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Jones in upset win over White

Randy Bennett

Jones in upset win over White

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For the first time in over a decade, Curtis Jones has defeated Julian “Michael Jackson” White in a two best of three series.
Before a large crowd at the Wildey Gymnasium on Friday night, Jones shockingly eliminated the island’s No. 1 player at the semi-final stage of the United Insurance Clash Of The Titans Road Tennis Competition to book his spot in Saturday night’s final.
Jones’ surprising straight sets 21-17, 21-17 victory over White was not only the highlight of the night, but also of his long career, during which he has fallen to his arch-rival time and again.
He will face compatriot Mark “Venom” Griffith in the highly anticipated finals, after Griffith easily dismissed Anthony “Ears” Mitchell 21-14, 21-13.
“It is the first time that I have ever defeated Jackson in a best of three series, and we have been battling for over ten years,” an elated Jones told SUNSPORT shortly after achieving victory.
“From the time I came here tonight I told myself that it was do or die. My plan was to fight for every point and try not to over-attack and it worked out perfectly.”
Resuming with a 13-8 lead after rain had forced Thursday night’s game to be postponed, Jones maintained that five-point lead, pushing the score to 20-15 before duly closing out the first set.
The second set proved to be the most exciting of the night, featuring several long rallies and exhilarating shots.
With White leading 8-5, the two players engaged in an exciting 20-ball rally, which eventually ended when White sent his backhand into the net.
And the very next point, the two entertained the large crowdwith a 24-ball rally, which Jones also won to move within one at 8-7.
Exhibiting some lovely baseline play, White extended his lead to three once again, with his powerful forehand down the line pushing to score to 13-10.
Two back to back smashes from Jones helped him to claw his way back, before tying the score at 15-15.
It was here that Jones took the game by the scruff of the neck.
White’s backhand into the net was followed by Jones’ powerful cross court forehand winner to make it 17-15.
And although White won the next point following a 22-ball rally, he missed an easy smash and then sent his forehand just wide to trail 16-19.
He disappointingly placed another  smash into the top of the net to formalize his demise, much to the delight of Jones, who threw both  hands in the air in celebration.
The night’s second match never lived up to the hype, as Mitchell struggled to find a way through Griffith’s resilient defence.
After assuming an early 3-2 lead in the first set, Mitchell could only watch on as Griffith practically seized control of the contest.
While Mitchell committed several unforced errors in his attempt to attack his opponent, Griffith was solid in defensive play, allowing him to run out to a 14-4 lead.
Mitchell did stage a mini comeback to dispel any thoughts of him being sowed, pulling off a stunning forehand cross court winner that brought the crowd to its feet, to close the lead to just five at 10-15.
However, he wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the way as Venom used his service to pull away at 18-12 on his way to closing out the set.
Griffith used a similar backbreaking run in the second set to cruise to victory against a shell-shocked Mitchell.
Trailing 6-9, he won the next five points to stage a stunning comeback, which saw his lead grow to as much as six at 18-12.
Mitchell only scored one more point before Griffith achieved victory to set up a clash with his Belfield teammate Jones.