Daniel Phillips battles back to capture second ITF junior title
Daniel Phillips captured his second title on the International Tennis Federation junior circuit this year after a battling three-set win in the J4 Bayamón final in Puerto Rico on Saturday.
The 17-year-old Bermudian, whose maiden triumph came in Guatemala City last month, was forced to go to the well before subduing American doubles partner Cyrus Mahjoob 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in a match that was as close as it reads.
Phillips dropped the first-set tiebreak 8-6 before winning the second one 7-5 against his eighth-seeded rival, who was no stranger to going the distance after beating fifth seed Elias Shokry, of the US, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the semi-finals.
One crucial break of serve in the third set was all that would be needed to get the Bermudian over the line in a tournament that had no shortage of drama.
Phillips, who was required to come through a qualifying tournament before winning in Guatemala because of a low ITF ranking, was the sixth seed in Puerto Rico among a 64-strong main draw that included players from all over the globe.
The result is bound to move him from world No 579 and possibly into the top 300.
He is already en route to his next tournament, on clay at the J4 Llanos de Curundu in Panama, where he will be the second seed. Play in the main draw will begin today.
The last stop of a three-tournament run for the Bermudian will be a J3 event in Cancún, Mexico, starting on March 28.
The ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors gives players aged 18 and under the opportunity to travel the world and develop their talent, and serves as a launch pad for the best players to go on and achieve success in the professional game.
Featuring more than 650 tournaments in 140 countries, the tour sees players compete across six levels of tournament — from JA, which includes the junior grand slams, through to J1, J2, J3, J4 and J5, the lowest grade.