They weren’t quite Nadal and Federer, but Nima Roshan and Denny Fafek put on an impressive show in the men’s final Sunday morning at Diamond Hills Sports Club. Their serves were blurs at more than 120 mph; their baseline rallies were usually brief but often thrilling; their drop shots were smile-inducing and some of the passing shots were eyebrow-raising as they skirted just inside the line at high velocity.
In the end, it was Roshan’s serve-and-volley game that won out over Fafek’s baseline strategy, taking the first two sets in the best-of-three-set match by scores of 7-5 and 6-2. Fafek, of Mountain View, also did himself in with a few too many double-faults and unforced errors at the net.
The first set was a seesaw battle for the first seven games until Roshan, of Studio City, broke Fafek’s serve in the eighth game and let out with his first loud “Come on!” of the match. Before that, the only sounds were occasional applause from the mostly quiet crowd of 50 people, a soft grunting “unh” from each player on baseline shots and an occasional “C’mon, baby” from Roshan’s wife.
Fafek broke right back, however, and it was still anybody’s match until Fafek double-faulted and committed two unforced errors when he was serving at 5-6, losing the game and match.
The second set lacked the drama of the first, as Rashon broke Fafek’s first serve – again punctuated with a loud “C’mon!” Fafek broke back but was broken again on his next serve. Rashon then held serve to go up 4-1 and they traded serves after that for the Rashon victory and a final victorious “C’mon!” He earned $1,500 for his effort, while Fafek received $800.
Meanwhile, the women’s final was taking place almost unnoticed in the court behind the main court. Lauren Curry of Walnut Creek, and Milica Zivanovic of Sacramento played spirited tennis, but had no ball kids to run and scoop up stray balls and no ref to rule on disputed calls and announce the score. Zivanovic won the match 7-6, 6-2.
Diamond Hills Tennis Director Winston Owen said the idea for the Open was developed after club member Ken Graunstadt, owner of Delta Scrap and Salvage in Oakley, offered to sponsor a tournament.
“This tournament has done what we wanted it to do for getting people excited about tennis – not only playing but watching it,” said Owen. “Families are asking about tennis and signing up for the novice leagues we are running. We plan on doing it again next year; a couple of people have shown interest in being sponsors. It will definitely grow – maybe $10,000 (in prize money) next year.”
The club, which features 17 outdoor tennis courts (and two indoor courts in the winter), provides both social and competitive teams and leagues, private lessons (for members and nonmembers) and cardio tennis workouts for those just looking to get into shape.
“In the future, we want to get tennis on the map here,” said Owen. “Anyone can give me a call here at Diamond Hills: 925-420-4575. We welcome them to come over and try out the great game of tennis. We had the largest leagues in Northern California outside of some clubs in Walnut Creek, the largest of the Spare Time facilities. Kids who never touched a racquet before were hitting it back and forth and rallying.”
For more information, go online to www.sparetimeclubs.com and click on the Diamond Hills Sports Club and Spa link.