POTCHEFSTROOM TO HOST INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR TENNIS TOURNAMENTS

WORLD NUMBER 11 JUNIOR TENNIS STAR TO PLAY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Potchefstroom, South Africa – The focus in South African Tennis now shifts to the international junior tour, following a successful SA Tennis Open at Montecasino earlier this month
Potchefstroom, in the North West Province, will play host to two grade 2 ITF international junior tennis events. The first event, NWU/Pukke Riaan Venter Open, runs from 28 February - 4 March followed by the second event, NWU/Pukke Riaan Venter Championships, running from 7 – 11 March. Both events, grade 2 ITF, will take place at the North West University Tennis Courts and will comprise of a boys and girls, 32 main draw singels event with qualifying round and a 16 main draw doubles event.
The boys draw will be spearheaded by world number 11 Filip Horansky of Slovakia. Horanksy, who will be in South Africa for the first time, boasts an impressive junior career to date with his most recent success coming from a semifinal berth at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Late last year, Horansky had a quarterfinal showing at the Junior US Open. The Slovakian will be the top seed, followed by Kimmer Coppejans and Jeroen Vanneste, both of Belgium, who will be seed two and three respectively, with Bar Tzuf Botzer of Israel seeded four.
The South African challenge will be led by Warren Kuhn (Gauteng Central) , Wayne Montgomery (Western Province) and Matthew Rossouw (Gauteng North).
Top seed in the girls draw is Zarah Razafimahatratra of Madagascar, who is currently ranked 25 on the international rankings. Razafimahatratra, the reigning African closed champion of 2010, will be returning to South Africa to defend her title in Potchefstroom. Second seed in the girls tournament will be Klara Fabikova of the Czech Republic, with Donna Vekic of Croatia seeded three. The only South African with direct acceptance into the main draw, Natasha Fouroclas is seeded four. Fouroclas, who reached the semifinals of the same tournament last year, will be looking to keep the title in South Africa.
Tournament Director, Riaan Venter, said he was extremely happy with the high level of entries both tournaments had received. “It is great that we have such a large international interest in the two Junior ITF tournaments that are taking place here in Potchefstroom. Our facilities are world class and if Potchefstroom was good enough for FIFA World Cup champion’s Spain, then there is no reason why Potchefstroom should not be the preferred host for tournaments of this nature.”
Boys seeds
1. Filip Horanksy (Slovakia)
2. Kimmer Coppejans (Belgium)
3. Jeroen Vanneste (Belgium)
4. Bar Tzuf Botzer (Israel)
5. Jonas Merckx (Belgium)
6. Benjamin Lock (Zimbabwe)
7. Tim Srkala (Switzerland)
8. Vullnet Tashi (Switzerland)

Girls Seeds

  1. Zarah Razafimahatratra (Madagascar)
  2. Klara Fabikova (Czech Republic)
  3. Donna Vekic (Croatia)
  4. Natasha Fourouclas (South Africa)
  5. Reka Muller (Hungary)
  6. Diana Bogoliy (Ukraine)
  7. Sabina Lupu (Romania)
  8. Katy Dunne (Great Britain)

ANDERSON IS THE FULL MONTE Herman Gibbs

A stirring Kevin Anderson performance at the Montecasino outdoor courts ensured that South Africa’s national Open tennis title remained in the country for the first time since Christo van Rensburg triumphed on Johannesburg’s indoor courts in 1989.
The country’s 22-year wait to once more savour a home victory will no doubt go down in the 2011 annals of South African sport as a highlight, and rightly so.
Over a period of seven days the Rainbow Nation embraced the towering Anderson, armed with a rocket-like serve, as he painstakingly worked his way through the field before he emerged a victor to capture his maiden ATP Tour title in Sunday’s summit clash.
It was most fitting that a South African had to collar the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist Somdev Devvarman, of India. The Indian, who was hugely impressive with his rock-solid return of serve, had broken the hearts of South African fans by eliminating Raven Klaasen, Rik de Voest and Izak van der Merwe on his way to the final.
Anderson ran out a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 winner in a rain-interrupted South African Open final and in the process pocketed $US 76 500 and 250 ranking points.
Devvarman, whose runner-up slot will propel him into the top 100 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings earned himself $US 40 300 and 150 points. This was his second ATP Tour final appearance after he was beaten by Croatia’s Marin Cilic at the 2009 Chennai Open.
The Indian was gracious in defeat and praised the Montecasino fans. “Congratulations to Kevin who has beaten me a few times now,” said Devvarman. “I know the crowd were backing him, but they also applauded me and I felt at home.”
Anderson could not have asked for a better outcome, and the neither the hordes of fans that packed out the gaming resort over the last three days of the event. His finest moment erased the bitter-sweet memories when he succumbed in the championship round of the now defunct ATP event in Las Vegas in 2008, which he reached his first final.
“I will never forget today. To win your first ATP title in front of your own people is truly fantastic,” said Anderson. “Somdev is a great player because it is tough playing South Africans here with the altitude and crowd in their favour.”
It is ironic that at a time when South African tennis has reached a 22-year high with this Open conquest the governing body for men’s world tennis, the ATP, have seen it fit to wipe the event off their 2012 calendar.
It is a devastating blow to South Africa’s ongoing efforts to promote the game which for many years now has battled the odds.
South African tennis will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to regain a slot on the world tour in the future. It will help greatly if the ATP will acknowledge that they have a roll to play in Africa.

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