By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Kshwan Martin was a straight set winner over Eric Joseph while Malaika Bowen needed three sets to get past Kamaria Wheatley, during Sunday’s LJD VI Block 14 and Under Tennis Tournament held at the Long Look Tennis and Education Center. The pair won the Sablas Law Tennis Hamper at the end of November.
Martin, who had a bye to the final, was a 4-0, 4-0 winner over Joseph for the Boys title.
“It was good,” Martin told Island Sun Sports of his matches. “This is my friend so I won’t go hard on him. My knee was hurting bad, but I still pulled it off and won. My friends were telling me I’m going to lose the tournament but guess who won? Me.”
Martin, who beat Joseph in November said he noticed that Joseph’s slices got better. “His service, forehand and backhand also got better,” he said.
Joseph advanced to meet Martin in the round robin format, after opening with a 4-0, 4-2 victory over Courtney Lindsay and a 4-2, 4-2 triumph against Kimathi Wheatley, said he was hitting some good shots and his serve was good. Wheatley needed three sets to overcome Lindsay, 1-4, 4-2 and 7-4.
“I was trying to move Kshwan around and win a game,” Joseph said.
Coach and Tournament Director Carol Mitchell said Martin is a good player and noticed he dominates during training sessions and created the round robin format with the three other players.
“I had to let them play and then have an opportunity to come up against him,” she said. “What can I say? Kshawn was too hot to stop. He played an amazing match.”
In the Girls match, Bowen needed three sets to overhaul Kamaria Wheatley, 4-0, 1-4 and 7-4.
Bowen said she faltered in the second set because she was popping up the ball and it was going out and also hitting the ball into the net.
“But when we had a break, my Mom told me it isn’t over till it’s over and I can still win,” she noted. “So I did what I had to do, had confidence in myself and then boom, I won.”
Bowen said Wheatley was hitting a lot of drop shots so she had a harder time adjusting. “As I was running back, she would drop the ball short and I would run forward to try and get the ball,” she said. “Kami has a good follow through, she moves us a lot so you have to be on your feet and ready to move.”
After winning the second set, Wheatley said during the water break, she sat and thought about what she wanted to do.
“I was thinking I didn’t want what happened last time to happen again and I think at love five , then I game back 4-6 but unfortunately I lost and Malaika won and I’m happy for he but I wish I would have won, but things happen for a reason,” Wheatley said. “I need to believe in myself more—everyone keeps telling me that—it’s not really easy for me, but I did believe in myself a little more, that’s one thing I did different to last time.”
Mitchel said both Bowen and Wheatley have a good rivalry going.
“It was an awesome tournament with good support from the parents,” Mitchell told Island Sun Sports. “I am so proud of all the players. Everyone played their best. I’ve seen improvements in their serves, ground strokes, improved positioning on the court and overall, they have all done their best.”