Bermuda set up showdown with Honduras after battling 2-1 win over Antigua
Bermuda continued their fine start to play in Davis Cup Americas Zone group four after a battling 2-1 win over Antigua & Barbuda in Trinidad & Tobago today.
Fresh off a 3-0 defeat of Haiti, which confirmed Bermuda’s ranking as the top team in pool A, Tariq Simons, Trey Mallory and the doubles pairing of Gavin Manders and Finnigan were back in action on the hard courts of the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua.
Mallory got the ball rolling with a thumping 6-1, 6-1 win over Cordell Williams.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington student suffered only a moment of bother in the second set when he needed 14 deuce points to forge into a 3-0 lead.
If this victory was straightforward, the next match-up represented a reversal of fortunes, as Simons, the Bermuda No 1, ran into a buzz saw in the form of the experienced Jody Maginley, who has a world ranking of No 1,372, and was beaten 6-0, 6-3.
While the first set was over in a flash, the second set saw renewed fight from the 21-year-old Bermudian.
The Maginley serve was rarely threatened but Simons made a fist of it in the third and fourth games of the set — each lasting ten points but, crucially, both going the way of the 27-year-old Antiguan, including the only break for a 3-1 lead.
The match remained true to serve the rest of the way, leaving Bermuda’s hopes to rely on Manders and Finnigan in their doubles match against Maginley and Kyle Joseph.
Manders and Finnigan won 6-4, 6-3 by playing the big points better. The pairs were on serve until the Bermudians broke in the tenth game and then repeated the trick at the start of the second set to move into a 2-0 lead.
It appeared to be smooth sailing at 4-2 until the Antiguans broke serve for the first time in the match, aided by two double faults. But Manders and Finnigan broke right back in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead and then served out without further drama.
Honduras beat Haiti 3-0 in the other pool match to top the group from Bermuda on sets difference.
In pool B, Cuba, Nicaragua and Aruba are unbeaten thus far, with host Trinidad & Tobago and US Virgin Islands yet to register a win.
The top two teams in each pool will advance to a play-off that will determine the two available spots for promotion to Americas group three.