Joseph Van Meter of Indianapolis ousted Darius Mohale of California 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 in opening-match action as the Pine Bluff Country Club Tennis Patrons Community Tennis Classic opened play under perfect weather conditions Friday afternoon.
Van Meter overcame a one-set deficit and fought back from being down 2-0 in the third to win the opener and was slated to face Las Vegas’ Chris Wettengel in the second round Friday evening. But Wettengel won by walkover after Van Meter failed to appear for the match.
That propelled Wettengel, who had drawn a bye, straight to the semifinals where he will face Great Britain’s Sean Thornley, who outlasted Lance Vodicka of St. Louis 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 in the day’s final match under the lights.
Unranked Vodicka pushed Thornley, the No. 2 seed, for through the first set, with each player breaking serve twice before Thornley grabbed a 4-2 lead in the tiebreaker and held on for an 8-6 win.
“Lance played great,” Thornley said. “I wasn’t expecting that from him to be honest. But the conditions were really tough for me today. I haven’t had much outdoors this year. And being in America the ball flies through the air much quicker than it does in England.”
Thornley then broke serve to open the second and held for the 7-5 win.
“I also haven’t played under the lights in about a year,” Thornley said. “It’s tough getting adjusted to that. Once it got pitch black and the floodlights came on I was a bit shaky and got broke a couple of times. Once I adjusted to it, it got better.”
In other singles matches, top seed Artem Sitak of New Zealand disposed of California’s Timothy Tan 6-2, 6-2 and fourth-seeded Australian Nima Roshan dispatched White Hall’s Cole Guy 6-1, 6-1.
That sets up today’s 11 a.m. semifinal showdown between Sitak and Roshan, who have faced each other one time before. Sitak outdueled the Aussie in a three-set match in New Zealand. The two have since paired up to play as doubles partners but will not be playing partners at PBCC when today’s doubles draw is held.
“It should be fun and interesting,” Roshan said of facing Sitak. “We seem to be pretty evenly matched. He got me on a pretty good three-setter down in New Zealand and we’ve played as partners too. So it should be good.”