THE home team got off to a flying start when competitive tennis returned to Trinidad after more than seven months yesterday at the Country Club, Maraval.
Playing in the first match of the Junior Team Tournament, 2018 Tranquillity Open champion Aidan Carter whipped Nathan Valdez 9-3 in his first competitive contest in about 18 months.
The Patrons Tennis Academy went on complete a convincing 49-23 triumph over Anglez Academy, and came back just before press time to score a pulsating 37-35 triumph over the outfit which had tied their opening fixture, team Carlista Mohammed.
As expected Carter, Luca Shamsi and Liam Sheppard scored one-sided victories again in the first three matches, but Tim Pasea, Zara Ghuran and Jayden Mitchell battled back impressively and just failed to complete a spectacular dead-heat again.
Needing to blank fellow under-12 player Em-Miryam Campbell-Smith in the final match to force the tie, Mitchell, who had scored a tremendous win to tie their first fixture, came very close when he prevailed 11-1.
Pasea had given the visitors their first victory when he stunned Sebastian Sylvester 9-3 and then Ghuran took down Gabriela MacKenzie 8-4 to give them a ghost of a chance.
Former national under-14, 16, and 18 champ Carter began the fixture by overwhelming under-14 player Nathan Martin 10-2.
Last year’s leading junior Shamsi was even more stingy when he allowed the very talented Ella Carrington just one game, and then Sheppard stretched the lead further for “Patrons” with a 8-3 triumph over Daniel Jeary.
In the fixture against Anglez, Shamsi and Sheppard were 9-3 winners over national under-16 champ Aalisha Alexis and under-12 player James Hadden, in the second and third matches, respectively.
Sylvester then turned in the only perfect score of the day when he blanked Shauna Valentine.
Anglez was expected to take the next two matches, but after national under-14 champion Cameron Wong ended deadlocked at six-all with McMenzie, Brian Harricharan finally gave his team their first win with an 8-4 triumph over Brim Smith.
Under-12 player Mitchell needed to win 11 of the 12 games in Team Mohammed’s final match to take their first fixture, but he only managed to take down Gabriela Prince of Jerome Ward’s Team Total Tennis 10-2 for a 36-all final score.
Ward’s outfit raced through the first three matches as Ebolum Nwokolo, Ethan Wong and last year’s Caribbean under-12 champ Kale Dalla Costa scored 8-3 wins over Martin, Pasea and Carrington, respectively.
Their fourth player Jaeda-Lee Daniel-Joseph then finished six-all with Daniel Jeary, before Ghuran finally gave Mohammed’s squad their first victory she halted Beckham Sylvester 8-4 in the penultimate match.
There are three more fixtures in the two-day round-robin competition and first serve today is 10 a.m.
This the first competition to take place in the sport on the island since the Tranquillity Open Tournament was halted at the half-way stage on March 14 because of the coronavirus.