ELS, DLAMINI EASE INTO POLOKWANE OPEN FINALS, VENTER OUT
Top seeds Leon Els and Bongani Dlamini eased into Polokwane Open finals meanwhile women’s top seed Mariska Venter was unable to complete a clean-sweep when she was knocked out on Monday at Polokwane Tennis Club in Limpopo.
Leon Els moved a step closer to a maiden Polokwane Open title, sweeping aside the country’s top junior Alwande Skhosana in straight sets to reach the finals.
The world number 35 from Potchefstroom breezed through with a straightforward 6-1 6-0 win against Skhosana. Els, who reached the finals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures tournament sponsored by Airports Company South Africa without dropping a set will next take on close friend Marshall Marsh.
“I played a solid game today and I intend to build on that going into tomorrow’s final. Marshall is a good player and we have challenged each other a couple of times, so I plan to focus on my game plan and give it my best,” said Els.
Fourth seed Marsh who pulled out quite a comeback in Sunday’s quarterfinals, coming back from a set down to beat compatriot Donald Ramphadi 0-6 6-2 7-5 continued his winning streak on Monday to reach the finals. Marsh cruised to victory besting second seed Mzwanele Thentsi 6-0 6-4 to set up a date with Els in Tuesday’s final.
“I am looking forward to play him again, it’s always exciting to take him on because we have played each other more often. We warm-up together and we always play a fast game,” said Marsh.
The 28-year-old Els holds a narrow 4-3 lead over Marsh and has won their last four clashes.
In the quads event, the country’s number two Bongani Dlamini cruised into the finals with an equally comfortable 6-2 6-0 win against Queen Nhlapo. The top seed will play his biggest rival Danny Mohlamonyane who saw off Ronewa Mudzanani 7-5 6-1.
For nearly two hours, top seed South African Mariska Venter and third seed Nalani Buob hammered tennis balls back and forth over the net, each one answering the other’s power with power of her own, until the final point.
The 15-year-old from Switzerland stunned former world number one junior 7-6(5) 6-2 to deny the top seed her first title at Polokwane. Buob was challenged in the first set but made quick work in the second and will next face a formidable opponent in Thando Hlatswayo on Tuesday.
Hlatswayo played one of the most topsy-turvy contests of her career when she recovered from an early-match slump to beat compatriot Mabel Mankgele 5-7 6-3 7-5 to book a spot in the final.
In the juniors tournament, it will be a battle between top seed Alwande Skhosana and Ian Snyman who defeated Mgambi Aviwe 6-0 6-0 and Tiisetso Motaung 6-3 6-3 respectively. In the girls, Switzerland’s Nalani Buob will face South Africa’s Nosipho Hlatswayo for the girl’s title.
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.