MIOMIR KECMANOVIC completed a hat-trick in nail-biting fashion when the curtain fell on the an ITF (International Tennis Federation) Junior Tournament last Saturday at Eddie Taylor Public Court, King George V Park, St Clair.
With both players cramping and looking like they had been through 15 gruelling rounds of boxing, the Serbian finally edged Rasheed Carey in 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 after almost two and a half hours of battle in intense heat.
With breath-taking ground strokes from both sides of the net virtually all the way, it was arguably the most exciting final in the history of the tournament, which has been in existence for around 15 years.
It was certainly the most dramatic as both players were plagued by cramps from time to time during the final set.
In some instances they were affected simultaneously and winner hit the deck in pain more than once after a point.
Carey was feeling it in his legs much earlier, but Kecmanovic’s attacks seemed to be more severe.
The No.13 seed got his first at the most inopportune time – when he reached match point with his opponent serving at 4-5.
After Carey, the 176th-ranked junior in the world, saved it, they continued to hobble around and still managed to produce wonderful shots until they reached the tiebreak.
But the duel ended in anti-climatic fashion as the No.2 seed, who had also lost in the final of an ITF tournament the week before in Barbados, committed several errors for Kecmanovic to comfortably prevail 7-1.
The victory completed a hat-trick of ITF singles titles for the 14-year-old, who was crowned champion the week before in Guadeloupe, seven days after being triumphant in Guatemala.
It was the first time during his incredible three-week run that Kecmanovic surrendered a single set.
The world No.745 junior had won both singles and doubles in Guadeloupe, but he was not entitled to more than 30 minutes rest between matches and he and American Gui Gomez were forced to default the doubles final to No.2 seeds Lucas Moreno of Chile and Russian Alexey Aleshchev.
Aleshchev’s sister Vera and Stephanie Hazell of the United States defeated Americans sisters Ashley and Jenna Dean 6-2, 6-4 for the girls’ equivalent title.
And American Madison Bouguignon, the highest ranked player in the tournament at #125 in the world, whipped second-seeded Nandini Das of India 6-1, 6-3 in the girls’ singles final.
None of the 11 Trinidad and Tobago players was able to win a match in singles, but national under-16 and 18 champ Nabeel Mohammed and the United States-based Ethan Ammon lost in the “round of 16” in doubles after a first-round win.
Two-time national under-14 champs Emma Davis and Scott Hackshaw won the doubles titles in their category at Trinidad Country Club, Maraval, but both lost in the singles finals.
Hackshaw and Antiguan Cordell Williams Jr had also won doubles in Barbados, when Davis had reached both semis.