Sat | Sep 30, 2023

Davis Cup blanking

Lebanon tie goes awry for Jamaica

Published:Sunday | September 17, 2023 | 12:09 AM

Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell.
Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell.

Rowland Phillips
Rowland Phillips

JAMAICA WERE yesterday blanked 4-0 in their World Group II Davis Cup Tie against Lebanon at the Automobile Touring Club of Lebanon.

Coming into yesterday’s final day on the back of two losses in the singles on Friday, the Jamaicans needed to win both their doubles and reverse singles match-ups but found the going no easier than they did on day one.

The doubles team of Blaise Bicknell and Rowland Phillips lost to the combination of Hady Habib and Benjamin Hassan 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 to end the tie as a contest.

Bicknell and Phillips were very much in the tie until they were broken in the sixth game to give Lebanon a 4-2 lead. The Jamaicans did not recover but returned in the second set to give the Jamaicans a glimmer of hope in the tie.

Interestingly, the Jamaicans, who won the second set, began badly, the Lebanese breaking them to go 2-0 up, before Bicknell and Phillips came roaring back to 2-2. They, would again break the Lebanese to go up 5-3 and then serve for the set.

3-0 LEAD

The wake-up call for Lebanon was punctuated by a fast start in the third set, the home side running out to a 3-0 lead before the Jamaicans got on to the scoresheet.

From 4-1 down, the Jamaicans would continue to hold serve but were never let back into the set, ending the tie as a contest.

That result meant the reverse singles did not matter and the teams brought out their benches for the fourth match.

In that fourth match, Daniel Azar was beaten 3-6, 1-6 by Mustapha El Natour before the tie was called to a close with no need to play a fifth game.

On Friday, Phillips faced off against Hassan, the world number 1,778 losing 5-7, 3-6 to the number 209-ranked Lebanese.

Phillips held his own against the much-higher-ranked Lebanese.

Also on Friday, Bicknell, playing against Habib, lost 6-7, 1-6.

Bicknell had struck first blood, breaking Habib to go up 3-1 in the first set before, holding his serve for a 4-1 advantage.

Habib would get things together though, holding to go to 4-2 before Bicknell also held at 5-2.

But then came the fightback, Habib holding at 5-3 before breaking Bicknell to take the game to 5-4.

Habib would hold again and move to 5-5. Nobody gave a quarter after that until the tie breaker at 6-6.

Habib would go on to win 7-6, and destroy Bicknell in the second set, breaking him at 2-0, before running out to a 5-0 lead before the latter would get off the mark.

It was too late by that time, Habib, serving successfully for the match.