ITF win gives Bicknell 'great feeling'
Young Jamaican tennis star Blaise Bicknell extended his success on the international scene after winning the International Tennis Federation (ITF) St Vincent Under-18 tournament at the National Tennis Centre villa in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Bicknell came into the tournament ranked second, only behind Martinique's Frederick Fibleui. He put away seventh-ranked Mexican Eduardo Roldan 6-3, 6-0 for a comfortable win in the final.
Bicknell went into the tournament aiming for the top spot, but admitted his resolve was tested in the quarters and semis.
He started with a impressive 6-1, 6-2 win over Richard Hoyte and his 6-3, 6-3 second-round win over Jean Phillipe Murray was equally comfortable.
Got more difficult
However, his quarter-final against Czechoslovakia's Stepan Pecak proved more difficult. The Czech took the first set 6-3, but Bicknell rallied to take the second set 7-5 and the third 6-0.
The semi-final was just as challenging against third-seed Alfredo Daniel Macias Torres of Ecuador, but after losing the first set 7-5, he turned it around to win the second and third sets 6-0, 7-5.
"It got tougher at the quarters and semis. I played Pecak in the quarter-final and it was very tough. I had to focus, I lost the first set 7-5, but came back and won straight sets. In the semi, I had a very tough first set, but I came back and won straight sets," he said.
Roldan defeated number-one seed Fibleuil (6-1, 6-2) in fine style in the semi-final to book his date with Bicknell.
However, Bicknell saved his best game for the final, where he outclassed Roldan 6-3, 6-0 for a comprehensive win.
"In the final, I was confident I was going to play very good. I came with a game plan and played with purpose for the whole match and I felt great, because it is not easy to win in ITF, because the competition is fierce," he said.