Colin Sinclair and company beat Syria
Colin Sinclair powered Pacific Oceania to a gritty 2-1 victory against favored Syria to gain promotion to Group II in 2022 in the 2021 Davis Cup by Rakuten Asia/Oceania Group III Tie last Sunday in Amman, Jordan.
The 26-year-old teamed up with Cook Islands’ Brett Baudinet in the deciding doubles and defeated Kareem Al Allaf and Hazem Naw 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4.
Earlier, Sinclair knotted the tie with Syria at 1-1 after outlasting Al Allaf, 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-4. Pacific Oceania went down 0-1 after Vanuatu’s Clement Mainguy lost the opening singles to Naw, 6-2, 6-1.
The 718th ranked singles players in the ATP Tour said it was an incredible and surreal end to a weekend of amazing tennis in the Jordanian capital.
“It was a crazy day. I think I spent about 5 hours on court and to be able to come out and win that final set with Brett was really special. It hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest. As soon as we won we went straight to the hospital for COVID-19 tests and then I was on a flight a couple hours later at midnight with our coach Rich Breen. So I’m still trying to process it but very excited and can’t wait for next year,” Sinclair said in a social media message to Saipan Tribune.
Baudinet said Sinclair proved to be Pacific Oceania’s ace against Syria, which topped Group C and were highly favored against their team that only finished No. 2 in Group A after Vietnam.
“Colin played extremely well this week. His experience on tour really shone through and he handled the pressure situations like a pro. The CNMI would be so proud of this amazing athlete who has such a promising future in tennis, and for future Davis Cup [ties],” he said in a social media message to Saipan Tribune.
Baudinet then recounted the thrilling final set against Al Allaf and Naw.
“In the deciding doubles against Syria, Colin and I were down a break 2-1 in the third set, and they were serving at 40-15. We played some amazing tennis with a few big shots and came back to win that game and square it back up 2-2. Then at 4-4, deuce, Colin barely reaches a volley that hits the frame of his racket and falls over the net for a winner drop shot which we then go on to win the game and then break the next game at 5-4 to take the victory.”
The veteran netter, who played his 59th Davis Cup tie, said although they started the competition slowly, everyone in the team was really expecting to get the promotion to Group II.
“We went into the Davis Cup this year with high expectations of moving up to Group II. So even after barely losing to Vietnam, we were still confident going into the final playoffs that we could win. We got drawn Syria in the finals over Hong Kong, and we felt Syria was the stronger team. So the Pacific Oceania boys did brilliantly to pull through and we couldn’t be happier. It was an epic finish to a hard week,” said Baudinet.
Jeff Race, former Pacific Oceania captain and Sinclair’s coach in the CNMI National Tennis team, congratulated Sinclair, his former player Baudinet, and the rest of the Pacific Oceania team for the promotion to Group II.
“Group II is very tough. Most of the Top 6 teams from the Group III competition are bouncing back and forth between II and III. That used to be the Pacific Oceania team but not for the last 10 years or so. The main thing for the team is that they reached their goal that has been a long time coming so I know from my days just how excited they are. Personally I’m pretty close to all those guys and I’m really proud of and happy for them,” he said.
The fourth player for Pacific Oceania is Tahiti’s Heimanarii Lai San.
Joining Pacific Oceania in being promoted to Group II in 2022 are Hong Kong, China and Vietnam, while Kuwait, Qatar, Sri Lanka were relegated to Group IV.