Photo: Paul ZimmerDarian King (BAR)
MANZANILLO, MEXICO: Having won his first ever ITF Pro Circuit singles title in Manzanillo, Mexico, earlier in the month, 20-year-old Darian King was hoping for another successful week in the city that hosted his first singles triumph.
King, who has represented his native Barbados at Davis Cup level, opened his third successive week in Western Mexico with a routine victory; defeating wildcard entrant Tigre Hank, with the loss of just two games. This was followed up by another straight sets win against Brazilian Talles De Oliveira Vilarinho, 75 62, ensuring progression to the quarterfinal stage for the third consecutive week.
His opponent in the quarterfinal was number one seed, American Adam El Mihdawy, who had beaten King a week earlier in the Mexico F10 semifinal. The pair had met three times in ITF Pro Circuit singles meetings prior to the tournament, with El Mihdawy coming out on top on all three occasions. However, it was King who prevailed this time round, securing a relatively straightforward 64 62 victory.
The semifinal witnessed King take on Christopher Diaz-Figueroa of Guatemala. The Barbadian had defeated Diaz-Figueroa in straight sets a week earlier, where the pair had also teamed up, and were beaten finalists, in the doubles event. King secured his place in the final with a dominant display over his opponent, winning by the straight sets scoreline of 61 61.
Talented 16-year-old, Yoshihito Nishioka, fresh from competing in the US Open Junior Tennis Championships, was King’s opponent in the final. Nishioka had beaten three seeded players en route to facing King, and was searching for his first ITF Pro Circuit singles crown.
Despite the Japanese youngster’s strong performances throughout the week, it was King who ultimately produced an assertive display of tennis to overpower his opponent, winning comprehensively, 60 61, in-turn taking his second Manzanillo title within the space of three weeks.
The tournament success, all of which without dropping a set, means that King has now won two out of his four ITF Pro Circuit career singles finals. King will now take a two week break before returning to the circuit for the USA F27 event, held in Austin, Texas.