Lil Man’s big moment
The most exciting road tennis player in the world, Antonio “Lil Man” Daniel, provided sheer entertainment and shots to storm into the quarter-finals of the Massy Clash of the Titans road tennis tournament on Wednesday night at The Villages at Coverley.
Wielding his racquet like a wand, Daniel conjured up some unbelievable smashes and deft injections as he dismissed any perceived threat from Julian “Snake” Quimby, easily winning 21-16, 21-12. Although rain earlier caused the match to finish after midnight, almost all of the 2 000 fans remained until the end to ensure they got their fill of the “Daniel Show”.
Ironically, the grim-faced Quimby had led Daniel 8-2 and 10-4 in the first game which would have forced a lesser player to adopt a defensive game as the pressure mounted. Not Daniel. The number-two ranked player, like Roy Fredericks on a Perth wicket, decided to hit his way out of trouble.
The fans loved it too, as Daniel sliced up Quimby with some rockets down the line and drags into angles that defied physics, and sometimes even logic. Locking the scores at 10 and 13, Daniel then went into a gear that was not available to his opponent.
At 3-3 in the second game, Daniel moved to four with a smash off of one foot which he accentuated by making a number of hops towards the centre of the court as the crowd roared.
Not a fluke
Even the inscrutable Quimby was forced to exclaim, “Wait!”, as Daniel was given a high ball close to the net which he smashed towards Quimby and the ball veered away at a ninety degree angle. A repeat of the same shot indicated that it was not a fluke.
However, even those shots could not match the gem of the night. Daniel turned his back on his opponent and then used a backhand flick from under his left armpit as if he was brushing away excess roll-on, with the ball speeding down the left line with the fans bawling and a bemused Quimby frozen in shock.
The fans’ attraction to Daniel was seen where even when the result was obvious they all waited until 19-12 when Quimby accepted defeat and conceded the match. Daniel will meet Dave Arendell (7) in the quarter-finals on Sunday. Arendell went past Anderson “St. George” Sealy 21-14, 21-12.
The stylish Aaron Barker (11) will take on Curtis Jones (3) after Barker stopped Marston Johnson 21-16, 24-22 in a match marred by controversial line calls. Last year’s losing finalist Jones needed three games to beat the southpaw Adrian “Dan” Skeete (14) 12-21, 21-18, 21-9.
The rain had put a dent in the staging of the junior matches with only two contests taking place. Seniors quarter finalist Dario Hinds had to dig deep to defeat Kyle King 18-21, 21-17, 21-8. Hinds’ younger brother Justin Smith could not replicate that performance against another senior quarterfinalist, Emar Edwards as Edwards took their match, 21-8, 21-16.