Injured Daly-Ramdyhan outlasts Humphrey
-Squires too strong for Sue-Ho
Just as was predicted, the Ladies final in this year’s Banks DIH Tropical Mist Invitational Masters Tennis Tournament lived up to its billing when bitter rivals Shelly Daly-Ramdyhan and Berbician Carol Humphrey slugged it out in a marathon duel that lasted nearly three hours on Sunday, at the Pegasus Hotel Hardcourts.
In the end, a limping Daly-Ramdyhan prevailed 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 over a clearly distraught Humphrey, who once again failed to clear the obstacle that has stood in her path for over three years.
However, the two players gave a courageous display that earned applause from a fair-sized audience that assembled to witness one of local tennis’ never ending battles.
In the Men’s final, reigning national champion Phillip Squires accurately proved too cunning and superior for the promising Ezra Sue-Ho, beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to maintain his dominance on the local scene.
In the ladies affair, the contest remained tight until the sixth game when Daly-Ramdyhan broke Humphrey to take an important 4-2 lead.
She, however, had to survive a determined effort by Humphrey in her next service game, saving a break point and going to four deuces, before an attempted forehand crosscourt shot from Humphrey sailed just outside the sideline.
That gave her a 5-2 advantage. With her serve rapidly deserting her, Humphrey started the eighth game with a double fault, but still managed to gain two set points which were squandered as the two players endured five ties at deuce, before a forehand from Daly-Ramdyhan sailed beyond the baseline.
Daly-Ramdyhan then served for the opening set, but she too seemed to suffer from nerves, forfeiting two opportunities to close out the stanza, allowing Humphrey back in the game which she duly obliged, sending the contest back on serve.
Humphrey held serve for a 5-5 tie after which both players held once more to send the battle into a tie-break.
After being levelled at 2-2, Daly-Ramdyhan clearly the one with the bigger serve held her nerves to prevail and take a one set lead.
The comeback by Humphrey seemed to ignite her and the two once again treated the fans with some wonderful shot making, Daly-Ramdyhan chipping and charging the net occasionally, while Humphrey delivered some powerful forehand winners.
The two combatants never dropped their intensity and even a scary fall suffered by Daly-Ramdyhan which forced a halt to the match momentarily failed to alter the tempo.
However, the injury to her knee had a slight effect on her mobility and Humphrey took full advantage as they battled to another tie-break which she won for a third set decider.
With an ice-pack on her knee and requiring an injury time-out everyone was thinking that it could very well be Humphrey’s day.
But that was not to be as the 2008 national champion suddenly raised her level, mixing some cracking forehand winners with some deft drop volleys.
That was enough to make her the 2009 Ladies Masters champion.
The Men’s final got off to a cracking start with Squires racing to a 3-0 lead and everyone thinking it could be over soon, but Sue-Ho was determined not to lie down and surrender meekly.
He recovered to 2-3 through some powerful serves and forehand returns that kept Squires at bay.
However, the champ as calm as he usually is kept unleashing his full repertoire, hitting some top spin returns interspersed with some crunching forehand winners down the line en route to an easy triumph.
The presentation of prizes will be held today in the Oasis Room at the Pegasus Hotel, commencing at 18:00 hrs.