It was a windy morning but Kerrie Cartwright only needed two sets to take down defending champion Sydney Clarke to lift the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) national championship trophy at the BLTA’s National Tennis Center on Saturday. Cartwright won the women’s championship at the Giorgio Baldacci Open Nationals, taking down Clarke in straight sets, 7-6 and 6-3. Cartwright was the number one seed and Clarke was the second seeded player.
With that win, Cartwright and Clarke punched their tickets on The Bahamas’ team for 2020 Fed Cup play.
Cartwright was aware that it was windy and acknowledged Clarke’s performance.
“I thought the match was very tough because of the wind,” Cartwright said. “I don’t know how much miles per hour the wind was going but that was pretty tough for both of us to play. I thought Sydney played very well. I thought in the first couple games of the second set, she kind of let go a little or maybe nerves or something. That was when I got the lead and she would come back and it was a tight match.”
In the first set, Cartwright went down 6-5 to Clarke and had to dig deep to win 7-6.
“I think when it was about 3-0 Sydney started to play a little better – going for her shots, balls were passing me and she was playing really good,” Cartwright said. “When I got to 5-4 it was a really important game and she won that game. I went down 6-5 and I told myself that I have to challenge myself and dig deeper and see what I could do. I did that.”
For Clarke, she knew she started off slow but picked it up as the match went on.
“I started off a little slow then I picked it up. In both sets I started off slow and was down 3-0 and then came back. I started to play much smarter, started hitting the ball and was not scared. I was confident and comfortable. When it got close and tight, I started to get a little shaky and hit shots into the net. Overall, I am proud of myself. I executed when I was supposed to, and I had a good run.”
In the second set, Clarke made a run to tie it at three. A visibly frustrated Cartwright settled down and started making shots. She ended up winning the final three games of the second set.
She said she wanted to see the junior players perform well, having played Elana Mackey and Afrika Smith earlier in the tournament.
Cartwright said she had a rough year due to a foot injury but she is looking forward to 2020.
“This year was a pretty rough year. Last two years I was playing full-time. I travelled every other week non-stop, this year I hurt my foot a little,” Cartwright said. “I played in two tournaments and that kept me in it. Other than that, I am ready for 2020. The year 2019 was a setback a little. I feel like I am in a good place right now and I’m eager to see what 2020 brings for me.”
An excited Cartwright was excited to represent The Bahamas again in the Fed Cup play. With the win, she qualified to be on the team next year.
“I love representing The Bahamas. I love playing and traveling to wherever we go. I am happy, I definitely love it,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright and Clarke will have to wait until early next year to see who they will team up with in Fed Cup play. The final two members of the team will be decided at the BLTA Invitational Trials next year.