Barbados go down to Colombia
So much for that jam-packed Saturday. Darian King and Haydn Lewis didn’t have to worry about getting overworked after all, as the hometown heroes dropped yesterday’s doubles encounter to hand Colombia a 4-0 Group I Davis Cup victory at the National Tennis Centre.
Saddled with a must-win scenario down 0-2, Barbados’ dynamic duo staged a valiant second-set comeback before ultimately succumbing to a tie-sealing 6-2, 7-6(4) loss to Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
It ended any concerns of Lewis and King having to extend themselves by playing the reverse singles in the same day they also had to contest a gruelling doubles match.
But they still had a more than credible showing against two world top 30 doubles players, who were a mere week removed from appearing in the Australian Open final.
Yet King and Lewis never looked outmatched, particularly in a seesaw second set they were probably unfortunate to lose after riding the rampant crowd support.
Facing a certain break at 0-40, the Bajans miraculously managed to hold for 3-2 after surviving an awful fault call down the “T”.
That seemed to fire up the crowd, but more importantly and King and Lewis, who came up with return winners from either end and even more impossible shoestring pickups and reflex volleys.
“I think we got more amped up to be out there. We started to make a lot more returns as our level picked up and I think theirs started to drop a bit,” said King.
However, the Colombians still kept pace at 4-4 behind comfortable holds from Farah and then Cabal.
And they looked set to serve for the set after King shockingly dropped serve despite holding three straight game points at 40-0.
“I can’t say for Haydn, but I know I got mentally frustrated. It’s been happening for a while now and I haven’t figured out anything to improve that,” King reasoned.
But Lewis simply raised his game, blasting two huge forehand returns as Farah handed the break right back at love after double-faulting.
Lewis then hammered a series of huge first serves to put the hosts back up 6-5 until Cabal also held easily to force the tiebreak.
King just couldn’t get over losing that service game though, missing certain winners on a routine volley and a short forehand that saw Barbados go down 3-1.
The Bajans still managed to claw their way back to 4-4, but King and Lewis both missed forehands to sandwich a Cabal put away at the net.
It was quite similar to the hosts’ tentative start to the match, where Colombia broke King immediately en route to a 3-1 lead.
The visitors just proved to be too much at the net, particularly the taller Farah, who hugged for deft volleys and put away almost every single lob attempt.
Lewis eventually lost serve too right before Cabal survived a break point when King barely missed a passing shot to serve out the set 6-2.
However, Lewis and King started to make a higher percentage of their first serves, which led to easier volleys and shorter points.
As such, the two sides traded holds back and forth for much of a tightly-contested second set.
Teenaged rookie Xavier Lawrence initially gave a good account of himself in his Davis Cup debut before losing 6-3, 6-0 to Cristian Rodriguez in an ensuing dead rubber. (JM)