Bermuda head into Davis Cup Americas group four semi-finals as pool winners
Bermuda clinched pool A in Davis Cup Americas Zone group four tennis with another battling display in Trinidad & Tobago yesterday.
Having already clinched a place in the semi-finals with a match to spare, Bermuda were forced to dig deep before ultimately edging Honduras 2-1 in their final pool match on the hard courts at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua.
“I am so proud of the performance today,” an elated Ricky Mallory, the Bermuda coach, told The Royal Gazette.
“It was a battle between us and Honduras who started the match today on top of group A.
Bermuda, whose team consists of captain Trey Mallory, Tariq Simons, Gavin Manders and James Finnigan, will face Aruba or Cuba tomorrow with victory securing a return to group three after a one-year absence.
Mallory put Bermuda in early control in the tie when he came away with 7-5, 6-0 win over Keny Turcios in the opening singles match.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington student broke his rival’s serve for the second time to go up 6-5 before holding serve to take the opening set.
Mallory encountered far less resistance in the second set as he broke Turcious’s serve three more times without losing a game.
“Trey got us off to a great start defeating his opponent with some heavy ground strokes and huge serves,” coach Mallory added.
However, Honduras came storming back after Alejandro Obando Maldonado beat Finnigan 6-4, 6-3 in the remaining singles match to send the tie to a winner-takes-all in the deciding doubles match.
“James Finnigan put in a valiant effort fighting to the very end which played a vital role in tiring his opponent who had to play in the deciding doubles match,” the coach said.
Bermuda ultimately proved equal to the task as Manders and Mallory upstaged Maldonado and Turcios 6-4, 6-3 to clinch pool honours.
The first set was evenly poised at 2-2 heading into the fifth game before Manders and Mallory gradually pulled away to take the win.
The local pair then jumped out to 4-1 lead in the second set before overcoming a late fightback by their rivals.
“This deciding match turned out to be some of the best doubles I’ve seen in some time, with Trey teaming up with veteran player Gavin Manders,” coach Mallory said.
“The two players worked magic together to defeat Honduras and give Bermuda the victory.”