Top players give Jamaica, NCBCapital Markets Open high marks
The United States' Tim Smyczek, men's singles champion at the NCB Capital Markets Jamaica Open Tennis Championships 2012, gave the tournament high marks after securing a come-from-behind victory in the final over Barbadian Darian King on Sunday night at Liguanea Club, New Kingston.
"Everybody was so nice and very welcoming, and I really, really enjoyed my time here," said Smyczek, who won 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to capture the top prize money of US$4,000. King pocketed US$2,000.
The 24-year-old Mislwaukee, Wisconsin native, Smyczek, believes Jamaica is perfect for hosting international tennis tournaments.
"I think Jamaica has the right tools and I will be waiting to hear of my invite next year," Smyczek shared with The Gleaner. "You have the great weather and obviously with the crowds that have been out you have a lot of people who are interested in tennis.
"That (crowd) is the biggest thing because you see a lot of tournaments where nobody shows up to watch and it is actually underrated," said Smyczek. "But as players anybody can attest that it is much more fun playing in an atmosphere like this where there are a lot of people watching and animated and getting behind the players."
Smyczek did not have things his own way in the final, as the 505-ranked ATP (Association of Tennis Professio-nals) King took the first set 6-4. Smyczek, who is ranked 130, then adjusted his game to storm back and take the two remaining sets 6-1, 6-3.
"Tennis was done for the year and vacation had started, it was a last-minute thing, so my fitness is something I have to work on," the 20-year-old King, who captained Barbados' national Under-20 football team revealed. "At the end of match, I told him (Smyczek) "I wasn't fit today', but I know next time when we play like a real big tournament I will be ready, I will be preparing."
King was also pleased with his time spent in Jamaica.
"It was a great experience for me, my second time in Jamaica and I am glad to be back. I will be ready and waiting on a next invite."
In the women's singles final, Jamaica's Tinesta Rowe got the better of compatriot Ffion Fletcher 6-1, 6-2 to claim the US$1,100 purse. Fletcher earned US$500 for having reached the final.
The men's doubles final, which saw Jamaica's duo of Dominic Pagon and Brandon Burke team up against King and Jamaican Damion Johnson, was suspended due to rain. King and Johnson had won the first set 7-5 and Pagon and Burke were up 3-2 in the second. The teams shared the combined prize money of US$900.
Beaten men's semi-finalist Barbadian Lewis, who had won last year's singles championship, walked away with US$500 for the most aces in the tournament having served a total of 26 in his four matches.
Full Caption: Sponsors NCB Capital Markets, represented by National Commercial Bank group sponsorship and promotions manager, Julian Patrick (centre), and The Gleaner, represented by Roland Booth (second right), deputy manager, Gleaner Online, team up with the champions at the conclusion of the NCB Capital Markets Jamaica Open Tennis Championships at Liguanea Club, New Kingston, on Sunday. The winners are (from left): Jamaica's Dominic Pagon and Brandon Burke, who won the men's doubles title, women's singles champion Tinesta Rowe, women's singles runners-up Ffion Fletcher and men's singles champion, Tim Smyczek of the United States. - Contributed