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Manders full of praise for team’s display

Lone survivor: Manders made it through to the quater-finals of the men's singles. (File photo by Nicola Muirhead)

Gavin Manders had high praise for Bermuda’s tennis team as they found their way in the men’s singles event at the NatWest Island Games.

The group are looking to rebound after a disappointing finish in the team event, failing to make it past the quarter-finals.

“Today was a great day for Bermuda tennis,” Manders said. “Everyone is fighting through jet lag and extreme hours of tennis at a high level.”

Manders, David Thomas, and Jack Keyes all won their second round matches to advance to the round of 16, with Keyes upsetting 16th seed Nicholas Petersson of the Faroe Islands in a tight game that went down to a third-set tiebreaker, showing “great composure” according to Manders.

Keyes then lost to top seed Scott Clayton of Jersey 6-3, 6-1.

Manders and Thomas had little difficulty with their round of 32 matchups, winning against Jonathan Foulkes and Michael Foulkes in straight sets.

“[We] cruised through our opponents, starting to finally catch ourselves from travelling and playing right away just over 12 hours after landing,” Manders said, who is seeded thirteenth and plays Jersey’s Stuart Parker, who is seeded sixth, in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.

Thomas drew fourth seed Patrick Ogier in the round of 16 and battled him hard before losing 7-6, 6-2, in a performance that drew high praise from Manders.

“[Thomas] showed great fight, and represented Bermuda like a true champion. The late travel due to the BA cancellation, amount of tennis played, and [Ogier’s] brilliant fitness allowed him to get the best of Dave on the day,” Manders said. “I was extremely proud of the way he [Thomas] played.”

Manders fared better in his round of 16 draw, taking third seed David Parry of Ynys Mon down 6-2, 6-1, with Manders proving better equipped to deal with the stifling heat.

“I got out to an early lead on and never let up from there,” Manders said. “After a few games of long points, and battling in the heat, David needed a medical timeout as he was feeling dizzy.

“I was able to keep the intensity up and never let up, which allowed me to move into the quarter-finals tomorrow.”

Manders will continue his singles bid while also competing with Thomas in the doubles. The pair, who are seeded sixth in the competition, face Lionel Chipolina and Johann Valverde of Gibraltar today.

Keyes and Weekes, Bermuda’s other doubles pair, started off strong but ultimately lost to Marc Chinn and Jack Hedges of Isle of Man, winning the first set 7-6 but falling 6-3, 1-0 in the next two as the tennis squad tried to get their legs under them.

“Today was the first time I have felt like I could move well after such a long journey here,” Manders said.

“After a long first day, I was extremely stiff over the last 24 hours. 24 hours of rest and another day to get over the jet lag and time difference really helped me loosen up today.”