Defending champ Armbrister falls on day one of tennis nationals

The first day of the 2019 Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) Giorgio Baldacci Open National Championships in men’s and ladies’ singles is in the books with action taking place at the BLTA National Tennis Center yesterday.

On the men’s side, defending champion Donte Armbrister went up against Spencer Newman on Court 4 in the Round of 16.

Newman took care of Armbrister in two sets, eliminating the defending champion. Armbrister put up a fight in the first set but Newman was too much for him as he won 6-3 and then won easily in the second set, 6-0. Newman will now face number four seed Justin Lunn in the quarterfinals.

Lunn played against Rodney Carey Jr. and won 6-2 and 6-1. Third seed in the men’s division, Philip Major Jr., lost only one game against McGregor Woodside as he defeated him 6-1 and 6-0.

Philip Major Jr. will move on to play Marvin Rolle in the quarterfinals. Rolle won his Round of 16 match against Archie Burrows in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-0. Perry Newton won the first set 6-0 over Patrick Brown and he was ahead in the second set when Brown retired. Newton moves on to play Kevin Major Jr.

Young Jacobi Bain made light work of Cory Francis, winning easily 6-0 and 6-0.

It will be a challenge for Bain as he moves on to play Baker Newman in the quarterfinals.

Receiving a bye in the opening round on the men’s side was number one seed Baker Newman and number two seed Kevin Major Jr.

Over on the women’s side, defending national champion and number two seed Sydney Clarke was victorious over Kinza Johnson in their quarterfinal match.

The 18-year-old won her match in two straight sets with a score of 6-1 and 6-0. She moves on to play Grand Bahamian Larikah Russell in the semifinals.

Clarke knows it is going to be tough to repeat as national champion this year.

“It’s going to be tough this year, more competition. Everyone is coming out very strong so I just have to hold my head, stay focused and once I do that, I feel I can take the title again this year,” Clarke said.

Clarke knows that Russell is a very experienced player and said she will have to be very disciplined with her shots.

There were three other matches in the women’s quarterfinals. Russell set up her match with Clarke in the semifinals when she took care of Sierra Donaldson in two sets in the quarters.

She won six straight games in the first set, and in the second set, Donaldson attempted to put up a fight but Russell held her off 6-3.

The number one seed on the women’s side, Kerrie Cartwright, was victorious over collegiate player Afrika Smith in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-3.

Cartwright moves on to play Elana Mackey. Mackey took care of Perjae Major, also in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-0.

Play resumes at 9:30 a.m. this morning.

This tournament will be used by the BLTA to select players for Davis Cup and Fed Cup play in 2020. The top two players from this tournament on the men’s side will join Justin Roberts who already booked his Davis Cup sport for 2020 by being ranked lower than 800 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). The final person for Davis Cup will be selected from the invitational trials to be played next year.

On the female side, the top two players from this tournament will be named to The Bahamas’ Fed Cup team in 2020 and the remaining players will be selected from the invitational trials next year.

The Bahamas is expected to see action in both Davis Cup and Fed Cup in June 2020.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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