MARISKA VENTER AND LEON ELS WIN TOUGH CHALLENGES TO ADVANCE IN SOWETO
Top seeds Mariska Venter and Leon Els survived challenges from opponents to move into the Airports Company South Africa Soweto Open semi-finals at Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre on Saturday.
Women’s top seed Venter was made to work hard by compatriot Mabel Mankgele in the women’s quarter-final round. Venter downed Mankgele 6-0 5-7 7-5.
The former world number 1 junior promptly blitzed the first set 6-0, lost the second but came back 7-5 in the third set to see off Mankgele and set-up an intriguing semi-final against Thando Hlatswayo, who crushed Tsholofelo Sibanda emphatically earlier in the day.
“I have played Mabel a few times before but today she gave me a huge challenge. I really enjoyed the match, so many rallies, points but I am very excited that in the end I pulled through. Mabel has improved her game and she is a good player”, said Venter.
Rose van der Meer easily disposed of unseeded Lethabo Shai 6-1 6-1 and have a game plan for her semi-final clash against reigning Airports Company South Africa Pretoria Open champion Christine Schoenn from France, who defeated Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Nokwanda Hlongwane 6-1 6-0.
Defending champion Leon Els pulled through a tough two-setter to keep his bid for a third successive men’s singles title on track. The top seed dismissed Australian Henry De Cure, seeded-six 6-1 7-6(2). Els will go head-to-head against Austria’s Nico Langmann, who toppled fifth seed Asi Stokol in straight sets 6-1 6-4. Despite a challenging quarterfinal match, Els is confident he will take the title again. “I won this tournament in 2013 and 2014, so of course I want to stay in the winner’s circle” Els said. “It is not going to be easy playing Nico Langmann tomorrow but I am in a good form and look forward to the challenge” Els added.
Meanwhile Australian Keegan Oh-Chee who struggled after he fell from his wheelchair proved too experienced for South Africa’s Marshall Marsh and the second seed won the match 7-6(2) 6-4.
South African top ranked junior Alwande Skhosana needed only an hour to dispatch Simamisa Mashazi 6-0 6-0 in an all-South African quarterfinal round clash.
In the quads singles, Rowena Mudzanani and Jeffrey Yates also advanced to join the semi-final action on Sunday.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the sport of wheelchair tennis. Airports Company South Africa has contributed no less than R36-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme.