Darian King and Haydn Lewis have given Barbados a 2-1 lead over Jamaica after defeating Blaise Bicknell and Rowland Phillips in a thrilling doubles rubber in their World Group II Davis Cup Playoff tie at the Eric Bell Centre in Kingston.

King and Lewis rallied from a set down to secure victory 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The tie was locked at 1-1 after Saturday's opening day which saw Bicknell beating Kaipo Marshall 6-1 3-6 6-1 and King edging Phillips in a 6-3 3-6 7-5 thriller.

The Jamaican pair edged a very tight first set, after breaking Lewis' serve in the seventh game, before they closed it out at the second opportunity by again breaking the Barbadians in the ninth.

While the first set had just one break of serve, there were three in the second with Barbados claiming two in the third and seventh games before King served out the set at love.

It set up a blockbuster third set and it was Barbados who held their nerve on the back of an outstanding performance from Lewis.

The lefty volleyed and returned superbly and then closed it out with precision serving.

"I have been in this situation a lot of times and I understand Darian, he's been my partner for many years, so I know that he can get down, so a lot of times I have to be the one to take control."

The 38-year-old has been representing Barbados at this level for 22 years and he drew on all his experience in the final set.

He was clinical in the decider, controlling the big moments when others seemed indecisive.

Overall it was a high quality match, with all four players having their moments.

King saved four set points when serving down 1-2 in the third, pulling out the marathon game despite a controversial line call unfortunately going against them.

Another big moment was when the Jamaicans saved four break points when Phillips was serving at 3-3, but Barbados ultimately won the marathon game after 20 minutes, which was the crucial break needed to take the match.

Blaise Bicknell is currently facing Darian King in the first reverse singles, a match Jamaica must win to stay alive in the tie, and remain in Group II.


Things remain evenly poised between Jamaica and Barbados at 1-1 in their World Group II Davis Cup playoff tie, as Darian King bettered Jamaican counterpart Rowland Phillips in an entertaining second rubber at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre in Kingston on Saturday.

After Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell recovered from a second set slump to beat Kaipo Marshall 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in the first contest, King outlasted Phillips 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in a tough encounter that took two hours and 54 minutes to decide a winner.

The contest, as expected, was characterized by long grinding rallies given the style of play of both King and Phillips.

In the end, it was the 31-year-old Barbadian ranked at 547 in the world that took top honours over his 30-year-old opponent, who played with a heavily bandaged right knee.

Action concludes on Sunday with the doubles rubber and reverse singles.

Blaise Bicknell recovered from a second set slump to beat Kaipo Marshall and give Jamaica the advantage against Barbados following the first rubber of their World Group II Davis Cup playoff tie at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre in Kingston on Saturday.

Bicknell prevailed 6-1 3-6 6-1.

Despite a sluggish start, and the first three games going to deuce, Bicknell saved break point in the opening game of the contest and fought to a 3-0 lead, before ultimately running away with the set 6-1.

The 21-year-old Barbadian responded in the second set, breaking early, before shocking the partisan crowd by rushing to a 3-0 lead.

However, the 22-year-old Bicknell, ranked 319 in the world and number one in the Caribbean, momentarily pulled his game together with precise serving and strong forehands to level at three apiece.

The momentum again shifted with Marshall breaking once on his way to winning the next three games and take the set 6-3.

He saved three break points and squandered three set points, before holding his nerve when Bicknell dumped a backhand return in the net. 

Last year, Marshall heroically, came from a set and 4-5 down to beat Pacific Oceania's Clement Mainguy to keep Barbados in group II, but he couldn't complete this mission, as Bicknell, sensing the challenge, stepped up and ran away with the third 6-1, punctuating the victory with a second serve ace.

"I didn't play my best but I found a way to get the job done," Bicknell said following the win in sweltering heat.

"I played a good first and third set and once I relaxed I was comfortable,” he added.

Marshall also felt he was far from his best.

"I definitely didn't play the level I wanted to today, I felt definitely like I was right there with him, but I felt like I defeated myself,” he lamented.

Neither player hit their best game on the day, but ultimately, Bicknell's superior quality was the difference.

There were moments he looked like the man who is coming off his first ATP challenger title. His serve out wide on the deuce court in big moments was a major factor, and his heavy forehand also did a lot of damage.

Marshall struggled on second serve. He hit four doubles in his first service game, a problem which persisted throughout the match.

The day's second rubber between Darian King of Barbados and Rowland Phillips of Jamaica is currently underway.

Action concludes on Sunday with the doubles rubber and reverse singles.

President of Tennis Jamaica John Azar is pleased with the team’s performance in their recently concluded Davis Cup Group Two playoff match against Estonia at the Eric Bell National Tennis Centre in Kingston from February 4-5.

The Jamaicans won the tie 3-2 to advance to group two of the Davis Cup for the first time in over 25 years.

“I think the team played incredibly well. It’s one thing when we as the national association set the big stage for them but it’s another thing when they actually come out and perform,” Azar told SportsMax.TV.

Rowland “Randy” Phillips got the ball rolling for the hosts with a dominant 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kristjan Tamm, a win that Azar said set the tone for the rest of the tie.

“Randy Phillips played the first match and set the tone for the players that played after him. He was incredible as he always is,” said Azar.

Match two saw Jamaican number one Blaise Bicknell come from a set down to beat Kenneth Raisma 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 and put the Jamaicans 2-0 up.

The Estonians got on the board in match three when Raisma and Jurgen Zopp got the better of John Chin and Daniel Azar in doubles 6-1, 6-2 before Bicknell secured victory for the Jamaicans after Tamm was defaulted after losing a first set tiebreak in match four. Johannes Seeman got a consolation 6-1, 6-0 victory over Jacob Bicknell in the fifth match.

Azar was also elated with the crowd turnout at the tie, the first time Jamaica has hosted a Davis Cup tie since 2007.

“I think it was what we expected and more,” he said.

“The crowd turned out in their numbers, were loud and very supportive and, as I’ve always said, when you have a home tie in any sport, the crowd can tend to be a bit of a deciding factor so we’re definitely grateful for those who came out and showed their support. There were a lot of Tennis fans in attendance but also a lot of sporting fans in general,” he added.

The team will find out their next opponent at the group two draw at the ITF office in London.

“We’re into group two which is a stage we haven’t been for over 25 years so we’ll see when the draw, which is done at the ITF office in London, comes out who our next opponent is. I think the next tie will be in September and we’ll see if it’s a home or away tie. Obviously, we’re hoping it will be a home tie and, if we’re that fortunate, we’ll look into expanding the capacity at the Tennis centre and hope for an even bigger turnout.”




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