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Williams looks set for showdown


Justin Marville

Williams  looks set  for showdown

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LOCAL TENNIS is shaping up for the latest edition of its best rivalry.
Make that another semi-final berth for Seanon Williams after the third seed advanced to a potential final four showdown with nemesis Russell Moseley via yesterday’s 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over No. 8 Richard Hornby in the CIBC FirstCaribbean Tennis Championships at the Ocean View Courts.
Moseley, seeded second, was slated to play seasoned Bernard Frost later last night in a rematch of last year’s national championships final with hopes of renewing the sport’s most epic head-to-head matchup.
At least Williams held up his end of the bargain, with the reigning five-time national champ ending Hornby’s run after surviving some nervous moments in the second set including losing serve to go down 6-5.
But Hornby visibly got tight, double-faulting and spraying a pair of forehands long to hand the break right back in his very next service game. This was after the New Zealand-born Davis Cup hopeful had already blown two break points for a chance to go ahead 4-3 when Williams fell to 15-40 following some lusty forehand winners from Hornby.
However, Williams easily saved both points, coming up with a huge service winner and an inside-out passing shot before passing Hornby yet again off a deft backhand slice off the run.
Hornby found himself in prime position to win the second set again though, going up 5-2 in the ensuing tiebreak directly on the heels of a pinpoint forehand winner and an even more stunning down-the-line backhand pass.
This just brought out the best in Williams, who took advantage of two unforced Hornby errors by ripping one huge cross- court forehand winner and then going one better via a pristine backhand pass up the line to cap a run of five straight points to end the match.
It was a far cry from the first set where Williams calmly broke his 20-year-old opponent twice, including the very last game of the set to coast to a quick 6-3 advantage.
In the other half of the draw, top-ranked pro Darian King also made it safely to the semi-finals after winning the last eight games on a stretch for a routine 6-1, 6-0 over talented teen Matthew Hutchinson.
It was just business as usual for the defending champion, who seemingly hit winners at will while producing passing shots from almost any spot on the court.
He even started with two big aces while dropping just a couple points over the first three games in what has become the norm for the overseas-based pro. Hutchinson did show some flashes of the talent that led to him being included in Davis Cup trials, hitting the odd passing shot from his favoured forehand while keeping King in some extended rallies.
The promising 18-year-old even broke King after trailing 4-0, ripping a huge forehand cross court winner to get on the board in the first set. But he handed the break right back in the ensuing service game, missing two easy volleys before double-faulting on break point.
And King wasted no time consolidating, closing out the set at love before capitalizing on Hutchinson’s struggling backhand in a run of eight straight games.
No. 4 Andrew Thornton and Hornby’s younger sibling Adam are slated to play in the other quarter-final tonight at eight.

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