Sunday, April 21, 2024

Lil Man storms into final

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Defending champion Antonio “Lil Man” Daniel put on a display of thunder and lightning to storm into the final of the Silver Hill road tennis championship on Saturday night.

Entertaining the crowd with his dazzling injections and thunderous smashes Daniel dismissed Curtis Jones 23-21, 21-13. 

Those fans who had ringed the court looking for a bitter showdown had misunderstood Jones’ holding up his racquet and shouting to Daniel: “You next!” That was after Jones had won his quarter-final match on Friday night. Jones, who makes top-class racquets for his fellow players was apparently signalling to Daniel that he was next in line to get a new racquet.

The perfectionist, a grim looking Daniel showed Jones from early what kind of specifications he needed for his new racquet. Daniel blasted to 4-1 with a mixture of four different serves, confounding Jones who only gained one point through a Daniel attacking error.

At 7-3, Daniel sent the crowd into screams of ecstasy as he danced around a return into his forehand and from a position where he seemed off-balanced the shots-master blasted the ball through Jones’ comatose forehand. One fan remarked: “I have seen ‘Lil Man’ do that hundreds of times and I still cannot understand how he does it. And I am thrilled every time.”

With total disdain, Daniel moved to 20-13 and then unbelievably committed a plethora of errors seeking a flashing finish as Jones benefited to lock the scores at 20 while screaming in triumph. Jones should have taken the first game after going up 21-20 but his hesitating to put away a lobbed ball allowed Daniel to survive.

At 21-21, Daniel pushed Jones deep in the backcourt and then wound up for a thunderbolt to change his action, dropping an unplayable short ball behind the net to make the crowd bawl. A five-ball rally was then terminated with a turnaround blast which ended the first game revolt from Jones.

Scores of 6-0, 8-2 and then 20-12 suggested that Daniel was about to end the tutorial and Jones was granted no fightback but an early night to go and prepare the new racquet for his next customer.

Earlier, Abigail Haynes predictably moved into the women’s final by dismissing Susan Scantlebury 21-13, 21-15. Former in-house king Adrian “Howlie” Walker played a superb game to oust defending champion Ezekiel “Ezee” Ward 21-17, 15-21, 21-16.

Nicolas “Nik-Nik” Ellis lit up his home court with top shots to defeat schools and islandwide 17-and-under champion Shaquan Henry 21-17, 21-12. Henry had no answer for Ellis’ stubborn backhand defence and lethal southpaw smashes. (KB)

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