by RANDY BENNETT
THE TOP SEEDS stood firm this time around, as there were no upsets when the United Insurance Clash of the Titans Road Tennis competition continued at the Wildey Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Unlike the previous three nights where there were surprises aplenty, apart from a small
scare Terry Dottin gave to Chester “Boy Boy” Brewster, all of the other big names progressed to the quarter-finals with straight set victories.
David Arendell got the ball rolling when he easily defeated junior, Kyle King 21-11, 21-11 in the night’s first game, before Dottin brought the crowd to life with some exciting play in his match against Brewster.
Despite a valiant effort, he eventually went down 21-23, 21-17, 10-21 to his “A” class opponent.
Anthony “Ears” Mitchell then had a hard-fought win over the left-handed Shawn Spencer 24-22, 21-16, before Mark “Venom”Griffith brought the curtains down on the night’s proceedings with an entertaining 23-21, 21-19 win over Shibbir Greenidge.
Dottin, who considers his backhand “the best in the world”, rallied from being down 6-9 early on, to establish a three point lead at 14-11.
However, he would lose all five of his service points, to let Brewster regain the lead at 16-14.
In an unexpected twist though, Dottin returned the favour, winning all of his opponent’s services to lead 19-16, to the delight of the crowd.
He failed to take advantage, and after fighting back to deuce the game, Brewster would eventually take the first set when Dottin sent his forehand shot long.
The second set was all Dottin, and after a quick 6-0 start he maintained a healthy lead throughout the set. Despite a brief rally from Brewster in the dying stages, Dottin comfortably won to force a deciding game.
And when he once again assumed a commanding 6-1 lead, talk of Dottin being the “Giant Killer” could be heard around the ground, referring to his win over Michael Jean in the opening round.
Fatigue, along with an adjustment from Brewster, would lead to Dottin’s demise, however, as he won just two of the next 18 points to fall behind 8-17.
Change of plan
Known for his powerful hitting, the dreadlocked and stoutly built Brewster changed his game plan, opting to engage his tiring opponent in long rallies.
That plan worked to perfection, with Dottin just managing to escape the sow at 20-9, to rapturous applause.
Apart from a few nervous moments in the first set where Spencer held set point at 22-21, Mitchell was his usual dominant self, as he dictated the pace throughout the contest.
And after that tight first set, he established a 13-7 lead in the ensuing game before comfortably wrapping up the contest.
Spencer must be lauded for his solid play though, and is certainly one to watch out for in the very, near future.
In what was supposed to be the highlight match of the night, Greenidge once again failed to live up to expectations in his match against Griffith.
Known for his exceptional talent, Greenidge continues to make poor decisions at critical times, and is yet to impress at a major competition.
In fact, the close scoreline in the first set was mainly because of a brief 20-minute delay due to rain, at which point Griffith held a mammoth 17-9 lead.
He seemingly lost focus on resumption, allowing Greenidge to deuce the game, before eventually pulling back to win the set.
Greednidge produced a much better performance in the second set, but once again, crumbled under the pressure.
Holding a slim 18-17 lead, he would inexplicably drag three consecutive backhands into the net to hand Griffith the win on a platter.