Downes cruises to 8th GBTI singles title

Anthony Downes

Battling against the rain, a knee injury and a resurgent Johnathan Fagundes, Anthony Downes cemented his place as the top senior male tennis player by claiming his eighth consecutive men’s singles title on the final night of the Guyana Tennis Association (GTA)/ Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) championships yesterday.

In a match that was one-sided but nevertheless enjoyed by the handful of spectators that gathered at the GBTI Recreational Centre, Bel Air, the charismatic Fagundes played with flare and enthusiasm despite being in only his second tournament having last participated in a tournament some four years ago.  The one-sided nature of the contest was evident as Fagundes exerted a lot of energy scampering around the court compared to Downes who graced his half with ease to win 4-0 in both sets.

Organiser of the competition, Leyland Leacock noted that the match was reduced on his call due to the weather with rain stopping play twice.

Speaking to Stabroek Sport at the end of the crowd pleasing finale, Fagundes said he was disappointed with the match being reduced as well as with the level of competition in the tournament.

“The final was ok but you know due to the weather that fell in the game but I am kinda disappointed we didn’t get to play the full six sets, had to play play a shorter format but the game was nice it was the first time making the final for me and I thank God and Anthony Downes played well,” he said.

“I think the tournament was ok, some of the players need to up their game because as a newbie I went through them and playing Downes you can see the level where he is at because he travels and plays internationally and you can see the separation of standards in the game,” he added.

The runner up signaled his intention to continue to be involved with the sport.

“I would really like to continue to play the game, it’s hard I had to borrow rackets to play and get some support because I’m an athlete for Guyana and now going into lawn tennis,” Fagundes said.

The eight time champion acknowledged Fagundes’ improvement over the last year but expressed his frustration in way the final was conducted.

In the night’s play, Kristie Campbell forfeited the ladies title in her clash with Kalyca Fraser after cramping during the second set, handing Fraser the title with the match stopped at 7-6, 2-4.

Campbell said she tried to rally through the second set but was unable to do so after both legs began to cramp.

In the men’s doubles, Downes partnered with Leacock to defeat Sandeep Chand and Andre Lopes 6-1, 6-3.  Leacock had paired with Kizzy Richmond in the mixed doubles but settled for second place after Fraser and Heimraj Resaul emerged champions in a spirited battle that ended 7-5, 6-3.

Mark McDonald lifted the boy’s title after beating Jeremiah Kaleykazi 6-3, 6-2 while Sarah Klautky won the girl’s title.

Andre Lopes defeated Aubrey Younge 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the Men’s Over 45 category while Leacock won the Over 35 division.

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