King blows away Hornby in semis
IT TOOK 43 minutes for Darian to show just how much of a King he is.
Another opponent, another rout for Barbados’ best tennis player, as top-ranked Darian King easily reached a second successive CIBC First Caribbean Championships final following yesterday’s 6-0, 6-1 whipping of Adam Hornby at the Ocean View Courts.
The routine straight-sets win was just the latest tour de force performance from the world No. 486, who has dropped all of four games heading into tomorrow’s final against the winner of today’s all-Davis Cup clash between rivals Seanon Williams and Russell Moseley.
Hornby could probably consider himself lucky to have won one of those four, having watched King rattle off nine straight games without much bother without having to face a single game point.
But while King didn’t appear to break a sweat, he sure was breaking the New Zealand-based Hornby after consistently coming up with deep returns off his opponent’s thunderous first serves.
“He has a huge serve, so it was for me to just neutralize that and then get in to the point,” explained King in his post-match interview.
“I have been working a lot on returning at Davis Cup practice, and with [coaches] Sydney [Lopez] and Chris [King], now all of it is coming through right now.”
Hornby did eventually get on the board after losing the first set at love and watching King go ahead 3-0, taking advantage of two rare King unforced errors and a lucky bounce off the tape by firing a huge service winner to take the game at love.
It proved the extent of his resistance, though, as King immediately returned with some big serves of his own including a big ace out wide that barely caught the tramline.
And he wasn’t done there, breaking Hornby again at love off a pair of pristine forehand passing shots – the first zipping by Hornby up the line before King went even better with a ridiculous angle going cross-court.
“I hit a couple big serves and they came back [at me] just as big so it was a bit tough,” Hornby exclaimed.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t play well, sure I could’ve been better but it’s always hard going against someone like him.”
Nowhere was that more evident than in the initial exchanges of the first set where King’s big forehand basically dominated every point that went into some semblance of a rally.
And those were on the occasions King didn’t win easy points outright with big first serves or heavy top spin serves out wide that basically took Hornby off the court.
He even added a stunning backhand pass down the line for good measure to break Hornby for the first set before returning with a cheeky drop shot from the baseline to end a long back-and-forth rally.
Hornby did show some measure of fight, mixing it up by attacking the net more off his first serve only to watch a couple of forehands whizz right by him at net.
“It’s just tough playing Darian because he hits the ball quite a bit bigger than most the other guys so it’s always that step up,” he said.