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    March 18

  • 01:18 PM

King barely misses main draw

JUSTIN MARVILLE, justinmarville@nationnews.com

Added 11 January 2019

darian-king-091518

Darian King (FILE)

The cardiac kid’s comeback came up just short. Darian King barely missed out on his greatest rally yet, and another spot in the main draw of a grand slam, having dropped last night’s heartbreaker in the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open.

Valiantly coming from a set down against Viktor Troicki, King went up a break in the third before ultimately losing an agonisingly tough 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 result to the former world No.12.

It was the painful end to yet another inspiring run Down Under for the 26-year-old Bajan ace, who promised so much with big wins over former finalist Marcos Baghdatis and Alexey Vatutin, following last year’s gut-wrenching loss at this same stage.

But this one hurt even more, as King was just three games away from making his second main draw appearance at a major after breaking the Serbian for a 3-2 lead.

He just didn’t have the legs to get home while Troicki leaned on his big game experience to rifle two forehand winners to get the break right back.

And the Serb quickly consolidated for 4-3 with three huge serves and another equally big forehand pass.

Yet King looked likely of levelling the score following a pair of stunning volleys at the net that gave him a 30-15 cushion.

However, he missed a passing shot wide before going long on an ensuing backhand to give Troicki the break to the crowd’s astonishment.

Troicki then wasted no time in closing out the match, holding at love with a powerful forehand down the line and two telling first serves.

He seemed certain of winning the contest much earlier too, having won the first set just before holding three break points for a 2-1 lead in the second.

But King bravely saved all three, digging himself out of that 0-40 hole to stay alive in the match.

The momentum then quickly swung in his favour and King capitalised by jumping all over Troicki to break for 4-2 after the seasoned Serbian sprayed groundstrokes all over the court.

Using his favoured inside-out forehand, King began to dictate the pace of play to hold for 5-2 before serving out the set two games later.

And he looked to have the match on his racquet shortly thereafter when he come up with successive winners to break for 3-2.

It was nothing close to resembling Troicki’s sizzling start to the match that saw the super Serb slinging winners from either wing to go up 5-1.

Despite King’s defensive efforts Troicki still broke twice and then closed out the opening stanza with a big first serve.

King eventually adjusted though, getting more aggressive with his forehand while making his way into the net to end the points faster.

The two men then went toe to toe in an entertaining brand of tennis before King made Troicki pay for blowing all three break points early in the second set. (JM)

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