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White Last Man Standing
By KENMORE BYNOE   Published: February 18, 2013  
THE INDOMITABLE Julian THE INDOMITABLE Julian "Michael Jackson" White captured the grand slam in road tennis and $2 000 on Sunday night by smashing his way to his first title in the Professional Road Tennis Association's Sagicor Last Man Standing Tournament.
UNBEATABLE. Julian “Michael Jackson” White was seeing the ball like the proverbial breadfruit in capturing the tournament in three straight sets. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

THE INDOMITABLE Julian "Michael Jackson" White captured the grand slam in road tennis and $2 000 on Sunday night by smashing his way to his first title in the Professional Road Tennis Association's Sagicor Last Man Standing Tournament.

White added the crown to his Racquets Of Fire and all of the other road tennis titles by dismissing Anthony "Ears" Mitchell 21-16, 21-12, 21-17, in front of a crowd of more than 250 people at the Mile Tree Restaurant & Bar, Lodge Hill, St Michael.

White's form was almost surreal as he exorcised the "demon" of the history that the last time that he lost a road tennis final in Barbados was the 2008 Last Man Standing when he went down in five sets to Mitchell.

 

Big crowd

 

History and the relentless play of both local giants, who seemed destined for this rematch since the tournament started over four weeks ago, added to the drama and drew the big crowd.

The excitement was heightened more with White turning out dressed in white, while Mitchell wore black to suggest that he would be the villain in this piece.

Mitchell began the early running by taking a 6-2 lead with some crisp shots, forcing White to commit uncharacteristic errors. However, the class of White saw him shifting and changing his style of play as he fully used the base line to frustrate Mitchell into erring after many enthralling two minutes rallies.

White carried his game to a level that even Mitchell's fans conceded was beyond anyone in Barbados, to take the first two sets with almost consummate ease.

The fans were begging for a five-setter and Mitchell looked like carrying the match into at least four sets when he held a three point lead, 15-12, in the third set.

That was the set when Mitchell scored the Pyrrhic victory of a smash past a bemused White, as Mitchell held the pose for the cameras. While the fans roared, the king of the road tennis courts snarled and battled back to take the set and the match.

Mitchell would later concede that White's form was unmatchable by anyone in Barbados currently.

On the other hand, White said that he felt ill-fated in not winning the Last Man Standing before as cramp and other unfortunate circumstances had affected him.

"I know that the fans were expecting a bigger fight between "Ears" and me, but I play my game on the basis of every individual is different and every ball is to be played on its merit," White said.

"I was watching "Ears" for the entire tournament and although he looked good, I recognised that he was not in his best form, so I never expected the challenge that the fans were talking about."

Mitchell pocketed $1 000 for his second place.

The women's title was taken by the unbeatable Kim Holder who defeated Abigail Haynes 21-12, 21-15. Holder earned $800, while Haynes received $400.

Two years ago Holder was stunned by Haynes in the final of the Racquets Of Fire.

Tournament organiser Dale Clarke was visibly pleased with the crowd response to the new venue which he feels could become a new home for road tennis.

"With further developments to the lighting and the court's surface, this venue could provide the Professional Road Tennis Association with a good home for our sport," Clarke said.

 


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