What a difference a year makes! The Bahamas has owned Costa Rica in Davis Cup play, and that played true to form again last year with the boys from The Bahamas defeating the Costa Ricans on their home court.
However, it was a different story yesterday.
The Bahamas changed up its qualifying strategy this year, resulting in a young team being sent, and as a result, the Costa Ricans took complete advantage. They blasted The Bahamas three matches to none at the Costa Rica Country Club, in Escazú, San Jose, Costa Rica, sending The Bahamas to its first loss in Davis Cup play in two years.
In the first match of the tie, Sebastian Quiros, of Costa Rica, turned back Bahamian Philip Major Jr., 6-4 and 6-3, in a match that lasted an hour and 33 minutes. Quiros got the breaks he needed to pull off the straight sets victory. He was 5-for-11 in break points, compared to 3-for-11 for Major.
Otherwise the match was pretty much close with Quiros winning 74 total points and Major capturing 63 total points.
Quiros got in 64 percent of his first serves (42-for-66) and won 52 percent of those first serves (22-for-42). Major got in 56 percent of his first serves (40-for-71) and won 55 percent of those (22-for-40).
In the second rubber match of the tie, Jessee Armando Flores Knowles took down Bahamian Baker Newman in three sets, 3-6, 6-3 and 6-2.
Flores Knowles won 85 total points compared to 66 for Newman. Flores Knowles had six aces compared to just one for Newman and just two double faults compared to a whopping nine for Newman. Flores Knowles capitalized on four of his six break point opportunities, while Newman won two of five break points.
Flores Knowles won three break points in the third set alone. He broke Newman in the first game of the third set, but Newman broke right back for 1-1. Flores Knowles again broke Newman to go ahead 2-1, and then held service for a 3-1 lead. Flores Knowles then took a two-break lead when he broke Newman to go ahead 4-1 in the third set. That proved to be the nail in the coffin as he held service twice more to put away the match.
In the doubles match on Wednesday, the Costa Rican team of Rodrigo Crespo Piedra and Pablo Nunez won in straight sets over Justin Lunn and Donte Armbrister, 6-4 and 6-4.
The team of Lunn and Armbrister had six double faults compared to just one for Piedra and Nunez, and they were broken three times in the match, compared to just once for their Costa Rican opponents. Piedra and Nunez got in 78 percent of their first serves (36-for-46) and won 83 percent of those (30-for-36) while the Bahamian team got in 58 percent of their first serves (35-for-60) and won 66 percent of those (23-for-35).
The Costa Ricans won 62 total points compared to 44 for Lunn and Armbrister.
The Bahamas still has a realistic shot of being promoted to the Americas Zone Group II for 2020. According to the Davis Cup Regulation 24.4, up to three nations may be promoted from the competition that is ongoing in Costa Rica. Placement to the Americas Zone Group II will only be determined after the qualifiers are completed each year and the number of nations losing from the Americas will affect which nations qualify for each of the Americas groups.
For this tournament, The Bahamas is in Pool A along with host nation Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Antigua & Barbuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In Pool B are Honduras, Jamaica, Cuba, Panama, Bermuda and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Bahamas now has a 1-1 win-loss record after defeating Antigua & Barbuda on Monday, and losing to Costa Rica on Wednesday. They will play the U.S. Virgin Islands today and Puerto Rico tomorrow. The week-long tournament will wrap up with the crossover playoffs on Saturday.
The Bahamas’ team consists of the top finishers of the recently held tennis invitational at the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) National Tennis Centre, Newman and Major, who are also 2018 Davis Cup team members, Lunn who is a 2017 Davis Cup team member and a finalist at the 2018 Giorgio Baldacci Open and newcomer Armbrister who is the 2018 Giorgio Baldacci Open Champion. The team captain is Marvin Rolle.
At last year’s competition, The Bahamas scored comfortable victories over all five of their opponents. The Bahamas has the highest global ranking of all 11 teams in the tournament – number 77 worldwide.
The tournament is being played on the hard outdoor courts of the Costa Rica Country Club, in Escazú. Winning in this tournament will afford a nation higher points which in turn will increase a nation’s chances of qualifying for a higher group the following year.
The Bahamas was co-winners with Honduras last year but due to the Davis Cup reforms, was not elevated, and has to play again in group three.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting