Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
The purse of US$20,000, the richest-ever in the country's history, on offer at the NCB Capital Markets Tennis Open has acted as a major lure for international players, including Association of Tennis Professionals' (ATP) 512-ranked men's number one seed, American Oliver Sajous, and number two seed, Hayden Lewis of the Barbados.
Both players took a step closer to the US$6,000 first prize on offer for the men's singles champion after registering straight-sets wins on yesterday's second day of action at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston.
Sajous took an hour and 34 minutes to get by Canadian Max Brown 6-4, 6-2 to progress to the quarter-finals. Lewis booked his spot after brushing aside Jamaica's Oshane Trail 6-1, 6-0.
"It was a great match, he pushed me and I was making mistakes, but I am looking forward to the second one," Sajous disclosed. "I am a fighter, I fight for every ball and I don't let go or give away shots," he added.
Sajous, though aware that he could lose the next match and be out of the tournament, believes the prize money on offer would go a far way in helping in his development.
"It is a prize money tournament and I am in a pretty rough situation financially, so this tournament is going to help me financially throughout my career," Sajous shared. "I really appreciate the tournament and want to thank the sponsors for doing this tournament and, hopefully, they can do some more professional tournaments in Jamaica and I will be more than happy to play in them," he added.
While stating that he entered the tournament to get some matches under his belt, Lewis admitted that the prize money on offer was also quite attractive.
"I was injured, so I haven't been playing much, so I needed more matches to keep playing to get ready for next year," Lewis stated. "The prize money is a big bonus as well," he added.
In the day's other matches completed on the men's side at press time, third seed Nikita Kryvonos out of the USA did not drop a game in getting by Jamaica's Micheal Jones 6-0, 6-0. Dominica's Micheal-Ray, who is the fourth-seeded player, held off the challenge of Jamaica's Markus Malcolm for a 6-1, 6-4 victory.
On the women's side, number-two seed Simone Vranov-Brown, representing the USA, stopped Jamaica's Sasha Pagon 6-3, 6-1 while Ffion Fletcher of Jamaica eased past Canadian Manika Cyrany 6-1, 6-0.
Top women's seed and Belgium's 11th-ranked Micheala Boev will bow into action on today's third day of the five-day tournament, when she commences her quest for the US$1,000 purse against Jamaica's Lisa Chin.
Today's action is set to serve off at 4 p.m.