For the third time in Davis Cup history, Barbados has been relegated to Group Two.
It was a mountain to climb for the Radisson Barbados Davis Cup team who lost 4-0 against Ecuador on the second and final day of the Americas Zone Group l Second Round relegation play-off tie.
The national side lost both singles matches after local top ace Darian King failed to get past Ecuador number two Emilio Gomez who won 6-3, 3-6 and 6-3 in a heart-breaking moment for his country.
Number two seeded Matthew Foster- Estwick also went down 6-0 and 6-1 in the opening rubber yesterday.
Ecuadorian doubles team comprising specialist players Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo, who are both left-handed , won the third rubber in straight sets 6-4 and 7-6 against King and Haydn Lewis who give it their all on the court but just couldn’t prevent Barbados from their relegation fate.
The last time Barbados was relegated to Group Two was 2016 but managed to gain promotion in 2017 and there are now back there yet again.
As Barbados seeks to find other options to compete at this level, Xavier Lawrence playing his second match on home soil at this level took to the court for the fourth rubber of this tie and even though the 19-year-old gave an energetic performance he lost in straight sets 6-0, 6-1 to a more experience Diego Hidalgo who has a single ranking of 729 and 293 in doubles.
During the post-match press conference, Barbados’ team captain Damien Applewhaite said it was not the result they were looking for, crediting the outcome to the skill level of the Ecuadorians.
“It was disappointing for us because we wanted to be more competitive from a scoreline point of view. There is no doubt the sort of effort my boys put in because they give a hundred percent,” said Applewhaite who made it clear that despite the performance Barbados is a Group one team and deserves to play at the level.
“We belong in Group One. If we didn’t belong in Group One, then they wouldn’t promote us. Our objective is to get to Group One when we were in Group Two, and we have accomplished that objective so far in our history,” Applewhaite said.
King and Lewis were broken in the first set, and Applewhaite explained that from there on King and Lewis tried to take care of their service game but just couldn’t get over the line on their return games against Escobar and Hidalgo.
During the one hour and 41-minute-long matchup, King and Lewis won a total of 58 points compared to 73 by Escobar ranked 195 and Hidalgo 293 as they scored three aces while the Barbadians had two.
After the match, Hidalgo said both him and Escobar consistently served well and that made the difference for his team during the match.
“We didn’t get broken during the whole match, and I thought that was key. And we stayed consistent during the first set, and we had a good start, and that was important,” said Hidalgo who hammered several unanswered match winning points in the frontcourt.
Meanwhile, Escobar said, “I was feeling confident with my partner, and the most important thing that we brought to this tie was that we played a lot of doubles match this season. Deigo has won many Futures, I won one Challenger and played so many matches that in this situation I kept reminding myself that I have done this all year… The most important thing, we felt that we were in better shape than them, so if the match was going to be longer, at some point, their level was going to drop a little, and that gives us the confidence that we need.”