Thu | Jul 18, 2024

Jamaica put Davis Cup win streak on the line against Bermuda

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2024 | 12:52 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell plays a backhand during a Davis Cup game against Barbados’ Kaipo Marshall at the Eric Bell Centre in February.
Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell plays a backhand during a Davis Cup game against Barbados’ Kaipo Marshall at the Eric Bell Centre in February.
John Chin in action.
John Chin in action.
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JAMAICA WILL take on Group B opponents Bermuda later today in their Davis Cup Group III qualifiers in Paraguay after recording victories over Guatemala and Puerto Rico on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Bermuda, on the other hand, remain winless after suffering a 3-0 defeat to the Dominican Republic and earning a 1-1 draw with Guatemala in their opening assignment.

Ahead of the clash, captain Noel Rutherford said the victories have not diminished the team’s focus.

“We have a few tough teams in our group, and next up will be Bermuda. We aren’t taking anything for granted, and the mindset is really great. All the teams here are good, and we’re just taking it one game at a time,” he said.

Jamaica started their campaign on a high on Monday as John Chin dismissed Guatemala’s Gabriel Porras 6-2, 6-1 before top seed Blaise Bicknell comfortably got by Kaeri Mariona 6-3, 6-1.

However, in doubles action on Monday, Jamaica’s pair of Daniel Azar and Keyon’dre Clarke would fall 6-4, 6-4 to Guatemala’s pair of Kris Mariona and Kent Tagashira.

The Noel Rutherford-captained team then turned their attention to Puerto Rico against whom Chin would fall victim to Jake Fellows’ 6-1, 6-4 victory. However, Bicknell managed to level the score line, fighting to a 6-4 set lead before blanking Gabriel Evans 6-0. Needing a victory in the doubles match-up, Bicknell and Chin had to be back on court, where they got the better of Fellows and Noah Hernandez, 6-3, 7-5.

“There’s no easy runs here as you’re going to have to grind it out. In tournaments of this nature, it sometimes boils down to the doubles,” said Rutherford.

Despite a rough patch leading up to this tournament following uncharacteristic defeats in the M15000 tournament in Kingston and in the Lima Challenger Series in Peru, Bicknell’s performance will be crucial to Jamaica’s chances.

According to Rutherford, while there is still room for improvement, the number 306-ranked player in the world seems to have turned things around.

“Whenever Blaise puts on the national colours, it becomes a different situation with him. The atmosphere and chemistry here is great, and he is playing really great, but there’s room for improvement as we go along,” said Rutherford.

orane.buchanan@gleanerjm.com