By RENALDO DORSETT
The last Bahamian player standing at the ITF Goombay Splash Bowl 2011 suffered a surprising late-set collapse and was denied a berth to the semifinals of the boys' main draw.
Kevin Major Jr lost in a three-set thriller to Runhao Hua of China, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (5) yesterday in the feature contest at the BLTA National Tennis Centre.
Major seemed to be in control for much of the contest but was forced into a series of unforced errors allowing Hua to remain in the match and eventually mount a late rally.
Hua will advance to face the top seed in the tournament, Vincente Bronstein of Chile - ranked 266th in the world - in the semifinal.
In the other semifinal, Alexander Zverev of Germany faces Jordi Arconada of Argentina who is the second ranked player of the tournament.
Major led the opening set 5-4 before he allowed Hua to work his way back into the match and take the final two sets, and a come-from-behind performance in the tie breaker.
In the second set, he seemed to regroup and went ahead 4-0 and eventually take the set with relative ease, 6-2.
The third set opened with Major fully in control once again to take a four game lead and seemingly had the match in hand. However, Hua again finished with a stunning come-from-behind finish to pull off the upset.
Major fell to 3-2 on the ITF circuit this year with a combined ranking of 1,404.
The homegrown product reached a career high ranking of 1,217 back in June.
Tournament director Stephen Turnquest said the Bahamian players have held their own on the hard court in the keenly contested tournament. "The level of competition has been great. We have players from about 30 countries and everyone has been performing well. We have had a number of players from the Bahamas that have performed exceptionally well. We had five boys that made it to the main draw and four of them went to the second round and we had Kevin moving further on," he said. "It is really unprecedented for us to have that many players in the boys draw advance that far. The ranked players from all over the world were ranked from the lower 200s to about 1,500s on the ITF junior rankings. The competition was very keen and they gave a good account of themselves."
A total of 11 players were listed in both the boys' and girls' main draw.
Jody Turnquest fell in the second round of the boys' draw when he lost to Matthew Erdman of Canada 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-5.
Gabrielle Moxey was the lone female player to reach the second round when she defeated American Kandis Legall 7-5, 6-3.
She was denied a trip to the quarterfinals when she fell to American Mary Haffey, 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday.
"We want to establish this tournament as one the local and international players can continue to look forward to during the winter months," Mr Turnquest said. "We felt like this would be an opportune time as many of the players will use this to prepare for the upcoming Orange Bowl, and with the success we have had hosting the Junkanoo Bowl so many times in the past, we look forward to continue that trend now with the Goombay Splash."