King makes Miami main draw
Last year was no fluke. Barbados’ top-ranked tennis pro Darian King is in the main draw of another big Masters tennis event, having come from a set down to advance through the qualifying rounds of the Miami Open yesterday.
Facing certain defeat down a late break in the third, the 25-year-old King rallied for the most dramatic of 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victories over world No.143 Mackenzie McDonald.
It’s the second time in as many years that King made it through to the main draw of the Miami Open following last year’s walkover when American Reilly Opelka was a surprising no-show for that final-round qualifying round match.
As a result, the Bajan ace will be preparing to play in his third ever main draw of an ATP Masters 1000 Tournament after he made his initial breakthrough at Indian Wells just weeks before that Miami Open appearance.
And if history is anything to go by then King’s run is far from done as he won both of his first-round matches last year in Miami and Indian Wells.
He made quite the impression on the big guns too, having taken a set off of then world No.10 Gael Monfils in Indian Wells before going up 4-0 against the ninth-ranked David Goffin at the 2017Miami Open.
“These are two tournaments he likes though and we know he plays very well on the big stage, so I can only be happy for him to get the win,” said King’s coach and older brother Christopher King.
“It’s the closest tournament he has to home, so the conditions are very favourable for him. We were looking for the same thing in Indian Wells to be honest but he got to the Challenger final just before that and it’s always tough to come back two days later and start an entirely new tournament.”
But King got out to a rough start here too, having lost the first set before eventually battling back in an evenly matched second stanza.
However, McDonald got an early break to go up 3-1 in the third until King staged yet another of his trademark late-game heroics.
“He played a very tough match today. He kept with the game plan as the guy is a very aggressive player and Darian wore him down and eventually got the win,” explained the elder King.
“Darian played with a lot of heart and did a lot of fighting back because he was down 3-1 in the third but of course this is nothing new for him, especially at this level.” (JM)