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Doubles partner knocks out Burke
Matthew Chapman, Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA'S BRANDON Burke was yesterday knocked out in the quarter-finals of the boys' Under-18 Junior Tennis Championships by his doubles partner, Darian King.
In a good-spirited match, Burke succumbed 6-4, 6-3 to his good friend from Barbados. Fifth-seeded Burke defeated Zach Jiganti of the United States to reach the quarter-final stage of the International Tennis Federation's competition, which is being staged at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre.
However, his dream of winning the title on home turf came up short against an extremely impressive King.
The powerful Burke was unable to best the accurate and athletic King, who will now tackle the number one seed, Max Stevens, in the semis.
The first set of the quarter-finals could have swung either way when at 4-5 down, Burke showed great character in taking the game to deuce on King's serve.
The remainder of the game saw some thrilling tennis with Burke managing to save a set point as well as narrowly missing out on squaring the match when he had a break point himself.
King responded well and showed his mettle in order to take the first set by six games to four. In the second set, the game slipped away from Burke.
After the match, an obviously disappointed Burke was gracious in defeat and was able to pinpoint the reasons for his defeat.
"It was a pretty good match. I didn't convert the break points, I missed a couple too many first serves and I was over-hitting a bit," Burke said.
Talking of the difficulties of playing against his doubles partner, Burke was pragmatic in his views: "It is tough, I mean, but it is part of the game."
King echoed Burke's sentiments and it is obvious to see that theirs is a doubles partnership founded on mutual respect.
"It was tough because he is my good friend and I had to play my best game to beat him," said King.
Despite the partners' clash in the quarter-finals, they later proved that their partnership is as strong as ever when they went on to win their doubles quarter-final against Mexicans Javier Perez and Nikolas Riefkohl. The exertions of the earlier game failed to take any toll on the young men as they strolled to victory 6-0, 6-3.
In the men's semis today, King faces a tough contest as he meets favourite Stevens, who triumphed over Mike Vermeer of Luxembourg in a heated encounter that ended 6-2, 7-5.
Despite coming up against the top seeded American, King is bullish about his chances, saying that he rated them as "good" before adding, "I always think I can win".