Two new titans of road tennis
Road tennis fans were given a peek into the future when the Lions And Leo Club Of Barbados 30 And Under Tournament climaxed at the Deighton “Pa” Roach Tennis Facility on Saturday night.
And the future screamed Darius “Baracus” Gaskin and Rachel Smith!
Rains the previous night had prevented the playing of the 21-30 finals in the Touch Of Class event, forcing Gaskin to return to face the flashy Dario Hinds, and Smith to take on Abigail Haynes. However, while Gaskin and Smith brought thunder and lightning to the court, the only rain was the reigning of two brand new tennis monarchs.
Smith was sublime in dismantling Haynes with two pigs, 21-9, 21-8. Just a week ago, Haynes had ousted Smith in the semis of the Belfield Tournament before she set a finals’ pattern of taking a pig in losing to Kim Holder.
A two-all score in the first game never suggested the run-over by Smith as she rallied the ball from the corners showing an unprecedented patience before smoking past a bemused Haynes. Ironically, Smith has often been undone by the mental game of bickering over officials’ calls.
However, it was Haynes who seemed rattled and constantly appealed to the officials as Smith blasted the ball through her back and forehand with disdain. After rushing to 20-7, Smith betrayed her intentions by screaming at herself when Haynes snatched two points to threaten to escape the pig, which she failed to achieve.
The next game was a repeat of the first with Smith exploding from 4-4 to stroll to game and match point 20-7 before Haynes grabbed a point with an ace. However, she then grabbed her second pig as Smith pounded the popping ball past her opponent to celebrate her win with glee.
Gaskin also made amends for losing the Belfield finals to Curtis Jones after ousting the number one seed Mark “Venom” Griffith as he knocked the fizz out of the flashy Hinds 21-14, 21-13.
In a continuation of battles begun as students at Coleridge & Parry, both players won their first five serves to suggest a close battle. However, Gaskin would have none of that as he stroked the ball with tremendous ease and placement, while Hinds looked out of sorts in struggling with a racquet that seemed to be constructed with all edges.
After losing the opening game and straining to match Gaskin in the second, while trailing 3-10 and 7-15, it became obvious that Hinds saw inevitable defeat and switched focus to avoid the disgrace of a pig.
Hinds escaped the pig as he and Haynes earned $500 each, while Smith and Gaskin added $1 000 each to their new road tennis crowns. (KB)