Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Wilson doubles up in ‘South Open’


WON WOMEN’S TITLE: Olivia Bennet

Mark Fraser

VAUGHN WILSON captured a double crown in the KCL South Open Tennis Tournament Sunday at Petrotrin Club, Pointe-a-Pierre.

The top-seeded national champion whipped fellow Tobagonian Akiel Duke 6-1, 6-3 for the singles title and then combined with the left-hander to defeat Jovani Lewis and Shaquille Bernard 7-6, 6-4 in the doubles final.

The major story of the weekend’s tournament was the return to competition by former national players Olivia Bennett and Dexter Mahase.

Bennett, who recently completed studies at Auburn University, Alabama, USA, and was playing her first tournament at home in some four years, came back with a bang to run away with the women’s singles crown without dropping a single game from her three matches.

Fellow 23-year-old Shenelle Mohammed, a former national and Tranquillity Open champ competing in singles for only the second time in over five years, was the last victim, but the title match was still more competitive and entertaining than the men’s final.

It even lasted longer as the duration was 56 minutes, one minute more than it took for Wilson to dismiss Duke.

In normal circumstances, Duke’s 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) defeat of Lewis in the semi-finals would have been considered a major shock.

But not on this occasion as the second-seeded Lewis had struggled to edge Harry Mahase, a top player from the 1970s, 2-6, 6-3, 10/7 a little earlier in the quarter-finals.

Mahase’s son Dexter, a former Davis Cup player in his first tournament in over five years, cruised past Kino Francis 6-1, 6-2 in the last eight and was giving overwhelming title favourite Wilson all he could handle in the semifinals before he was forced to retire with cramps in the first-set tiebreak.

There was equal prize-money in a local tournament for the first time as both Wilson, a three-time Davis Cup player, and Bennett, who was once ranked as high as #143 in the world in juniors, picked up $2,500 each for their work in singles.

The first senior national tournament contested in south Trinidad for three years took place over just two days and was sponsored by KCL Capital Market Brokers Limited.