Thursday, February 22, 2018

‘Tranquil’ hat-trick for Phillips


HOPEFUL: Cristina Bennett

Mark Fraser

 ATHELSTAN PHILLIPS completed a hat-trick when the BG T&T Tranquillity Open Tennis Tournament continued yesterday at the club’s courts, Victoria Avenue, Port of Spain.

After capturing the veterans’ doubles title with the assistance of Kendall Cuffy for the last two years, Phillips combined with David Attong this year and the top seeds defeated Peter Moore and Rickey Villaroel 6-4, 6-3 for the over-45 crown.

Former national champ Attong is one of the best players ever produced in this country and one of the most successful in this tournament as he is a multiple singles, doubles and mixed doubles champion.

Yohansey Williams will go after his third men’s singles crown tomorrow after the No. 4 seed defeated Seve Day, the conqueror of last year’s champ Richard Chung in the first round, 6-2, 6-4 in yesterday.

Second-seeded Vaughn Wilson, a two-time runner-up, cruised past unseeded left-hander Akiel Duke 6-3, 6-1 in the other semifinal. The Davis Cup player had also prevailed in straight sets when the two Tobagonians contested the final of the South Open Tournament last month.

All four semifinalists had been involved in the doubles title match last Saturday when Williams and Day were triumphant in straight sets.

After upsetting two players in her only competitive singles matches in over five years, the giant-killing Cristina Bennett will attempt to make lightning strike again when she faces second-seeded former champ Shenelle Mohammed in the women’s semis today.

Bennett’s sister Olivia, the top seed and overwhelming title favourite, will oppose third-seeded former doubles champ Trevine Sellier for the other place in tomorrow’s final.

Olivia, once ranked in the top 150 in the world in juniors, is two victories away from completing a triple crown as she won the doubles title (with Cristina) and mixed doubles crown (with Chung) last week.

The 23-year-old has not dropped a single game from her two singles matches in this tournament after winning all three matches 6-0, 6-0 to run away with the “South” crown in her first tournament at home in about four years.

After being stunned by Brian Jackson in the veterans’ singles semis last year, former champ Rawle Boyce will be looking for revenge when they square off in the over-45 final today.

All three matches get going at 4 p.m.