PLAYING in her first competitive singles match in over five years, Cristina Bennett roared back from the brink of defeat to dismiss the No. 4 seed when the BG T&T Tranquillity Open Tennis Tournament continued yesterday at the club’s courts, Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain.
The 21-year-old, who had combined with her more illustrious older sister Olivia to capture the doubles crown on Saturday, clawed her way back from a set and 4-1 down to defeat Kezia Koroma 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the “round of 16.”
The top-seeded Olivia, winner of the title in the South Open Tournament when she returned after an absence of about four years last month, is the overwhelming favourite to complete the triple crown.
The 23-year-old, once ranked in the top 150 in the world in juniors, has already claimed the doubles and mixed doubles --with Richard Chung-- titles and she moved into tomorrow’s quarterfinals without dropping a single game against Shardelle Jackman.
Shenelle Mohammed, the second-seeded former champ, did not have to pick up a racquet to reach the final eight as Yausheo Chen failed to show.
Four “round of 16” matches were on yesterday’s schedule and the other four will be contested today.
The men’s quarters are also on the programme, and after getting past top seed and defending champ Chung on Sunday, Seve Day, the runner-up in the 2012 National Championships, should continue to roll against St Lucian McColin Fontenelle.
Richard McLetchie, conqueror of No. 3 seed Jovani Lewis on Saturday, could provide problems for “South” runner-up Akiel Duke, but fourth-seeded former champ Yohansey Williams should cruise past qualifier Ibrahim Mohammed.
The most interesting match is between second-seeded national and “South” champ Vaughn Wilson and Mohammed’s brother Nabeel, the talented national under-16 and 18 champ. First serve is 4 p.m.