Saturday, April 20, 2024

King reigns


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Even the heavens were no match for tennis’ anointed.
Darian King once again proved majestic in more than just name, overcoming a 45-minute rain delay before whipping Davis Cup teammate and local No.1 Russell Moseley 6-1, 6-1 in yesterday’s final of the CIBC FirstCaribbean Tennis Championships at the Ocean View courts.
It was the cap to yet another show of force from the top-ranked pro, who turned the much-awaited all-Davis Cup showdown into an unforeseen beat-down.
And this was against an opponent who had not lost in 14 months following a season that saw Moseley win six successive titles, including a first ever national crown.
But the weather proved more of a challenge than anything Moseley could muster, with King’s lone hitch coming directly after the game’s resumption when he lost serve after leading 4-0 in the first set.
It served as a mere blip on King’s radar as the 20-year-old pro answered with a pinpoint lob to break right back before picking up a volley off his shoelaces for an eye-popping winner to secure the first set.
At one point it seemed as if King was producing winners at will, rattling off 12 straight points while zipping forehand passing shots against a befuddled Moseley to take another 4-0 lead in the second set.
Moseley himself had his moments of memorable passing shots, blasting a forehand return off one of his opponent’s booming first serves before King even had a chance to complete his service motion. Instances like those were few and too far between, though, as King used his commanding forehand to dictate most points.
“I was really pleased with my ground strokes because I hit everything cleanly and didn’t give him much of a chance,” said King moments after completing the straight-sets win.
“The serve was decent and that’s something I’m really working on because in the pros the first serve percentage is a major aspect of the game, but otherwise everything went according to plan,” he added.
Well, almost everything.
Wielding big forehands, King was cruising to a near-flawless first set before intermittent showers halted play for 45 minutes and led to a temporary lapse of concentration in his ensuing service game.
And Moseley jumped all over the rare opportunity, taking advantage of a double fault and successive backhand errors to break King for his first game of the match.
“I definitely had to fight hard to get those games,” joked Moseley about avoiding a double-bagel.
“At the beginning of the match I knew the most I can try to do is make the match as long as possible but it was way too much to do today.”


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