Team will play Guatemala tomorrow; playoffs set for Saturday

It was the positive start to their 2021 Americas Group III Davis Cup campaign that The Bahamas’ senior men’s national tennis team was looking for as they took care of Cuba, 2-1, at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Fred Maduro in Panama City, Panama, on Wednesday.

The Bahamas clinched the tie after winning the two singles matches. They fell in doubles.

Kevin Major Jr. got the ball rolling for The Bahamas when he took care of Lazaro Navarro-Batles in three sets. He won 4-6, 6-2 and 6-2.

In the first, the Bahamian got behind early but was able to tie the set up at four. Navarro-Batles won the final two games to win the set.

In the second set, Bahamian National Champion Major took a quick 2-0 lead. His opponent won two of the next three games, but Major settled down to win the final three games and take that set, 6-2.

In the third set, the Cuban was faced with a 3-2 deficit again. Major once again ended the set by winning the final three games.

The 26-year-old finished the game with four break points. At one point, he won five games in a row to assert his dominance in the match.

Making his debut for The Bahamas yesterday on the Davis Cup scene was Justin Roberts. He played in The Bahamas’ number one singles spot and took care of business in just two sets over Mailiel Ponte Suarez. He won 6-4 and 6-4 to get his first singles win in his maiden match.

Roberts won a crucial break point in the fifth game of the first set. He went up 3-2 before eventually going up 4-2. The score read 5-3 and Roberts held on to win the first set, 6-4.

The second set was pretty much just like the first in terms of the scoring sequence as Roberts won and completed a 6-4 victory like he did in the first set.

The 24-year-old was able to come away with 21 service points. He also had two aces.

In doubles action, player/captain Marvin Rolle and Baker Newman fell in three sets to their Cuban counterparts. They were defeated by Osmel Rivera Granja and Joan Perez Bernat 4-6, 7-6(10) and 6-2.

In the first set, Rolle and Newman jumped out to a 4-0 lead. However, the Cubans stormed back and closed the gap to 5-4. That was the closest they came as the Bahamians won the next game to close out the set 6-4.

There was a fiercely contested battle at the end of the second set, and it was the Cubans who came away with the victory to take the set 7-6. The Bahamian duo was able to come back after being down 3-0 to tie the set at six. In the tie-breaker, Rolle and Newman fell short, losing 10-8.

After that valiant comeback in the second set, Rolle and Newman fell in the third and final set, 6-2. They were able to keep close in the early part of the set but lost the final three games to their opponents.

Next up for the Bahamian quartet is the final Group A match against Guatemala tomorrow at 10 a.m. If they win that tie, they will play in the playoffs on Saturday.

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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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