Owensboro’s Altaf Merchant continues to find higher levels of success on the court, as he claimed the bronze medal in the men’s pro split division of the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships on Monday in Naples, Fla.
It’s technically the fifth medal Merchant has won in the U.S. Open, but his first playing in a pro division.
Merchant played alongside Rick Witsken of Indianapolis. In the men’s pro split division, each team has one pro player over the age of 50 and one under the age of 50.
After falling short in the late rounds of the winner’s bracket, Merchant-Witsken then had to work their way through the consolation bracket. They took down John Sperling-Tyson McGuffin in a three-set battle — winning the final set 11-9 — to claim bronze.
Last year, Merchant moved up to No. 9 in the world in the pickleball global rankings for men’s doubles.
Merchant will play again in the U.S. Open on Friday in the men’s doubles pro division (both teammates under age 50).