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Women’s tennis team falls to the DR; relegated to group three

The Bahamas’ senior women’s national tennis team went into the final day of the Billie Jean King Cup Americas Group II Tournament on Saturday, needing a win over the host country Dominican Republic (DR) to stay in group two for 2024.

In the end, the host country earned that privilege after taking care of The Bahamas in two straight matches at the Centro Nacional De Tenis Parque Del Este, in Santo Domigo, Dominican Republic. The loss means that The Bahamas has been relegated to the Americas Group III for 2024.

The Bahamian quartet of Elana Mackey, Simone Pratt, Sapphire Ferguson and Sydney Clarke went into the day on a high note after winning their tie against Costa Rica, 2-1. The team was coached by Kim O’Kelley.

On Saturday, Elana Mackey Wass up first for The Bahamas, playing in the number two slot like she did all tournament. She was up against Ana Zamburek. In the end, Zamburek came away with a two-set victory, 6-3 and 6-0.

In the first set, Zamburek took a 2-0 lead, but Mackey came back as the score was 3-2 in favor of the Dominican. Zamburek went up 5-3 and Mackey could not get a hold of the Dominican as the set ended 6-3 in favor of Zamburek.

Mackey had a tough time in the second set as she was shut out 6-0 to fall in that set. The Bahamian was able to serve two aces in the entire match.

The pressure was on Sydney Clarke in the number one singles slot as she needed the win to force the doubles match to determine a winner. She was in action against Kelly Williford. That match ended with Clarke falling to Williford in three sets, 6-3, 1-6 and 6-2.

The first set saw Clarke and her opponent tied at two games each. Williford then went on to win the next three sets to take a 5-2 lead. Clarke was able to win the next game as Williford led 5-3. Williford won the next game and the next set to win 6-3.

It was all Clarke in the second set as the Bahamian won the first two games. She dropped the third game but won the other four games to win 6-1.

Clarke got off to a good start in the third set and it appeared as if she was going to force doubles play when she went up 2-1. That was all the games she won as Williford stormed back and won the next five games to win the match. The Dominican Republic won the tie and will stay in the Americas Group II while The Bahamas will be relegated to the Americas Group III.

Ecuador and Venezuela were promoted to the Americas Group I. Costa Rica was relegated to the Americas Group III with The Bahamas.

On Friday, The Bahamas won their only tie when they took care of Costa Rica 2-1 in Pool B action. Mackey took care of Lucia Gallegos, 6-4, 4-6 and 7-6(7-4). In Clarke’s match at the number one singles slot, she lost in three sets to Nicole Alfaro. Clarke fell, 7-6(7-2), 3-6 and 6-3. In the doubles match, the two most experienced team members, Clarke and lefty Simone Pratt, hit the court for The Bahamas. They were in action against Alfaro and Gallegos. The Bahamian duo won, 6-2 and 6-3.

The Bahamas finished third in their pool with a 1-2 win/loss record, and then they went on to lose the relegation tie to the Dominican Republic. Their two losses in Pool B play came against Paraguay and Venezuela.

Also in action in the Americas Group II competition were Uruguay and Honduras.