Kaipo takes fight to Hornby
Remember the name Kaipo Marshall.
The talented teen has already made a case for national selection at just 15 years old, having pushed Davis Cup player Adam Hornby to the distance in a near four-hour marathon at yesterday’s Top 8 Invitational Tennis Tournament.
Playing on stadium court at the National Tennis Centre, Marshall went toe to toe with the more seasoned 22-year-old before Hornby ultimately prevailed 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 in a three-set thriller.
It was the only true contest in an otherwise uneventful day that saw Hornby’s fellow contenders Russell Moseley, Seanon Williams and Xavier Lawrence all predictably win their opening round robin matches.
Hornby expected to do likewise as well, but was surprisingly extended by an upset-minded teenager who is fresh from winning the men’s open national championship.
And Marshall very nearly won this match too, coming from a set down to force a third and decisive stanza that he led 4-3.
But Hornby held easily, and then watched as Marshall cracked under pressure by losing his serve at love with a double fault and two unforced errors.
The Idaho State University player then rushed out to 40-0 with a big serve and two volleys before Marshall hit a backhand wide on match point.
It proved the anticlimactic finish to a gripping see-saw affair that Hornby first took control of in the first set when he broke for 4-3.
However, a 40-minute rain delay slowed down his charge, and Marshall immediately came back out swinging with a forehand passing shot to take back the break.
The ensuing tiebreak was just as wild, as no one held serve for the first five points.
Hornby eventually took control though, going up 6-3 for three match points on an easy volley and a big ace following two Marshall backhand errors.
Marshall saved the first two but dumped a forehand in the net to give Hornby the set.
But Marshall shook that off quickly, breaking Hornby to start the second before capitalising on some wayward forehands to break again for 4-1.
He did hand back one of those breaks at 4-2 but managed to take Hornby’s serve again to close out the set when the Davis Cup player had successive double faults.
Nothing much separated them from there as they traded blows like two prized fighters in a heavyweight bout.
Marshall did have a break point when Hornby served for 2-2 but the Division I college player saved it with a huge ace down the T.
Earlier in that same group, local no. 1 Russell Moseley made light work of Simon Lewis 6-1, 6-3 while Lawrence had to come from a set down to beat Aquille Trotman 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 in Group 2.
Seanon Williams had an easier time of it in his Group 2 opener when he dismissed Robert Hayden 6-3, 6-1. (JM)