and mouse encounter between the two players with both of them appearing to be waiting for each other to set the pace of the match.
Walrond held an early lead at 3-2 in the match, while Holder rarely played her trademark smash. Both players were content to push the ball around. Walrond maintained the lead at 6-4, Holder scored three points while her opponent managed just a single point to lock the game at 7.
The powerfully built Holder took over the lead at 8-7, she unleashed a smash for the first time in the game to push her lead to 9-8. Walrond in her usual cool manner locked the game at 9. Holder at this stage began to surge ahead.
She steadily collected points and held a four-point lead at 17-13. The game was at this stage in Holder’s favour. The former monarch of the courts then proceeded to collect three points and at 20-16 was just one point away from winning the game.
Suddenly it all began to fall apart for Holder, she struck the ball into the net and out of the court allowing Walrond to lock the game at 20. Holder hit the ball out of the court a second time which give Walrond the lead at 21-20. A couple of seconds later she made the same error and Walrond won the game 22-20.
Walrond dominated Holder in the second game which lasted just eight minutes. At one stage Holder was in danger of being sowed. The defending champion took command of the game from the start and raced to a ten-point lead over the once formidable Holder.
At 12-2, several of the spectators began trying to recall if they had ever seen the former queen of the road tennis courts being sowed. Walrond began to pursue Holder like a lioness after prey, her placement was precise and she started to unleash a couple of sizzling smashes of her own.
Holder was struggling to return the ball and Walrond moved in for the kill at 18-7. Suddenly on three successive occasions, the defending champion played the ball into the net which allowed her opponent to gain three points and escape being sowed. The game ended at 21-12 after Holder struck the ball out of courts to give Walrond the title and the $10,000 prize for retaining her title.
After the game, Walrond said even though her victory may have looked easy, it was always a tough task to play against Holder.
“It is never easy to play against Kim, I never ever chart a plan when I am playing against her, I just do whatever is necessary. If I have to defend I do that. If I have to attack. that is what I do. It will be folly to chart out a plan for a match against Kim because she is an outstanding player,” Walrond said.