Smith smashes past Holder
Rachel Smith pulled off a big upset by eliminating the No. 1 seed Kim Holder when the St James Road Tennis Championship reached the semi-finals on Friday night at the Haynesville Community Centre, St James.
Playing with unusual focus and unreeling some tremendous smashes set up by confounding serves, Smith secured her first ever victory over Holder 21-16, 21-12.
The formerly dreadlocked Smith made things dread for Holder, who barely escaped the ignominy of a sow.
After hometown girl Smith took the first game with superior play, the large crowd still expected Holder to rebound
However, Holder’s response was as strange as seeing her competing in a short pants rather than her customary leggings.
At 18-9, Smith seemed on course to perform the unthinkable – and with a sow as a bonus – to emphatically avenge the numerous beating she had suffered at Holder’s hand.
Holder seemed resigned to her fate as she then served away twice to face game and match point 9-20.
Avoiding the sow saved Holder some pride, but could not diminish the unbridled celebration from Smith, who will meet theNo. 2 seed Sheldene Walrond in tonight’s final.
Walrond needed three games to stop Abigail Haynes 21-18, 16-21, 21-8.
Both women put on a fine display of road tennis, but Walrond, who has scored a number of wins over Holder in recent tournaments, proved the better player in the critical decider.
Another semi-finals highlight was the men’s No. 1 Julian “Michael Jackson” White conducting a road tennis tutorial in dismissing young Turk Darius “Baracus” Gaskin 21-11, 21-12, 21-6.
White exploited Gaskin’s suspect backhand by pushing the youngster further and further left until he ran out of real estate or to then blaze through Gaskin’s exposed forehand.
At 20-12 in the second game, rain held up play for 20 minutes and White returned to go two up with an imperious backhand smash which streaked up the line, leaving Gaskin motionless.
Gaskin made an entertaining appeal to his support crew for help, exclaiming, “This man does mek me look [expletive] all the time!”
Given fresh instructions – which failed – Gaskin returned to complain to his coaches: “This man so smart!”
White’s smartness probably warned him of impending rain as he then sped up in the third game, moving to 16-2 as Gaskin could find no answer to the stepped up plays from the “World Boss”.
At least a couple of errors allowed Gaskin some bonus points, but not enough to avert the sow.
Rain interrupted the other semi between Mark “Venom” Griffith and Curtis Jones. Jones battled back from 3-10 to reach 8-10 before the match was postponed to last night.
The in-house semis saw Cardinal “Rattigan” Webster edging Gregory “Silver Fox” Hinds 21-19, and Shaquan Morrison pipping Adrian Birch 21-19. (KB)