Saturday, April 20, 2024

Moseley ups the pressure


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This time, there was no Seanon Williams – or chance that Russell Moseley would lose another final.
While tennis’ next best rivalry was put on ice, so too was Duncan Evanson’s latest upset bid, as Moseley broke his fellow Davis Cup hopeful three times in the decisive set of a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 title game victory during Thursday’s BNB Tournament at the Ocean View courts.
It was the epitome of the second seed’s sterling return game, capped in the day’s last game where Moseley fittingly closed out the contest by breaking a reeling Evanson at love.
This wasn’t for a lack of help though, as the local No.3 sprayed successive backhands long and dumped an easy forehand in the net before watching Moseley produce a stunning backhand winner down the line at match point.
It proved the defining tale of the year’s first final, where the favoured Moseley never seemed troubled by his opponent’s booming first serve, while Evanson routinely found the middle of the net once asked to play a groundstroke off the backhand side.
And those weren’t the only unforced errors plaguing Evanson’s game, not after he became unhinged early in the third set following a mishit overhead and a long forehand that handed Moseley an early break to go up 2-1.
That deficit then swiftly turned into a 4-1 hole when Evanson dropped yet another service game on the back of two additional backhand errors and a badly shanked forehand.
It was a far cry from his game early in the first set though, as Evanson routinely blasted huge first serves and even bigger forehands in a highly-entertaining exchange of heavy groundstrokes.
But the third seed cracked first with the set tied at four, failing to land one single first serve while Moseley pounced on the weaker offerings to register the set’s lone break.
However, Moseley almost gave the break right back, falling behind 15-40 in the ensuing service game before saving both break points before serving out the set with a timely ace down the tee.
And the local No. 2 looked well on the way to a comfortable straight sets victory after storming out to a quick 2-0 lead when Evanson gifted his serve via three unforced errors and a rare double fault.
But Evanson rattled off the next three games, showcasing the big baseline game that stunned the top-ranked Williams in the semis on successive forehand crosscourt passing shots.
He eventually rallied to take the set after getting back on serve by breaking Moseley at 15 while leading 5-4, before holding at love to start the third set for a 1-0 lead.


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