Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lightning strikes again for Bennett at Tranquil Open

CRISTINA BENNETT produced another come-from-behind upset yesterday to advance to the women’s singles semifinals of the BG T&T Tranquillity Open Tennis Tournament at the club’s courts, Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain.

Two days after battling back from a set and 4-1 down in her first competitive singles match in over five years to send No. 4 seed Kezia Koroma packing, the 21-year-old shocked 2012 runner-up Cindy Low 3-6, 6-0, 6-3.

Bennett, who had combined with older sister Olivia last Saturday to capture the doubles crown in their first tournament on the same side of the net, will oppose No. 2 seed Shenelle Mohammed in tomorrow’s semis, while Olivia will come up against Trevine Sellier.

Olivia, once ranked in the top 150 in the world in doubles, made it five straight matches without dropping a single game since her return from a four-year absence last month when she outclassed Donna Chin Lee.

The top-seeded 23-year-old was perfect from three matches to win the title in the South Open Tournament and Chin Lee was her second opponent in singles here.

Olivia, who completed studies in the US a few months ago, is the prohibitive favourite to win the title and complete the triple crown, which started when she and Richard Chung won the mixed doubles title last Friday.

In yesterday’s other quarters, former singles and doubles champ Mohammed was a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Carissa Rudolfo, whose under-16 compatriot Juliet Campbell was brushed aside 6-1, 6-1 by No. 4 seed Sellier.

Three Tobagonians will be involved today when the men’s semis play for places in Saturday’s final from 4 p.m. Second-seeded national and “South” champ Vaughn Wilson tackles improving left-handed “South” runner-up Akiel Duke, while fourth-seeded two-time champ Yohansey Williams opposes the only Trinidadian in the quartet, Seve Day.

Day, who ousted last year’s champ Chung in the first round, and Williams combined to beat Duke and Wilson for the doubles crown last Saturday. And former multiple champ David Attong and Athelstan Phillips will square off against Peter Moore and Rickey Villaroel for the veterans’ (over-45) title.