By Morissa Lindsay
It was a tough day on court for Barbados’ top junior players as they were unable to get past the best of what international tennis had to offer this morning at the National Tennis Centre in Wildey.
Playing in the round of 16 for the International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tour Junior competition, national number one seed for Under-18s Xavier Peter-Gooding, Adam King ranked number two and Aidan Clarke were all unable to reproduce their heroics from yesterday when they won their respective matches in the round of 32.
Peter- Gooding lost 6-3, 6-4 against Lucca Benoit of Canada on court two as they both battled strong windy conditions, with brief rain in between, and in the end it was the latter with his amazing serves that emerged victorious.
During the post-match interview, Benoit expressed that he felt really good. “I played a pretty good match and just stayed focused and won some points. My serves made the difference for me today, just owning my serves,” he said.
While Benoit won the opening set 6-3, Peter-Gooding fought tremendously well to take a 4-1 lead in the second. He put up a good showing playing those lovely backhand shots that drew Benoit into the front court which he attempted to return to no avail.
Peter-Gooding’s placement was on point in this all-important set and the fact that Benoit who had a really good second serve, made a couple unforced errors, helped the Bajan top seed in his bid to force a decisive third
However, that great 4-1 advantage by Peter-Gooding did not last long because Benoit started to fight back and was able to trail 4-2 to keep his hopes alive as he applied pressure. Peter-Gooding led 4-2 with the game being deuced when the rain disrupted play once again. Moments later play recommenced and
Peter-Gooding needed to ensure he held serve but was unsuccessful as Benoit broke his serve and in so doing held it to equalize at 4-4 and then led 5-4 to stage a great comeback.
Peter-Gooding found it difficult to get his first serves in and Benoit used that to his advantage as he went on to finish the match 2-0 and advanced into the quarterfinals.
Speaking after the match, the 17-year-old Peter-Gooding who has matured in his tennis said: “I think I played better in the second set, I was a little nervous in the first but his serves really took control of the points. I made a bit too many unforced errors but hopefully for the tournament coming up next week I will be a bit more focused.”
In the other match, 16-year-old King was first on court this morning for Barbados against Lev Seidman of the United States of America and despite having home court advantage, King did not have a good game. The American took full advantage after recognizing that King’s serves were off and his returns as well.
Seidman advanced into the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-1 showing against King who just struggled throughout the match to get his game together.
“It wasn’t my best match and my opponent was decent but I wasn’t really feeling it as much today. I think the main problem was that I was taking the ball too late so then I wasn’t getting enough room to swing properly, so that caused a lot of errors for me. My serve wasn’t really on today and when my serve isn’t really at its best, everything kind of falls apart,” King explained.
Despite losing to the American, during the match King did well to win many of his service games and go up against Seidman but for some reason would allow his opponent to catch up. That in itself was a clear indication that King was having a bad game, especially the fact that he never really got into much of Seidman serves that summed up his time spent on