Phillips, Stephens top Swept Away Tennis Championships

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Jamaicans Rowland “Randy” Phillips and 15-year-old Micheala Stephens won the men's and women's singles titles on Monday as the 25th Touch Tuina Swept Away Clay Court Tennis Championships came to an end at the resort in Negril.

Despite the three-day event being affected by rain, with most of Saturday's first day been washed out, the championships end on a high with Phillips winning his second title in three years after being beaten in last year final, he upset the 26-year-old Bahamian Rodney Carey, who was returning to competitive tennis after an injury setback.

Phillips, who said the victory would boost his confidence as he prepared for a series of Futures Events in the southern United States, took home $200,000 for his straight sets 6-3, 7-5 win.

Stephens wasted little time in beating a seemingly disinterested Pauline Hylton in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, despite what she described as her chest “feeling tight” late in the second set.

Dwayne Pagon won the Men's Pro 35 title after beating David Goldsmith 6-4, 6-2, while Richard Deenah won the Men's Amateur 35, 6-4, 7-6 over Adrian Armstrong.

Phillips, who beat Macoy Malcolm 6-3, 6-1 in the semi-finals early Monday morning, admitted the win left him feeling good about his game and would boost his confidence as he gets ready for the step up to the Futures events.

“It feels good to win here again I wasn't so lucky last year, but it feels good to win again;” adding two stoppages for rain caused him to drop his concentration a bit in the second set.

The Jamaican led 3-1 and was ahead 4-2 in the second set when the rains got heavier, forcing the suspension of the match. and when they resumed, the Bahamian won the next two games and drew level.

“The stop and start caused me to lose my focus a little,” Phillips said.

Conversely, however, Phillips said the rain could have helped his game as “it slowed down the courts at little to suit my game, so I was just happy we were able to get to finish”.

Carey, who had not played any of the Jamaicans before coming here for the first time, had beaten Dimitri Bird in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

The 26-year-old from Freeport, Bahamas, who graduated from South Carolina State University, said he had just resumed playing tournament tennis following an 18-month layoff after he had a partially torn meniscus surgically repaired.

“The rain and conditions did not affect me that much... it did not make that much of a difference as we have similar games, consistent from the backcourt but it could have helped him a little given that I was more aggressive but I tried to make adjustments for that.”

Phillips broke the Bahamian's service to go 5-3 in the first set and went on to win 6-3, then broke him again in the first game of the second set and raced to a 3-1 lead.

Carey then got his first break of service in the match to level the scores, but Phillips got back another break and led 3-1 and was up 4-2 when they had to leave the court.

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