The Bahamas’ senior women’s national tennis team is drawn into Pool A of the Billie Jean King (BJK) Cup Americas Group II Tournament in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and they’re already off to a hot start.
Playing at the Centro Nacional de Tenis Parque del Este in Santo Domingo, the team took on El Salvador yesterday and came out on top three matches to none. The ream is vying to be promoted to the Americas Group I for 2023, and to do so, they will have to finish in the top two in the week-long tournament.
The Bahamas is in the same pool as host country Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Bermuda. In their opening match in pool play, Sydney Clarke and Elana Mackey won in singles and the team of Clarke and player/captain Simone Pratt came out on top in doubles.
The other member of the team is 16-year-old Sierra Rodgers – the youngest of the quartet. Mackey is 19, Clarke is 20, and player/captain Pratt is the senior player of the team at 26.
In the first match of the day on Monday, Mackey took down Daniela Aguilar, of El Salvador, in straight sets, winning 6-2 and 6-0. Mackey wasn’t broken and won 58 of the 86 points in the match that lasted just an hour and six minutes. Clarke kept the ball rolling, taking down Michelle Irigoyen, of El Salvador, also in straight sets. She prevailed 6-3 and 6-1. She had a more difficult time than Mackey but still managed to win 58.4 percent of the total points in the match (66-of-113). Finally, in doubles, the team of Clarke and Pratt won over the team of Irigoyen and Raquel Alejandra Santos Marmol, also in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-3. They won 65 of the 108 total points.
The Bahamas leads the all-time series against El Salvador, 5-1.
Today, the country will face off against Bermuda.
There are 17 teams split into four groups in the tournament as three groups have four teams and the other has five teams.
The other teams participating in the tournament are Aruba, Barbados, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, the US Virgin Islands and Venezuela. It was 18 teams initially, but Trinidad and Tobago withdrew.
The Bahamian team arrived in the Dominican Republic on Friday and Pratt said the team settled in nicely.
“We arrived three days before the tournament start date, so that gave us all sufficient time to get accustomed to the courts and our surroundings. We have had about five solid workouts. We are seeded number one in the Pool A and we believe it’s a great draw. We’re confident that we can come out on top in our pool,” Pratt said.
This is Pratt’s sixth appearance on the national team, having played for The Bahamas in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2018. Clarke is making her fourth appearance in the tournament, also competing in 2017, 2019 and 2021. Mackey played for The Bahamas in the 2017 and 2021 editions and is making her third appearance. Rodgers is the youngest on the team and is making her senior national team debut.
The countries will play in a round-robin format. The winners of each pool will compete in two promotional playoff matches and the two winners will advance to the Americas Group I for 2023. All other teams will play for positional placement. No teams will be relegated to the Americas Group III for 2023.