Rebel Tennis Club (RTC) kick started the mark of its one year anniversary in fine style this past weekend when it launched the inaugural RTC Championships 2016, making it the first club to add a tournament to the Guyana
Tennis Association’s (GTAs) calendar of events.
During the opening ceremony at Harry Panday’s court, President of RTC, Jamal Goodluck expressed the desire of the club to live up to its name. He expects the club players to be rebels and standout, setting the trend in a positive way.
He envisions the tournament becoming a standard of prestige that inculcates a breed of disciplined players. He also highlighted the hard work coach Andre Erskine has dedicated into the starting of RTC.
The coordinators and all players were enthused and most grateful to Harry Panday for allowing all matches to be played at his facilities. President of GTA, Grace McCalman, delivered the exciting news that the tournament is being considered an accredited one that would see the awarding of ranking points to players based on the execution of the tournament. She hinted very subtly that so far the prospects look excellent.
Matches got underway with Romario Chanderballi facing the most improved player of 2015 Joshua Kalekyzei, and fell in the Men’s Round 4 at 6/1, 6/0 to Kalekyzei. In the same round Keimo Benjamin had a similar fight against Ronald Murray.
Murray unleashed his left handed slice serve which posed as a major obstacle for Benjamin. However, he averted the edge of being double bagel and clung to two games, but there was no stopping Murray who secured the game at 6//0, 6/2 and faces Oswin Coggins next.
Jamal Goodluck had a combat in the sweltering heat against the fit Kijana Lewis. The unseeded player has returned to the tennis circuit after being away for a few years. The pair held their serves in the first set that ended in a 7/4 tiebreak in favour of Lewis. It appeared Goodluck’s focus and rhythm diminished which gave Lewis the upper hand to take the game 7/6(7/4), 6/2. The Round of 16 had additional duels with veterans Rudy Grant taking on his long-time friend and rival Godfrey Lowden in a battle of consistency, however this time Lowden was able to dispel Grant 6/3 6/4. Number three seed, Benjettan Osborne, did not waver in his quest to take on the top seeds as he clinched a 6/2, 6/1 win against Philbert Clarke.
An unfortunate walkover by Sewon McGregor gave Leyland Leacock a walk to the quarterfinals. Harry Panday made no hesitation in whipping up a 6/0, 6/0 win against Andrew Lallbeharry to book a quarterfinal spot against Lewis after receiving a walkover from the number one seed, Anthony Downes.
The compelling Benjettan Osborne put on a show against Godfrey Lowden that had a little of suspense, drama, nail-biting points and humorous moments. The camp of the Berbician Lowden was perched on the balcony of the court and was confident in the skills of their star player who set up a 5/2 lead. The viewers could not comprehend the tenacity of Osborne as he willed himself with the cheers of “come on Benje” from his camp based on the side-line. He absorbed the pace of Lowden to launch a comeback at 7/5. The second set was equally tense with Osborne hanging in the same precarious position of being down 5/3 and 2 set points. A crossing volley winner by him and a missed volley by Lowden was just the momentum that he needed. He took the match into a tiebreak to eventually win it at 7/4. Closing the game at 7/5, 7/6(7/4) and tallied 16 winners.
The Berbice entourage supported their veteran, Anthony Amerally, as he sought to redeem his fellow club mate. Pristine tennis was played by him against the power serves of Stephen Bailey who was taken aback by the high level of consistency of Amerally. The Berbician closed the match at 6/3, 6/1 and takes on number two seed, Leyland Leacock. Kalekyzei stunned the spectators at the level of his game against the fourth seed, Andre Erskine, who had to work for each gruelling point. The lethal inside out forehand, solid backhand and strategic play produced seven winners for the junior; nevertheless the experience of Erskine gave him the advantage to secure the game at 6/3, 6/4.
On the ladies side of the competition, Grace McCalman was up for a swing against her old rival, Carol Humphrey. The match was an entertaining one that delighted the audience to a vintage form of the game with classy touches and wonderful sportsmanship. Humphrey marches on with a 6/0, 6/2 win to face Afruica Gentle in the semi-finals after she powered through a 6/2, 6/2 win against Shivani Persaud. Former novice champion Cristy Campbell was a retriever despite her swollen ankle. Sarah Klautky started off with a bang and secured her first game with a smash, but the ability of Campbell to return the solid shots placed Klautky on shaky grounds and forced her to play extra strokes that racked up errors. Campbell went on to close the game with a 6/1, 6/0 victory.
The first quarterfinals embodied the definition of a standoff of skill and will between 67 year-old Harry Panday and 32 year-old Kijana Lewis. They rallied beyond three hours of good tennis. Although Lewis was striking the ball with all his power to gain sixty two winners, Panday did not skip a beat as he went toe to toe with Lewis. He was a formidable force to be reckoned with. He took the first set 7/5, but as the match went on Lewis found his comfort zone and ran away with the second set 6/3 and a 5/2 lead in the third set. Panday was not to be easily dismissed as he climbed back to level the game at 5/5. Lewis took the first jump to 6 and Panday quickly followed to force a tiebreak. He could not deny Lewis thirst to win and finished the tiebreak at 7/3. Lewis awaits his opponent in the semi-finals.
Matches continue at Panday’s court from 6:30pm throughout the week.
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