Nine-time champions both excel on the ‘big points’

THE stranglehold of Rob West and Jo Dyer on the island championships singles silverware shows no sign of loosening.

Both players brought their career tally of Senior Closed Tournament individual titles to nine on Sunday – though, even more impressively, all of Dyer’s titles have been achieved in succession.

That is certainly something one would not have guessed from her jubilant celebrations at the Longcamps indoor courts.

Yet as the top woman anticipates a ‘decade of Dyer’ in due course, the Robinson brothers, on this rare occasion Pieter rather than Nico, continue to threaten West’s reign.

Against the forceful serves of Robinson, West had to keep every wit about him as they traded games early in the first set.

A stronger finish saw West take the set 6-3.

Robinson then ended up battling to avoid a second-set bagel, but that did not tell the entire story, the player producing some great points but failing to convert games en route to trailing 5-0.

Robinson bounced back well in the latter stages, but West still finished 6-2 to wrap up the match in circa 75min.

‘It always feels good to win and it was nice to play Pete in the final this year,’ said West.

‘I played solidly and I think the biggest thing I did is that I played well on the important points – I held him in the service games when I was down 15-40 or 0-30 and I broke him in the start of the second set when he was 40-0 up.

‘Those games make a big difference mentally as when you’re up in those games and don’t convert them, it plays with your mind a bit.

‘I played the big points well, hung in there on the first set and just tried to create a chance on his serves.’

Just two minutes after West’s success on the adjacent court, Dyer was left roaring in glory after a last error by Lauren Barker.

The tennis development officer generally put up an improved fight this year despite Dyer taking the opening set 6-1.

In a dynamic match featuring several long rallies, Dyer actually found herself behind in the second set, before producing a finishing flourish to win 6-3.

‘There’s a lot of pressure when you come back and you obviously want to play well, but I hadn’t had too many matches leading up to this,’ she said.

‘I did not know how I was going to fare but I was really pleased with how I played in the end.

‘I won the big points and that’s what tennis is all about – you have to win the big points – and I served really well, which makes a big difference.

‘In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing probably the best tennis I’ve ever played, despite the lack of matches – I’ve been training well.’

In the following doubles matches, both individual champions expanded their title tallies even further.

West paired with Andy Privett to overcome the Robinson brothers 6-3, 5-7, and 10-8 on tie-break in a well-contested men’s doubles final.

The equivalent women’s contest saw Dyer bolster Natalie Le Cras’ firepower as they beat Barker and Helen Bonner-Morgan 6-1, 6-3.

Finally, going in as a mixed pairing of 2017 Island Games champion status, Dyer and West were bound to excel and they did not disappoint, winning 6-1, 6-0 against Barker and Trevor Kuodza.

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