International Acclaim


Australian Nima Roshan continued his trend of success in Pine Bluff, teaming up with England’s Sean Thornley to capture Sunday’s doubles championship of the Pine Bluff Country Club Tennis Patrons Community Tennis Classic.

Roshan and Thornley, a 2011 Wimbledon entry, dismantled singles champion Artem Sitak and runner-up Chris Wettengel 7-6, 6-4 in windy conditions as the Aussie claimed his fourth title in three years.

“This is my third time here and I have had a good experience every time,” Roshan said following the title match. “I am grateful that I could win doubles again. Artem had a good tournament and deserved to win the singles and doubles was the thing for me.”

Roshan, ranked 783rd by the ATP, obtained last year’s doubles title after picking up singles and doubles crowns in 2009.

After holding serve for the first 10 games of the first set, Roshan and 602nd-ranked Thornley finally got the break they needed against Sitak’s dominating serve, who had lost only three points on serve in the match after surrendering just six to Wettengel in the singles championship earlier in the day.

“He had a really good first serve,” Roshan said of the hard-hitting Sitak. “And he was getting a lot of first serves in. We just had to wait back and wait for an opening and we finally got one.”

After breaking 423rd-ranked Sitak to go to 6-5, Thornley, who played in last year’s Wimbledon alongside playing partner and fellow Englishman David Rice, served out the first set, though Sitak and Wettengel pushed to deuce before Roshan finished it off with a forehand winner down the centerline.

Wettengel, ranked No. 712, started serve in the second set and replicated his first-game win in the first set and each team held serve until Roshan and Thornley broke the Arkansas native in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead then held serve the remainder of the match.

“All four of us played very well in the first set,” Thornley said. “There were hardly any points on serves. We got one sniff and we took it. In doubles you don’t get many chances. When you do get a chance you have to play well in those clutch moments.”

Sitak and Wettengel opened the day with a powerful singles match in which the New Zealander’s service game and groundstrokes were more consistent than the American.

Sitak broke serve in the third game of the 6-4 first set and twice in the second, an easier 6-1 win to capture the $2,000 top prize.

“It’s always great to win a tournament,” Sitak said. “It’s so much about confidence sometimes because you can play great but not win. I had a really good service game today and so did he. I just managed to get his back a few more times.”

PBCC tennis instructor and tournament director Roy Coopersmith said the event was a success for the players.

“It was a small draw but it was a top-heavy draw,” he said. “There were good players. The doubles matches were just as I expected and Artem showed why he was the top-ranked player in singles.”