AS has been the case over the years, Trinidad and Tobago players were crushed at the very first hurdle when the Under-18 qualifying draws for the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Junior Tournament served off yesterday at Eddie Taylor Public Courts, King George V Park, St Clair.
The only player affiliated to the host country to win a match was Alexander Mukerji, whose mother is a Trinidadian.
The Canadian, who has been living here for the last two years, will play for one of six qualifying places today after he beat Tobagonian Kriston Anthony 6-3, 6-1.
Anthony’s twin brother Kristen was ousted 6-0, 6-0 by American Aleksander Kovacevic, but he was not the only local player who did not get on the board.
Brandon Gregoire, who qualified for the Tranquillity Open Tournament last month, and relative newcomers Jonathan Edwards and Jameel Garsee also failed to trouble the scorer against American Paul Spencer, Marco Mendez of Belize and Costa Rican Allen Perez Caraballo, respectively.
Shauna Fitzwilliam was this country’s only female player in action at the venue yesterday and she was also beaten 6-0, 6-0 — by American Jenna Dean.
Ryan Thomas, the national Under-16 runner-up who failed to qualify last weekend in Barbados in the first stage of this two-leg circuit, lost 6-2, 6-2 against American Boris Kozlov, while Tobagonian Joshua Arnold, who just moved out of the Under-14 division, fought gallantly before going down 6-2, 7-5 against Barbadian Shane Mustor.
Emanuel Llamas still has to qualify here after doing so and going all the way to the title in Barbados three days ago. The American tackles Mukerji for one of the six spots in tomorrow’s main draw after winning his first qualifying match in three sets yesterday.
The four girls qualifying matches will also be contested from 10 a.m. today, an hour after action serves off at Trinidad Country Club, Maraval, with the second and final day of the round-robin group phase of the Under-14 category.
Among the players involved are two-time defending national age-group champs Emma Davis and Scott Hackshaw. Davis reached the semis of both singles and doubles, while Hackshaw was crowned doubles champ and a quarter-finalist in singles in Barbados.
The main draws will be contested from tomorrow until Saturday.