Bermuda juniors suffer defeat in Central America
Daniel Phillips bowed out of the J5 Guatemala junior tennis tournament at the first hurdle at the Copa Universidad Galileo in Guatemala City.
The 17-year-old pushed No 1 seed Roh Ho Young hard all the way but ultimately lost a gruelling contest lasting just over two hours 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
In a rematch of their first-round clash at the J4 tournament a week earlier, when the South Korean came in as the No 3 seed but was brushed aside 6-2, 6-3, Roh seized early control before Phillips came storming back to win the second set to leave the contest wide open.
However, Young ultimately lived up to his top ranking to edge his Bermudian rival in the third and final set after Phillips battled back from 5-1 down.
Phillips was on a high going into the tournament, having become the first Bermudian to win an International Tennis Federation at the same venue at the weekend.
He virtually had things all his way in a dominant 6-0, 6-2 victory over Diego Duran, of El Salvador, in the final of the J4 Guatemala tournament, which was worth 60 world-ranking points to the winner.
The J5 tournament is meant to be a weaker event with 30 points for the winner, but the field appears no lesser.
Going into the tournament, 15-year-old Roh is ranked as the world No 389 junior while Phillips is at No 576.
Meanwhile, Bermuda’s team of Zach McGuire, Tobiah Goodchild and Johnny Bart suffered a 3-0 defeat by Trinidad & Tobago in their opening group B match at the ITF World Junior Championships pre-qualifier in El Salvador.
Bart lost the opening singles match in the under-14 age group to Daniel Rahaman 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 at the Centro Nacional De Tenis in San Salvador.
McGuire then went down in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to Kale Dalla Costa as Trinidad clinched the best-of-three series at the earliest opportunity.
Rahaman and Jordell Chapman completed the sweep after prevailing against Goodchild and McGuire 6-4, 7-6 in the doubles.
Despite the loss, Bermuda coach Neal Towlson hailed his team’s effort.
“Overall, I am very proud with the effort and composure that the boys displayed,” he told The Royal Gazette. “Bermuda should be very proud of the representation we had on court.”