NEW DIMENSION OF NETBALL FOR SPAR PROTEAS

Johannesburg, South Africa – In a conference call on Thursday, SPAR Proteas coach Elize Kotze described the team’s experience of the Quad Series as a ‘new dimension of netball.’ Having played a total of five matches, all ending in defeat, Kotze said that their eyes had been opened, and that the South African team members would never look at netball in the same way again.

“Netball is in a different dimension in these top three countries” said Kotze, “everything is faster and stronger, and we can no longer look at ourselves in the same light.” Kotze described that despite having had a very good year of netball, winning a test match against Jamaica, defeating Northern Ireland in the SPAR Challenge and winning the Diamond Challenge, playing lower ranked countries may have instilled a bit of false confidence in the South African side. “We think that we do well playing lower ranked countries, but coming here we have realised the difference between amateur and professional netball, and it has made the players more driven and focused.”

“This experience has been an incredible learning curve for me as a coach, as well as for our players” said Kotze “You have to fight with everything you have on court. Not winning any matches thus far has been tough, but it has taught us to learn from our mistakes, adapt basic skills, improve counter movements and to be less predictable.”

The Proteas last match of the series pins them up against third-ranked England on Thursday 1 November. After some intense analysis of their opponents, Kotze says that her team is ready to prove themselves in their final match. “This match will indicate the growth in the team. We only lost by 9 goals in our previous game, and this is the match that we want to remember the tour by.”

The SPAR Proteas vs. England match with be broadcast live on Supersport 6 / HD 4 at 06h55 on Thursday 1 November.


SILVER FERNS BEAT SOUTH AFRICA 63-24.

Johannesburg, South Africa – New Zealand gave the Spar South African team a netball lesson in their Quad Series match in Tauranga on Sunday morning, beating the Proteas by 63 goals to 24.
The Silver Ferns started off at a hectic pace, scoring nine goals before the South Africans were able to get onto the scoreboard. Goalshooter Chrisna Bootha, who appeared to be struggling, called for a time-out, and was substituted by Melissa Myburgh, who scored South Africa’s first goal after six and a half minutes. The Proteas, who were having difficulty getting the ball into their circle, managed another four goals in the quarter to trail the Silver Ferns 18-5.

From the second quarter, the Proteas began playing more confidently. Bongiwe Msomi, playing at centre, had an excellent game, achieving some outstanding turnovers. Bootha returned, once again showing the steadiness for which she has become known. At the other end of the court, defender Vanes-Mari du Toit showed that she is improving steadily with every game she plays.

The Silver Ferns, who lost heavily to arch rivals Australia a week ago, used all 12 players as they tried out various combinations in preparation for their match against the world champions on Thursday, and the Proteas were able to take some advantage of the situation. Even so, New Zealand had the upper hand throughout the match, restricting South Africa to just five goals in each of the first three quarters. New Zealand led 31-10 at halftime, and 47-15 after the third quarter.

One of the big differences between the two sides was the accuracy of the shooters – former Protea Irene van Dyk succeeded with 21 out of 23 shots at goal, and Cathrine Latu had a hundred percent success rate, scoring 27 goals, while the South African success rate was much lower. Myburgh succeeded with four out of six attempts, Bootha with 15 from 24 and Maryke Holtzhausen five from 11 attempts.
But Captain Amanda Mynhardt believed there were positives to be taken from the match, in spite of the heavy defeat.
“There were times when we were able to get through their defence, and we are learning all the time by playing against the best teams in the world,” she said.
“We want to put everything we’ve learnt into a great performance against England on Thursday.”


ITF TITLE HANDMADE FOR ZIM’S BHUNU

Stellenbosch, South Africa – You’ve got to hand it to Zimbabwe’s Valeria Bhunu, the girls’ under-18 winner at the SAS Junior ITF 2 tournament in Stellenbosch, on Friday.

The unseeded Marc Van Der Merwe overcame stubborn resistance from Kris Van Wyk in the boys under 18 final, which he won 4-6 6-4 6-1.

The fourth seeded Valeria Bhunu won the girls under 18 final over the third seeded Jessica. Valeria won 7-5 6-2

THE WINNERS: Marc Van Der Merwe and Valeria Bhunu were the star performers at Stellenbosch where they lifted the boys and girls under 18 titles respectively.

Valeria Bhunu of Zimbabwe overcame stubborn resistance from Jessica Simpson in the girls’ finals. However the forth seeded Bhunu held her nerve to run out a 7-5 6-2 win against the 3rd seeded Simpson as Stellenbosch on Friday.

The US bound Marc Van Der Merwe was fully extended in his thrilling 3 setter by Kris Van Wyk before he ended up the boys under 18 finals 4-6 6-4 6-1


Three months go Bhunu required surgery to repair damage to her hand and she only returned to competitive tennis last week.
On Friday, the fourth seeded Bhunu won the rain-interrupted final 7-5 6-2 after overcoming stubborn resistance from the third-seeded South African Jessica Simpson, who has been one of the stand-out performers at the two international events in Stellenbosch, over the past fortnight.
Simpson’s won the under-18 SAS Junior ITF 1 title last week, while Bhunu reached the semis and both players are presently grooming their game at the Growing Sports Foundation Academy in Cape Town.
Bhunu went into the Friday’s final on the back of an authoritative 6-1 6-2 win over the top seed Janet Koch on Thursday, and she showed the same of composure against Simpson, who battled to get game on track for most of the way.
Simpson battled with her serve in the second set and it clearly affected the rest of her game too. Bhunu, on the other hand, kept her game tight and varied her play. At times she cleverly slowed down the game to deny Simpson the pace which her solid groundstrokes seem to thrive on.
Bhunu’s hand appears to have healed well, and to date there are no sign of ill-effects.
There was glory for South Africa in the girls doubles final after the second-seed pairing of Janet Koch and Amy Olivier defeated the top seeds Nicole Dzenga of Zimbabwe and Elizabeth Kapari of Ghana 4-6 7-6 (4) (10-5).
The Zimbabwe - Ghana combination was particularly strong in their play at the net, but as the match wore on they were not able to group points often enough to make it count on the score sheet.
Collectively Dzenga and Kapari, clearly enjoying their final appearance, were overly aggressive at times, and that caused them to make several unforced errors, while the SA duo absorbed their pressure to round off a matchwinning performance in the deciding championship tiebreak.
The boys final was also affected by rain and after it got under way on the venue’s showcourt outdoors, it was moved indoors later.
Marc van der Merwe displayed great temperament as he survived a closely-fought three setter against Kris Van Wyk 4-6 6-4 6-1.
On Thursday, the two unseeded players bundled the top seeds out in the semifinals, and on Friday, there was little to choose between the two on court.
Van Wyk was the aggressor and he took the game to his opponents with solid drives down both sides, but in the end fortune did not favour the brave.
In the third, tried as he might, Van Wyk made too many unforced errors while Van der Merwe was solid and focused.
The result was also a personal triumph for Van Wyk as he had taken a break from competitive for the greater part of the year to concentrate on his studies. He leaves for the US in January to take up a scholarship at Vanderbilt University, in Tennessee.
The boys’ doubles top seeds, twin brothers Francois and Okkie Kellerman finished the week on a high with a 6-2 3-6 (10-5) win over South Africa’s Chevaan Davids and Great Britain’s Sam Rice.
The 15-year-old Kellermans left soon afterwards for Namibia where they will compete in two international events, which have ITF points on offer.


MINISTER MBALULA SERVES AN ACE TO TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA IN SOWETO

MINISTER MBALULA SERVES AN ACE TO TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA IN SOWETO
• Government and Tennis South Africa team up to bring back the Soweto Open
• International tennis returns to Soweto

Johannesburg, South Africa – Minister Fikile Mbalula and Tennis South Africa partner together to revive the Soweto Open tournament that will commence in 2013. Indeed, the dream of former tennis legend Arthur Ashe continues 20 years after his death with the announcement that we shall make today for return of the Soweto Open to its founding grounds of the South Western Townships’, in Jabavu, the venue that that bears of its founding father, Arthur Ashe.

On the ball” are Government and Tennis South Africa in partnering to launch the 2013 Soweto Open in Johannesburg on Friday. Pictured at the launch are from left Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr. Gert Oosthuizen, Minister of Sport and Recreation Mr. Fikilie Mbalula, President of Tennis South Africa Mr. Wire Zondi and Mr. Ian Smith, CEO of Tennis South Africa. The launch announced the return of the Soweto Open to The Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Jabavu Soweto in April 2013.

In celebration of the launch of the 2013 Soweto Open Sport and Recreation South Africa handed over tennis equipment to learners from schools in Soweto and Rivonia in Johannesburg on Friday. Pictured with the learners are from left: Tennis SA CEO Ian Smith, Min.Fikile Mbalula, Tennis SA President, Wire Zondi, Director General of SRSA, Alec Moemi and Deputy Minister Gert Oosthuizen.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


The tournament which was launched in 2009 and played successfully until 2011 was dropped from the international calendar this year due to the challenges of international economic meltdown and the global financial crisis. The Ministry of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) is pleased that Tennis South Africa (TSA) approached department of sport and recreation South Africa with an aim to work with us to secure the return of the popular tournament to the grounds of our townships.

SRSA and TSA, then, entered into a partnership towards securing the return of this prestigious and premier event to Soweto in 2013.

The Soweto Men’s Open and Soweto Women’s Open will be played at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in April next year and SRSA together with TSA are pleased to announce that negotiations with the ATP and ITF are at advanced stages for this venture; this will include the actual confirmation of the prize money to be awarded to the winners.

“It is our belief that the SOWETO OPEN in 2013 will attract more spectators than ever before and will continue to expose many young South Africans, developing players and emerging professionals from the disadvantaged and neglected communities whilst at the same time uplifting the standard of living and of tennis in these areas”; said the Minister of Sport, Mr Fikile Mbalula.

Already there has been great interest from international players who have confirmed their interest in participating in the tournament which has had champions to the likes of Frenchman Fabrice Santoro (2009), flamboyant Jamaican Dustin Brown (2010) and South African Davis Cup star Izak Van Der Merwe (2011). In the woman, top 100 players Anastasija Seastova of Latvia (2009), and Russians Nina Bratchikova (2010) and Valeri Savinykh (2011) are the former champions.

Following his controversial decision to play in the SA Open at Ellis Park in the 1970s, Ashe sponsored the tennis complex in Soweto in order to assist budding young Black tennis players. However, over the years the complex has been in decline despite many attempts to revitalise it. Finally, after years of effort, a joint venture between the Tennis South Africa (TSA) and the City of Johannesburg saw Johannesburg’s Community Development Directorate fork out R9-million to refurbish the complex. It has a seating capacity of 1000, with 16 additional courts.

In 2007 Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Arthur’s widow, officially opened the first phase of the renovations. There were eight courts at that stage but for the Soweto events, the newly rebuilt match court in front of the clubhouse was used as the main court. The seating capacity of the temporary stadium was 800 with a further 200 to 300 seats available on the clubhouse pavilion, making a 1300 seat capacity event.

The second phase saw a partnership between the Gauteng Government, City of Joburg and Lotto build an additional eight courts. Five of these courts are being resurfaced for the events, making a total of six courts in use for the tournament. Both tournaments will comprise a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Both events will be preceded by a qualifying tournament.

“Soweto has been a major part of moulding history in South Africa and to be able to continue bringing top-class tennis to a stadium conceived by a visionary like Arthur Ashe, is a wonderful honour for TSA,’’ said President of Tennis SA Mr Bongani Zondi.

Soweto is the largest and most populous of all townships in South Africa and is situated just 25km southwest of Johannesburg. Soweto has a lot to offer in the history of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid. Vilakazi Street in Orlando West has a unique honour in that it is only street in the world that was once home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Mpilo Desmond Tutu once lived in this very street and today Mandela’s former home is a national museum.

The Nelson Mandela Museum offers the rare opportunity of learning about Mandela the family man, to see his bedroom and to see the very furniture he used back in the 50s when he shared this home with his former wife Winnie Mandela.

A memorial to the valour of Soweto’s youth, the Hector Pieterson Heritage Museum, stands a short distance away from Mandela’s house. Experienced curators such as Antoinette Sithole, a survivor of the 1976 uprising take visitors down memory lane on guided tours of the museum. Antoinette is the sister to Hector Pieterson who appears on the famous photograph that has come to symbolise the uprising, and she has a first-hand account of that day’s events.

The Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Rockville offers insights into countless protest meetings and funeral services of activists that characterised life in Soweto after the 1976 uprising.

Please contact Justin de Allende, 082 699 2253 Department of Sport and Bruce Davidson, TSA 083 2122401 for more information.


TOP SEEDS REDUCED TO ALSO-RANS AT STELLENBOSCH

Stellenbosch, South Africa – The top seeds at the SAS Junior ITF 2 tournament in Stellenbosch were unceremoniously reduced to also-rans after unseeded players scored upset semi-final wins on Thursday.

VAN HITS STOP SPEED … Kris van Wyk toppled the boys top seed Francois Kellerman on Thursday when chalked up a surprise straight-sets 6-4 6-0 win at Stellenbosch.
Pictures by: Thys Lombard

MAKING HIS MARC … The unseeded Marc van der Merwe produced one of the two upsets in the boys draw on Thursday when he shocked the second seed Okkie Kellerman on his way to a 6-4 6-3 semi-final win.


The boys’ top seed Francois Kellerman fell to Kris van Wyk who continued to show progress on his way to a straight-sets 6-4 6-0 win. Van Wyk was side-lined for eight months this year because of a back injury but a rehabilitation programme, coupled with change of coach, has clearly put him on the road to full recovery.

Before his injury, Van Wyk’s tournament experience was restricted largely to the South African circuit and his best results were semi-final and final slots. He is now within a whisker of a first 2012 title should he carry his form into Friday’s final against another unseeded player, Marc van der Merwe, who produced the other upset in the boys draw on Thursday.
Van der Merwe disposed of the second seed Okkie Kellerman with a workmanlike performance for a 6-4 6-3 semifinal win.

The girls top seed Janet Koch was also in for a rude shock in her semifinal clash against Zimbabwe’s Valeria Bhunu, the 6-1 6-2 winner.

Last week Koch defeated Bhunu but the Zimbabwean managed to turn the tables on her this time with a “patient” performance. Valeria has been battling with the mental side of things, which has not always kept pace with her basic game, and on Thursday she showed what could be achieved if she played to her full potential.

Kock did try to upset Bhunu’s composure by varying her game somewhat but on the day it was not enough to wrest the initiative from her opponent.
Bhunu will play her academy stablemate Jessica Simpson in the final.
The third-seeded Simpson disposed of the second seed, Elizabeth Kapari of Ghana, 6-0 6-4 to reach the final for second successive week.

The two international tournaments which Stellenbosch have hosted over the past fortnight has been hailed “well-run” events and one of the key figures behind the scenes is South African Pieter Hoeksma, a highly qualified tennis official who has worked the Aussie Open, Wimbledon and the Olympic Games this year as line judge. Presently, he is the tournament referee in Stellenbosch and has done a sterling job ensuring the day-to-day smooth-running of the event.

Hoeksma is pleased with the way the SA juniors are acquitting themselves off and on the court. “I have noticed that our juniors have sound court manners and adhere to discipline around the court,” said Hoeksma. “It’s very important for their development that they remain disciplined so that they give themselves every chance of growing their game. I’ve been impressed by their attitude and one hope’s that they keep it that way as they go through the ranks.
“My biggest regret is that our juniors are not playing enough tennis and that’s main because there’s a massive lack of sponsorship to stage tournaments, not only in South Africa, but also in the Southern African region.”
The finals will be played the Maties courts on Friday, and if it rains, play will be moved to an indoor venue.

Friday’s finals programme
(Players RSA, unless stated)

Boys under 18 singles final: Kris Van Wyk vs Marc Van Der Merwe
Doubles final: 1-Francois Kellerman / Okkie Kellerman vs Chevaan Davids / Sam Rice (GBR)
Girls under 18 singles final: 4-Valeria Bhunu (Zim) vs 3-Jessica Simpson
Doubles final: 2-Janet Koch / Amy Olivier vs 1-Nicole Dzenga (Zim)/Elizabeth Kapari (Gha)


SPAR PROTEAS FIGHT ON IN QUAD SERIES

Johannesburg, South Africa – The SPAR Proteas put up a courageous effort against world number one ranked Australia in Thursday’s match of the Quad Series, played in Wellington, New Zealand. Going into the match with a focus on ball control, and patience, the South African side fought hard to keep up with the Diamonds, and showed improvement in the final score of 36-68.

SPAR Proteas Shooter Chrisna Bootha and Australian Diamonds defender Bianca Chatfield contest for the ball in the fourth Test of the 2012 Quad-Series at TSB Bank Arena, Wellington

SPAR Proteas Goal Keeper Amanda Mynhardt in defence mode against Australian Diamonds shooter Caitlin Bassett in the fourth Test of the 2012 Quad-Series at TSB Bank Arena, Wellington.
Pictures by: Michael Bradley/mbphoto


In probably one of their best quarters of the series, the SPAR Proteas put on a great show for the first 15 minutes of their game against the Diamonds. Working against Australia’s sticky man-on-man defence, they were slow to start, but the defence tactic of putting two defenders on lanky Australian Goal Shooter Caitlin Basset seemed to throw the girls in yellow. It wasn’t long before the Proteas had equalised at four all, and within the first five minutes had taken the lead 5-4. The South African team exhibited patience and calculation of their plays, waiting for opportunities on court.

However, after a short break called by Australia, the Diamonds came back with a vengeance and quickly turned the score around. Upping the intensity and putting high pressure on the South African defence, Amanda Mynhardt, Karla Mostert and Zanele Mdodana had to battle it out on court. With a number of high balls intercepted by Australia, and South Africa struggling to feed into their goal circle due to the grip-like defence of the Diamonds, the Proteas just couldn’t keep up, and the whistle blew with a first quarter score of 19-9.

Showing her confidence in the depth of her team, Coach Elize Kotze benched both her Captain and Vice-Captain for the second quarter, bringing on Thuli Qegu in the Wing Defence post and Vanes-Mari du Toit in the Goal Keeper position, lessening the height gap against the 192cm tall Basset. But South Africa seemed less patient this round as they struggled with the execution of some of their plays. Chrisna Bootha was faced with a hard time as the Diamonds defence was all over her in the goal circle, but still managed to score 9 goals to Australia’s 14, ending the quarter 18-33.

Despite trailing with a 20 goal difference for the majority of the third quarter, the South African side kept up their consistency. The Protea defence was on top form, as both Karla Mostert and Vanes-Mari du Toit made a number of brilliant intercepts. South Africa managed to maintain their ball possession, but were let down by not capitalising on it. Once again Chrisna Bootha was given very little space to move in her goal circle, but managed to dance around the Diamond’s defence to score the Proteas another 10 goals to Australia’s 15. “We’ve been doing a lot of under-pressure training, which has helped a lot” said Bootha after the game. “The Australian defenders change the timing of their jumps, which is something that I need to get used to. “You need to be able to shoot under any circumstance, which is something that we need to practise more.”

Australian Diamond Goal Shooter Caitlin Thwaites, who made her debut in the third quarter of today’s match, had a phenomenal game, and her 100% shooting average very much contributed to the Diamond’s pulling away by a further 20 goals in the last quarter. However, South Africa refused to be rattled and continued to fight on admirably. Bongiwe Msomi and Chrisna Bootha maintained their good connection, and the Proteas persisted in their defence, ending the game with a score of 36-68.

“We wanted to keep the goal difference under 20 goals” said SPAR Proteas Captain Amanda Mynhardt after the match, “but we showed some good progress on court today. “We could have capitalised more on our turnovers, but defensively we did well with a lot of good balls and intercepts. We are learning all the time, and so have to be proud of our performance. We’re definitely going to try and win against England.”

The SPAR Proteas play their next game against the Silver Ferns on home turf on Sunday 28 October, at the TECT Arena in Tauranga, New Zealand.


KELLERMAN WIELDS THE WHITEWASH BRUSH TO GOOD EFFECT

Stellenbosch, South Africa – The second seeded Okkie Kellerman produced a polished performance on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of the SAS Junior ITF 2 tournament in Stellenbosch.
Kellerman whitewashed Lloyd Harris 6-0 6-0 and even though the final scoreline does not reflect as much, he did work hard in this quarterfinal clash.

Second seeded Okkie Kellerman produced a polished performance defeating Lloyd Harris 6-0 6-0 today (Wednesday) to advance to the semifinals of the SAS Junior ITF 2 tournament in Stellenbosch.
Picture by: Thys Lombard


From the outset, the 15-year-old Kellerman remained focused and kept up the pressure even though he enjoyed a steady stream of service breaks. He was effective on with serve and equally impressive with returns and never allowed his opponent back in the game.
Later in the day, Kellerman joined forces with his twin brother Francois in the doubles competition. They breezed through the first set against Yaseen Ibrahim and Christiaan La Grange but came unstuck in the next. Eventually they emerged victors in the tiebreak for a 6-1 4-6 (10-1) quarterfinal win.
Francois Kellerman, the boys first seed, didn’t have things all his own way in his singles match against Nigeria’s Joseph Ubon, the sixth seed. He dropped the first set but staged a gallant fight-back to clinch the match 5-7 6-3 6-1.
On the neighbouring court, Marc van der Merwe made his break from schoolwork count with a 6-3 6-0 win over fellow South African Chevaan Davids.
Due to schooling concerns Van der Merwe has been a noticeable absentee at national tournaments this year but he showed little signs of rust as he set about working his way into Thursday’s semifinals.
Next year Van der Merwe will be taking up a full scholarship at the Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee and he’s looking to break away from the local scene on a high note.
In Thursday’s semis Van der Merwe will try to cut down on the number of unforced errors that creeps into his game every now and again.
In the girls section, the top-seeded Janet Koch continued her winning streak with a 6-1 6-2 win over the eighth seed Louise-Mare Botes in a quarterfinal match.
Koch built her game round a reliable serve and her solid defence did not give her opponent a chance to group points to make an impression on the score line.
Koch is hoping to step up her game on Thursday when she hopes to be more aggressive in attacking plays.


FOREIGN LEGIONSTAKE ITF TITLE CLAIMS AT STELLENBOSCH

Stellenbosch, South Africa. – The ‘foreign legion’ came to the fore with Ghana’s Elizabeth Kapari and Nigeria’s Joseph Ubon leading the way on two day of the SAS Junior ITF 2 tournament at Stellenbosch on Tuesday.
The second seeded Kapari, who has been based at the ITF/TSA Training Centre in Pretoria for the past four years, looked in control from the outset on her way to a 6-2 6-4 over South Africa’s Morgan Dickason.

Ghana’s Elizabeth Kapari has waged a strong bid to win her first international title at Stellenbosch where she won a second round match 6-2 6-4 against South Africa’s Morgan Dickason on Tuesday.
Picture by: Thys Lombard


She showed she can be an aggressive baseliner especially when her serve on song but on occasions she was happy to “mix it” up.
Kapari was a semi-finalist in last week’s event and she’s still in the hunt for a first 2012 title after several late-round exits in Egypt, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
The sixth seeded Ubon was made to work hard for his 2-6 6-3 6-4 win over South Africa’s Rhys Milne.
The Nigerian has a useful array of shots but he’s at a stage where he to ensure that his shot-selection is spot on otherwise he’ll be made to work much harder than is necessary.
He’s also based in Pretoria and he’s been there since June and has found the experience of travelling to many tournaments very challenging.
His game is likely to benefit a great deal from his stay at the ITF/TSA Training Centre more will be heard of Ubon in the future.
Earlier Ubon played in Egypt, Togo, Ghana and Senegal.
Two seeds in the boys draw fell by the wayside after straight-set defeats on Tuesday. First Kris Van Wyk upended the seeded Phillip Johan De Bruyn 6-1 6-0 and later the fifth seeded Maxime De Clippel crashed to Lloyd Harris RSA, a 7-6(5) 6-4 victor.
Kapari and Ubon are part of the 4-man ITF Training Centre contingent that playing the Stellenbosch Grade 5 event and coach Rosemary Owino, who hails from Nairobi, Kenya, is supervising the group.
Owina has been highly impressed by the standard of organisation at Stellenbosch event, and said the players were generally well treated.
“I’ve been to junior tournaments around the world and here the players are getting a good deal compared to their lot in Europe for example,” said Owino. “The accommodation and food has been excellent and overall the juniors have every chance of doing well.
“Some the kids here should be playing in higher grade events while others are doing okay for a grade 5 tournament. Ideally, I’d like to see grade 3 events in this country because it serves as a good indication of who can be really good players.
“I would like to see the ITF sanction more tournaments in African countries although I know finance is an overriding factor.
“The main thing is that countries are awarded these events, and if they can’t manage to stage, a neighbouring country could step in to save the event if they can raise the necessary sponsorship.
“Until Africa stages more events, there is little chance of increasing the flow of players on to the world circuits.”


COACH HAS COMBINATIONS SET FOR QUAD SERIES

Johannesburg, South Africa – As the SPAR Proteas jet off to Wellington for the New Zealand leg of the Quad Series, Coach Elize Kotze is feeling confident of her players’ on court combinations.

“The progress that the team has made is great. Players are growing not only as individuals, but also as a team” said Kotze. “They really stepped up against England in ball control and ball possession. However, there are some basic things that we need to work on. We need to cut down on unforced errors, bad judgements and ball placement.”

When questioned about individual players that are shining on court, a number of names were mentioned. “Chrisna Bootha had a fantastic match against England, and Bongi Msomi is such a stronghold in the midfield. Her workload is unbelievable.” Kotze said that she had settled the attack combination in Msomi, Maryka Holtzhausen and Nadia Uys. “Our new cap [Nadia Uys] has really been thrown in the deep end, but she is doing brilliantly. Bootha can only perform if she has the right people around her.”

“We are also blessed with four very prominent and gifted defenders” said Kotze, “but it’s all about combinations. “Defence success is measured by the unit’s work rate and the support that the players have in each other. “I’m really proud of what all the players take from every game, every time they get on court I see their maturity grow.”

Kotze and assistant coach Lana Krige have analysed footage of the SPAR Proteas last match against the Australian Diamonds in preparation for their next match on Thursday in Wellington. “The Australians are moving the ball too quickly and sharply, not even New Zealand could keep up in their defence. “We’re going to focus on more man-to-man defence, to restrict their movement and pace. We need to be able to keep the ball in hand, and move it to our goal circle with care, there won’t be space for any high risk balls.”

The SPAR Proteas take on the Australian Diamonds on Thursday 25th October, at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington, New Zealand. The match will be broadcast live on Supersport2/HD4 at 06h55 South African time.


SPAR PROTEAS SHOW GROWTH IN ENGLAND BATTLE

Johannesburg South Africa – After just three games, the growth in the SPAR South African National Netball team is evident. Going into the Quad Series knowing it was going to be tough, the South African side knew that they were going to have to pull out all the stops if they wanted to play competitively against the top three netball nations in the world. Playing England at the Allphones Arena in Sydney on Sunday, they did just that.

Starting with a bang, the first quarter showed that the SPAR Proteas had their eyes on the prize, and that they would not be intimidated by the England team. Although not first to score, the Proteas were quick to take the lead, and started to find the gaps in the England attack. England recovered quickly and the score evened out a few times. Once again, the ‘Tiger’ of the SA side, Bongi Msomi, was a critical player in driving the ball down the court. Hitting double figures for the first time in a quarter of the Quad Series, the SPAR Proteas finished just one goal behind England at the end of the first quarter, 12-13.

An explosive second quarter showed the Proteas in their prime, as they dominated ball possession and ran away with the lead. Having Amanda Mynhardt back on court (who was recovering from a thigh injury) seemed to bring confidence to the defence of the South African side, and the combination of Bongiwe Msomi, Maryka Holtzhausen and Nadia Uys on attack enabled the Proteas to control the pace for much of the second quarter. Chrisna Bootha had a fantastic game, and was a critical part to the lead of the SA side, shooting with a 95% accuracy. Although having a five goal lead at one stage of the second quarter, the England team fought back hard and lessened the gap, ending behind South Africa at half time 25- 27.

After a bit of a talking to by their coach Anna Mayes at half time, England upped their intensity in the third quarter and overtook South Africa by 3 goals in the first 4 minutes. However, it didn’t take long for the SPAR Proteas to equally up their game, and even out the score to 36-all with just over 5 minutes left of that quarter. The SPAR Proteas were playing faster down their attack line, and well on the defensive, but the experience of the England side started to show when Holtzhausen was left baffled by a very quick defensive back play on her shot at goal, and the stealth of the England side in getting the ball into their goal circle. England snuck ahead with a final third quarter score of 44-39.

England managed to maintain their 5 goal lead for much of the last quarter, as the SPAR Proteas battled on. Not willing to give up, the South African side continued to fight up until the last minute, but the England side were just too strong. South Africa lost by 9 goals, and the game ended with an England win of 62-53.

“We had a great first half” said SPAR Proteas Captain Amanda Mynhardt after the game. “There was some really good play on court today. Our ball possession was good and we were a lot more patient, which was great to see. The team has really grown and we will continue to grow. The Quad Series is the perfect opportunity to concentrate on our growth as individual players and as a team.”

One player in particular who has shown a lot of growth is South African Goal Shooter Chrisna Bootha, who achieved her best goal scoring average to date in the match today, and is the highest scoring individual in the Quad Series thus far. “She has matured fantastically” said Coach Elize Kotze when asked to comment on Bootha during the game, “She has a lot of potential, and is one of the strongholds in our team.”

The SPAR Proteas take on the Australian Diamonds in their next match on Thursday 25 October in Wellington New Zealand.


BOTHA, SIMPSON CONQUER STELLENBOSCH

Stellenbosch, South Africa. – Trent Botha and Jessica Simpson were the victors on finals day at Stellenbosch where the SAS Junior ITF 1 tournament came to an end on Saturday.

THE WINNERS: Trent Botha and Jessica Simpson were the star performers at Stellenbosch where they lifted the boys and girls under 18 titles respectively in the rain-interrupted finals which were completed on Saturday morning.
Pictures by: Thys Lombard

COCK-A-HOOP: The third seeded Jessica Simpson won the girls under 18 final in fine style with a straight sets win over the top seeded Janet Koch. Simpson won 6-1 6-1.

TREND-SETTER: The unseeded Trent Botha overcame stubborn resistance from the third seeded Christiaan van der Burgh and forced into an extra set in the rain-interrupted boys under 18 final, which he won 6-2 2-6 6-2.


Inclement weather on Friday had forced the boys and girls under 18 finalists to return to the tournament venue on Saturday, and this time the matches were concluded without further interruption.
The 17-year-old Simpson emerged as the first winner of the day after she disposed of the challenge of the top-seeded Janet Koch 6-1 6-1.
When play was aborted on Friday, Simpson had already clinched the first set 6-1 and on Saturday she won by the same margin, although she had a different challenge to contend with.
On Saturday Koch changed her game plan and opted to attack Simpson’s back hand more often than not, but again she found Simpson up to the task.
As the week wore on this Simpson’s game became progressively sound and on Saturday she bagged the title without surrendering a set in the tournament.
Simpson’s serve also showed an improvement on Saturday, and she the second set wound its course she became increasingly aggressive.
Her all-court performances this week showed that Simpson had overcome a knee injury which side-lined her for much of last year, and now she’s headed for WTA events later this year in Kenya and Potchefstroom.
Anthony Harris, Simpson’s coach said afterwards that his charge had managed to eliminate unforced errors from her game. “She seemed to sum up the match situations well, and her shot selection was spot-on,” said Harris. “She is continuing to serve well and she’s generally showing lots of positive attitude in the way she plays.
“She just needs to step up her game with each tournament, and she’s in for some testing times later this year.”
Simpson was back on court soon afterwards for the doubles final in which she was paired by Emmanuelle de Beer of Mauritius.
She again tasted success as together with De Beer they defeated the top seeds, Nicole Dzenga of Zimbabwe and Elizabeth Kapari of Ghana 7-6(4) 6-1.
The Simpson/De Beer pairing were forced to work hard for their 7-6 first set win but in they came into their own in the next as Dzenga and Kapari, who are both from the ITF/TSA Training Centre in Pretoria, failed to halt their opponents’ victory charge.
In the boys final, the unseeded Trent Botha arrived with a one-set advantage following a sound start to his match against third seeded Christiaan van der Burgh on Friday.
However, Van der Burgh was a different proposition at the start on Saturday when he managed to bag the second set, and forced the match into an extra set.
By this time Botha managed to regain his composure and once he secured an initial service break he rounded off challenge with a comfortable 6-2 margin for a 6-2 2-6 6-2 triumph.
Van der Burgh returned for the doubles final and this time he tasted success, along with partner Jan-Willem Kleynhans.
As the second seeds, they were up against the highly promising 15-year-old twins Francois and Okkie Kellerman, the top seeds.
The contest was a real ding-dong battle and eventually it was decided by a tie-break after each team had won a set.
The Kellermans clinched the first set with a 7-4 tiebreak and their opponents stormed back to clinch the next set 6-2, forcing the contest into a championship tie-break which went Kleynhans/Christiaan van der Burgh’s via a 12-10 score line.


SPOILING CAPE RAINS BRING FINALS TOHALT

Stellenbosch, South Africa. – The spoiling Cape rains halted the victory bids on finals day at the SAS Junior ITF 1 Junior Grade 5 tournament at the Maties Tennis Club, in Stellenbosch, on Friday, when play had to be aborted.

Rain literally brought play at Stellenbosch to a standstill judging by the crestfallen expressions of the finalists Okkie and Francois Kellerman (boys doubles) and Jessica Simpson (girls singles), who will have to return on Saturday to determine their fate. From L-R: Francois Kellerman, Okkie Kellerman and Jessica Simpson.
Picture by: Le Roux Conradie


The championship rounds of the under-18 boys and girls got under way some four hours after schedule because of heavy early morning downpours and wet courts greeted players and spectators on arrival at the university venue.
Armed with squeegees and handheld leaf blowers campus workers managed to restore the two showpiece courts to a suitable playing condition and for just over an hour thereafter the finalists were playing their trade in all earnest.
But the rain struck again at which stage the unseeded Trent Botha was 6-2 1-0 head against the sole surviving boy’s seed Christiaan Van Der Burgh (3).
On the adjacent court, the third seeded Jessica Simpson had wrapped up the first set 6-1 in the girls final against top seed Janet Koch.
The finals action will resume, weather-permitting at 9am on Saturday morning, and thereafter the double finals for boys and girls will be played, but not before 10.30am.


ALL-SOUTH AFRICAN FINALS ON THE CARDS AT STELLENBOSCH

Stellenbosch, South Africa. – Christiaan van der Burgh, the only seed to reach the boys semifinal round, booked a place in the final with a workmanlike performance at the SAS Junior ITF 1 Junior Grade 5 tournament at the Maties Tennis Club, in Stellenbosch, on Thursday.

No 3 seed Jessica Simpson reached the girls final at the SAS ITF grade 5 event at Stellenbosch following a fine, solid performance in her 6-2 6-1 win over the second seeded Elizabeth Kapari of Ghana, in her semifinal clash. Simpson will now meet Janet Koch, the top seed, in the final on Friday.

The 18-year-old Paarl player, Christiaan van der Burgh, is the only seed to survive this week’s SAS ITF grade 5 event at Stellenbosch, and will play Trent Botha in Friday’s boys final.
Pictures Credit: Thys Lombard


The third seeded van der Burgh, who hails from Paarl, defeated Lloyd Harris 6-3 6-0 after an indifferent start which saw him drop serve.
However, Van der Burgh who has played international events in Kenya with great success earlier this year, overcame the early setback by playing solid tennis, as he managed a fair degree of consistency.
Harris, on the other hand, was not able to build on his early good fortune, allowing Van der Burgh to grow in confidence from the time he broke back early in the first set before he clinched it 6-3.
In the second set it was one-way traffic as Van der Burgh imposed himself on the match in emphatic fashion to run out a 6-3 6-0 winner.
Van der Burgh will meet Trent Botha in Friday’s final, after the latter saw off the claims of Zahnre de Kock with a 6-3 6-3 win in the other semifinal.
In the girls section, Cape Town’s Jessica Simpson oozed class as she brushed aside Ghana’s Elizabeth Kapari 6-2 6-1.
The third seeded Simpson played aggressively from behind a strong serve and she did well to eliminate unforced errors throughout the match.
Conditions were wind-free on Thursday and Simpson, who has campaigned in Kenya and Spain earlier this year, never looked to be trouble from the start.
Simpson will play the top seed Janet Koch who was forced into an extra set by the fourth seed, Zimbabwe’s Valeria Bhunu, but she came good in the end with a 7-5 5-7 6-4 triumph.
The former world No 1 doubles player and silver Olympic medallist Pietie Norval, runs the Kainos Tennis Academy which operates at the tournament venue, the University of Stellenbosch. There are 15 Kainos Academy players participating in the tournament, and Norval has been watching play on a daily basis with keen interest. The Kainos Tennis Academy is managed by Caylix Sport Management, and its general manager Le Roux Conradie is the tournament director.
“This is such a great opportunity for local players because they last had a chance like this five years ago,” said Norval. “There are children playing here who don’t have a chance to travel for international events, and probably will never play an international tournament again, especially if they don’t do well.
‘In these tournaments, very many new players get a chance to against other new players regardless of their age. As long as they are under-18 they can play.
“We see the boys top seeds are 15 year olds for example, although they are older boys in the field, may be even 18 year olds too.
“These grade 5 tournaments are excellent pointers for the future. Coaches and parents get a chance to gauge talent and potential with a fair degree of accuracy.
“If there are 14 or 15 year olds doing well here, then those are the players to watch in the future. They are the ones who have the potential to play on the world tours when they join the senior ranks.
“These grade 5 events are known to throw up a fair share on upsets because there are many unknown talents in the draw.”

ALL THE DAY FOUR RESULTS AT THE SAS JUNIOR ITF 1 TOURNAMENT
(RSA unless stated):
Boys under 18 singles, semifinals: Trent Botha, bt Zahnre De Kock 6-3 6-3, 3-Christiaan van der Burgh bt Lloyd Harris 6-3 6-0
Doubles, semifinals: 1-Francois Kellerman/Okkie Kellerman bt Anru Fourie/Kris Van Wyk 6-1 6-3, 2-Jan-Willem Kleynhans/Christiaan van der Burgh bt 4-Zahnre De Kock/Christiaan La Grange 6-4 6-2
Girls under 18 singles, semifinals: 1-Janet Koch bt 4-Valeria Bhunu (ZIM) 7-5 5-7 6-4, 3-Jessica Simpson bt 2-Elizabeth Kapari (GHA) 6-2 6-1
Doubles, semifinals: 1-Nicole Dzenga (ZIM)/Elizabeth Kapari (GHA) bt 3-Huibre-Mare Botes/Louise-Mare Botes 6-2 6-4, Emmanuelle De Beer (Mri)/Jessica Simpson bt 2-Janet Koch/Amy Olivier 6-2 7-5


DOUBLE TROUBLE STRIKES STELLENBOSCH TWINS

Stellenbosch, South Africa. - The top-seeded home boys, Francois (1) and Okkie (2) Kellerman, were bombed out of the SAS Junior ITF 1 tournament at the Maties Tennis Club, in Stellenbosch, by unseeded opponents on Wednesday.
The Stellenbsoch-based Kellerman twins had been looking good on the two previous days but they were blown away in windy conditions in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.

Lloyd Harris(White Cap)and Trent Botha(Red Shirt) turned the tournament on its head on Wednesday when they hung out the tops to dry at Stellebosch. Harris defeated top seeded Francois Kellerman (1), while Botha enjoyed a straight-sets win over Francois Kellerman (2).
Pictures Credit: Thys Lombard


Okkie came to grief against Lloyd Harris who has shown encouraging form in tournaments abroad in Egypt and Namibia, where he featured in several championship rounds. He disposed of Okkie 7-6(4) 7-5.
Harris, also Stellenbosch-based, has enjoyed career wins over Okkie before but he was particularly pleased with the victory because he’s been battling with injury in recent weeks. He played behind an impressive forehand, which he said worked well in the windy conditions.
Francois joined his brother on the list of also-rans when he went down to Trent Botha, a 7-6(5) 1-6 6-3 winner.
Another seeded player Nigeria’s Joseph Ubon, was also shown the exit door. He was beaten by South Africa’s Christiaan van der Burgh 6-3 6-3, and enjoys the distinction of being the only seeded player in the boys semifinal round.
The other seed to fall by the wayside was Phillip Johan De Bruyn, the No 4, who crashed out to Zahnre de Kock, who won 6-4 2-6 6-2.
Wednesday’s results will ensure that Thursday’s boys semifinals will be contested by an all-South African cast.
It won’t be the case in the girls section because fourth seeded Valeria Bhunu of Zimbabwe and second seeded Elizabeth Kapari of Ghana won their matches, to book their semifinal berths.
They will be joined by the SA duo of Janet Koch (1) and Jessica Simpson (3).
The Chief Executive Officer of the Stellenbosch Academy Sport (SAS), Rob Benadie, has been taking proceedings over the past three days, and as one of one of the sponsors, he’s been greatly encouraged by what he’s seen.
“We haven’t been able to stop the wind which has made conditions really difficult for the players, but I guess it’s part of the process of grooming your best juniors for higher honours,” said Benadie. “Our involvement with Tennis South Africa (TSA) is still very much part of a pilot project and once the tournaments are completed we’ll have a debrief to plot the way forward.
“I’ve had chats with coaches and parents, and they’ve been impressed by the organisation and facilities.
“We deal with various sports codes at our high performance academy and we have a number of elite athletes there but we’re in the business of sports development. We’re happy with our role in this tournament.
“The most pleasing aspect for me has been the feedback of the players, particularly because so many of them have played in Europe and elsewhere. They say our facilities compare favourably with some of the best they’ve across in other countries.
“The quarterfinals on Wednesday threw up some terrific battles and some of the seeds came to grief. It must be good for what we are doing here if lesser known players are making their mark. It will be wonderful if these events can unearth new talents because that will give us great pleasure.”


IMPRESSED BUT NOT SATISFIED

Johannesburg, South Africa – “Impressed but not satisfied” were the words SPAR Proteas coach Elize Kotze used to describe her team’s performance in their match against Australia on Wednesday.

Pitted against the world number ones in their second match of the Quad Series, the Proteas put up a gallant effort. Although there were a number of good intercepts and defensive plays from the South African side, especially in the first two quarters, the experience and skill of the Australian Diamonds led to a 63-31 defeat.

The Diamonds were quick off the mark, and were the first to score – from a South African centre – in the first quarter. Their fast, angular play seemed to throw the Proteas, as did their very close marking. However, South Africa put up a strong defence, and Karla Mostert made a number of great plays. Bongiwe Msomi’s speed in centre assisted the Proteas in driving the ball to their circle, but the South African side was just not strong enough, and they lost the first quarter 16-9.

The second quarter proved slightly more promising for the girls in green and gold, as they appeared to be more patient on court with their focus on ball possession and shorter, sharper passes. Chrisna Bootha was on form, getting in over 80% of her goal attempts, but the deadly combination of the Diamond’s goal shooter and goal attack in Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley, as well as the team’s strength in attack, left little room for the Proteas to lessen the goal difference by much. The half-time score was 31-18.

A number of changes were made after the half-time break, as Lisa Alexander changed up her goal circle combination, and Elize Kotze moved Bongi to her home base at Wing Attack, replacing Centre with Wing Defence player Thuli Qegu. An unusual move by Kotze, as this seemed to slow the South African side down quite significantly, but may have been an attempt to prevent the Proteas from their backwards play on attack which was something they were doing regularly - to their detriment. The Diamonds capitalised on the opportunity, and raced ahead by scoring another 14 goals to South Africa’s 8 in the third quarter.

The Proteas were the first to score in the last quarter, after a brilliant intercept by Goal Attack Maryka Holtzhausen, but the intercepts were far too infrequent to have any hold on the Diamonds. South Africa continued to lose the ball close to their goal circle, and the combinations on court were evidently lacking the speed and intensity of Erin Burger (who is still recovering from injury) and Bongiwe Msomi playing together. The Diamonds dominated this quarter, closing the match with a final score of 63-31.

SPAR Proteas coach, Elize Kotze, said that playing the world champions was going to be tough, but was pleased that her team was not intimidated. “They put up a good fight, and played a competitive game. This is all part of learning and progression.” “Now we know what combinations to use for our match against England.”

“That is why we are here” said Vice-Captain Zanele Mdodana, “To experience what it feels like to play against the best.” “We have to play against the best, if we want to be able to beat the best. We are learning so much, and are becoming better players with every game.”

The SPAR Proteas play against England, ranked third in the world, in Sydney on Sunday 21 October. The match will be broadcast on Supersport 6 at 07:05am South African time.


TWINS TOWER ABOVE TEST AT ITF TENNIS

Stellenbosch, South Africa. - The Kellerman twins, first seed Francois and second seed Okkie, are on a collision course at the SAS Junior ITF 1 tournament at the Maties Tennis Club, in Stellenbosch.
In Tuesday’s second-round play the brothers recorded convincing straight-set wins at the ITF Grade 5 event, and if they continue in this vein, they’ll meet in the final at the weekend.
The top-seeded Francois, a 15-year-old Durbanville learner, defeated Jan-Willem Kleynhans 6-3 6-2, after a shaky start. Francois said afterwards be battled to get his game going and was fortunate to keep his nose ahead in the first set.
“I just can’t put my finger on it but I didn’t play well. I just kept trying my best,” said Francois, who this year has reached the later rounds of events in Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Second seed Okkie had no problem getting into his stride from the outset against Gauteng’s Nikolas Pondicas on his way to a 6-2 6-3 triumph.
“I was pleased to get a high percentage of first-serves in and with my serve working well, I played as well as I could,” said Okkie. “My opponent is from up country and he wasn’t too familiar with conditions, and that gave me an advantage.”
The Kellerman twins are based at Stellenbosch where they attend the Kainos Tennis Academy and are looking to claim a first 2012 title after both were eliminated in the later rounds of several international events on the continent in the past few months.
One of the players to catch the eye in the girls division was Zimbabwean Valeria Bhunu, the fourth seed. She is well-known in South African junior tennis circles as she attended the ITF Academy in Pretoria for five years. She saw off SA’s Amy Olivier 6-3 6-1 with a strong performance in the closing set, and the result apart, the match marked a personal triumph for Bhunu.
This is the Harare-born Bhunu’s first tournament since she suffered a hand injury which needed an operation three months ago. Prior to that setback she played in events in Spain and Potchefstroom.
She’s looking to up her tempo as the week progresses in an effort to regain full match fitness by the time she plays Wednesday’s quarterfinal round.

Tennis South Africa (TSA) chief executive Ian Smith was an interested spectator at Stellenbosch where conditions were more welcoming as Monday’s spoiling wind had made way for a breeze.
Smith said the tournament was possible because of the backing of the investment company Remgro, along with Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS).
“We have an incredible situation here that our South African juniors have an opportunity to have a crack at international competition,” said Smith. “Normally, our juniors would have to travel to another country for a chance like this, but now with our partners Remgro and SAS we can have this platform where they can prove their worth against foreigners.
“It’s the sort of opportunity where our juniors get a taste of what it is like out there in international competition, and if they do well doors will open for more international exposure.
“This is the kind of platform that we strive to put in place in junior tennis in this country. This is where we want to go with our juniors because many of them have proved themselves in the country but it can be very different in international events.”


MOST SEEDS STAND FIRM IN WINDY CONDITIONS

Stellenbosch, Western Province – Most of the seeds came good on the opening day of the SAS Junior ITF 1 tournament at the Maties Tennis Club in Stellenbosch on Monday.
The Grade 5 ITF event is one of two at Stellenbosch over the next fortnight and several players from Europe, Africa and USA will be competing in what is essentially an entry-level world event for players under the age of 18 years.
The South African top-seeded players Francois Kellerman (boys) and Janet Koch won in straight sets to head up the local challenge. Kellerman saw off fellow South African Dimitri Stocker 6-1 6-0, while Koch accounted for Great Britain’s Louise Ronaldson 6-4 6-1.
Zahnre De Kock of SA brought up the first upset of the day when he toppled the eighth seed Victor Gurevich of the USA 6-0 6-1. Another seed to fall by the wayside in windy conditions in the famous university town was the fifth seeded South African Joshua Luck who was upended by Britain’s Sam Rice 6-4 7-6(5).
In the girls section, the rising Cape Town star, unseeded Mikayla Morkel-Brink produced a workmanlike performance on the back of a trusty forehand which paved the way for an upset win over the SA sixth seeded Huibre-Mare Botes 6-3 6-4. Morkel-Brink has been working hard on her game ahead of her departure to the USA where she will take up a tennis scholarship in January 2013.
The seventh seeded Gauteng player Sarah Sarjoo produced an allround solid performance against Britain’s Sian-Frances Crowder before running out a 6-2 6-2 winner.
Emmanuelle De Beer of Mauritius had her work cut out in the late match of the afternoon play before she emerged victorious. De Beer has had coaching a few weeks ago at the famous IMG Tennis Academy headed by Nick Bollettieri was forced into an extra set before signing off a 5-7 6-1 6-1 victor.


SPAR PROTEAS DOMINATED BY SILVER FERNS IN OPENING MATCH

14 October 2012
SPAR PROTEAS DOMINATED BY SILVER FERNS IN OPENING MATCH

Johannesburg, South Africa – South Africa had their game faces on as they took to the court in their opening match of the Quad Series on Sunday, but despite a good start, the SPAR Proteas couldn’t keep up with the experienced Silver Ferns, losing by 63 goals to 27.

The New Zealand Silver Ferns took an early lead in the first quarter, showing their dominance on the court. However, the SPAR Proteas kept their cool and had some very good plays on the defensive. Vanes-Mari du Toit was on top form making a number of crucial intercepts, and after lagging for the majority of the first quarter, the South African team managed to pull it back ending it 9-14.

It was a similar showing in the second quarter. The Silver Ferns pushed on as the SPAR Proteas struggled against the snappy, quick movement and passing of the Silver Ferns on attack. Bongiwe Msomi had a great game, finding the gaps on court, but the Proteas were conceding a lot of penalties. The half time score reflected the play as the Silver Ferns had doubled their score to put them at a 28-14 lead.

The match seemed to degenerate from this point as the Silver Ferns took ownership of the game. Playing out of their comfort zone, and starting to tire, the SPAR Proteas were unable to keep up in the third and final quarter. Not enough goals were moving to the South African goal circle, and the Silver Ferns won with a convincing victory.

“We knew this was going to be a tough match” said SPAR Proteas coach Elize Kotze after the game. “This has been a big learning curve for us.” “But we are going to take it one match at a time, and we now know that we have a lot of preparation to do before our next game.”

South Africa play world number one Australia in their next match on Wednesday 17 October.

Ends -


VAN ZYL ROMPS HOME

Johannesburg, South Africa - Irvette van Zyl (formerly Van Blerk) led from the start to win the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Old Parktonians in Randburg in 34.34 minutes on Sunday.

Irvette Van Zyl crossing the finish line at the Joburg leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge, at Old Parktonians on Sunday.

The top three runners at the Joburg leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge. From left: Diana-Lebo Phalula, Irvette Van Zyl; and Rutendo Nyahora.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


Van Zyl, who married fellow Olympian LJ van Zyl two weeks ago, said she had found the race quite hard going, so she was delighted with her first win of the 2012 Challenge season. “I decided that I was just going to run my own race,” she said. “I have just recovered from an Achilles tendon injury I picked up at the Olympic Games, so I was surprised when I went into the lead so early. I had planned to see where I was at the 5km mark, and then try to win it from there. But as it turned out, I was able to just keep running at my own pace and win.” She said she had been aiming for a 36 minute finish, so was very happy with her time.

“I’m getting bored with second place,” laughed Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahora, who finished second in 35.34 minutes. She also came second in the Port Elizabeth, Durban and Pretoria races. “I ran two hard races last weekend, so my legs were very stiff today,” she said.
Diana-Lebo Phalula, who finished third in 35.43 minutes said she was pleased with her position in the race, because she was not in very good shape at the moment. She said she intended to turn her attention to track racing in 2013, and was preparing to run the steeplechase.

Van Zyl’s victory means she has finished second in the Grand Prix, behind Rene Kalmer, who won the first four Challenge races. Kalmer was forced to withdraw from the Johannesburg SPAR Women’s Challenge at the last minute because she was suffering from achilles tendinosis (micro tears).

“I came from fourth to second, so I’m very pleased about that,” said Van Zyl, who won the Grand Prix in 2010 and 2011.

Evergreen Sonja Laxton completed her 76th Challenge race in 46.23 minutes to win the Grandmasters category and Olympic bronze medalist Bridgitte Hartley was part of a celebrity relay team that completed the Challenge, along with Nicole Flint and Romy Titus.

The designated race charity, Reach for Recovery, was presented with a cheque for R50 000. Reach for Recovery is a support group for women with breast cancer. A record number of 12 306 runners took part in the race, on a cool, overcast morning.


SPAR PROTEAS HAVE THEIR EYES ON THE PRIZE

Johannesburg, South Africa – In a recent training camp the SPAR Proteas were drilled on high intensity training sessions by coach Elize Kotze in order to ready themselves for their matches against top three netball countries Australia, New Zealand and England in the Quad Series starting on October 14.

The SPAR Proteas with Dr Calder and Christi Botha at their pre-departure training camp held this past weekend at the Pretoria HPC.
From left (bottom row): Thuli Qegu, Lindie Lombard, Bongiwe Msomi, Melissa Myburgh,Christi Botha
(2nd row): Dr Calder, Zanele Mdodana (vice-captain), Vanes-Mari du Toit, Aneret Viljoen, Maryka Holtzhausen.
(3rd row): Tsakane Mbewe and Chrsina Bootha
(Top row): Nadia Uys, Elize Kotze (coach) and Lana Krige (assistant coach).
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


In addition to being put through their paces on court, the team underwent some one-on-one coaching sessions with EyeGym specialist Dr Sherylle Calder and her assistant Christi Botha. “We commend the team on their progress” said Botha. “Having spent time with the squad this past weekend we were impressed with the progress that the players have made with regards to EyeGym and on field performance and skill level.
As a result we were able to move on to the next phase to do some position specific On-field coaching.” “We were impressed with the commitment and professionalism of the players and management and are excited to be involved with this team. We would like to thank SPAR for making it possible.”


KALMER AIMING FOR CLEAN SWEEP

Johannesburg, South Africa - The final SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge of the year will be run at Old Parktonians in Randburg on Sunday morning, and while Rene Kalmer may have won the Grand Prix already, she is determined to add the Johannesburg race to her list of victories.

Rene Kalmer crossing the finish line at the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge on August 25th.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


Kalmer clinched the 2012 SPAR Grand Prix title in Pretoria in August, where she won in a record time. After the Pretoria race, Kalmer had an impressive 110 points, nearly double those of her nearest rival, Portia Ngwenya, who has 56.

If Kalmer wins on Sunday, she will become the first person to achieve a clean sweep of all five Challenge races around the country. “There is always something to run for,” said Kalmer. “At the beginning of the year, when I heard that this year’s Grand Prix prize was a Nissan Micra, I got very excited and made up my mind that I was going to win that car. Years ago, I was in a race where the first prize was a car, and since then, it has been my ambition to win a car. Now I have done that, my next goal is to win all five SPAR races in the same year. No-one has ever done it before, and I want to achieve that.”

Kalmer, who led the South African charge in the World half marathon in Kavarna, Bulgaria last weekend, finishing 16th overall, can expect some fierce opposition at the Johannesburg Challenge. Defending Grand Prix champion Irvette van Blerk, who recently married fellow Olympian LJ van Zyl, will be trying to recover lost ground and register her first Challenge victory of the year, while Kalmer’s sister Christine is beginning to show signs of rivalling her sister as a major force in road running in South Africa.

Others who will be vying for a top spot in the race on Sunday include Zimbabwean Rutendo Nyahoro, Cape Town runners Zintle Xiniwe, Portia Ngwenya and former SPAR Grand Prix winner Poppy Mlambo. Veteran runner Sonja Laxton, who has the Grandmaster’s Grand Prix title sewn up, will be running her 76th Challenge race.


SHARAPOVA’S COACH TO CONDUCT CLINICS IN SA

Johannesburg, South Africa – Tennis South Africa (TSA) is taking a significant step forward in the search for the country’s next group of tennis superstars.

Thomas Högstedt well known coach of Maria Sharapova will be visiting South Africa in November to assist Tennis South Africa with talent identification and will be conducting specialized camp for our top juniors at SAS in Stellenbosch.


Thomas Högstedt, regarded as one of the best coaches in the world, will be the guest of TSA and industry giants Remgro and will conduct a specialised training camp in Stellenbosch for Under-12 and Under-14 boys and girls, from November 6 to 11.
TSA will invite 20 under 12 and 14 boys and girls to attend the camp.
As a player, Högstedt won the Junior Boys title at the 1981 US Open and during his playing career had victories over fellow swede Mats Wilander, French Open champion Andres Gomez and Swiss player Jacob Hlasek, a regular visitor to South Africa his career.
Högstedt coached both Germany’s Tommy Haas and China’s Li Na with great success and in 2010 was appointed coach of four-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova.
“I am looking forward to seeing and training some of the most talented boys and girls in South Africa and hopefully find the next Sharapova, Li Na or Wozniacki and a new Federer, Djokovic or Nadal,” said Högstedt.
“I’ve been coaching many star players from around the world but never from South Africa. So I can’t wait to start practising with them and maybe we can find South Africa’s next top 10 players to replace the likes of Amanda Coetzer and Wayne Ferreira.
“I am very thankful to TSA chief executive Ian Smith for giving me this chance.”
It was Smith who was instrumental in setting up Högstedt’s visit, and the project came to fruition thanks to a partnership between TSA and Remgro. The clinics will all be staged at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS).
Joining Högstedt will be Richard Sutton, a top South African trainer, who will deal with physical conditioning, flexibility, broader physical development, science model for flexibility of players, speed agility and proper warm up protocols.
Sutton has worked with the Chinese Olympic Committee and is a big part of the success of the Chinese Olympic team. He also has worked with Federer, Haas and helped Li Na come though her injury. He was working with her when she won the French Open.
Locally, Sutton has also worked with players such as Kevin Anderson and Wesley Moodie.
Högstedt and Sutton will have an evening “Question and Answer” session at SAS, which will be open to all TSA registered coaches who are also invited to observe the clinic. Only TSA-registered coaches will be allowed free access to the session. Non-registered coaches can attend for a fee of R3000.
“We have seen over the years that it is important to identify players with ability early in their careers so one can start to work with them as soon as possible,” said Smith. “All too often they slip through the cracks and by the time one realises what has happened, it is all too late.
“With the ability of Thomas and Richard to recognise talent, as well as the specific athletic prerequisites required, we can hopefully build on creating a pool of skilful players.”


SOUTH AFRICAN JUNIORS SEEK PLACE AT NIKE JUNIOR TOUR INTERNATIONAL MASTERS

Potchefstroom - A select group of South Africa’s top junior tennis players will take to the courts of Potchefstroom from Wednesday to try and book their places at this year’s Nike Junior Tour (NJT) International Masters. This year the international event will take place at Club Med Sandpiper on the Florida coast in the US from December 5 to 12 and will comprise players from 41 countries.

The NJT SA Masters will be played at the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy on the NWU-PUKKE campus at the North West University from Wednesday to Friday. Only eight boys and girls in each of the under-12 and under-14 age groups qualify for this year’s event and the four winners will earn the right to represent South Africa in the USA.

Over the past three years top ranked under 14 Calvin Jordaan has been in the South African team. This year, however, sickness has forced Calvin to withdraw from the local event and he will therefore not be in contention for top honours.

That leaves the way open for Richard Thongoana from Gauteng Central and Hubert Badenhorst from Free State to vie for the title in the boy’s under-14 event. The two have performed well during the year and will head up their respective groups. If the ratings match the results, these two should go head to head for the first time in Friday’s final. Thongoana won the under 14 National Championships in Bloemfontein yesterday (Monday).

The girl’s under-14 event appears far more open. Zani Barnard has represented SA at the International Masters. Barnard was in Club Med Sandpiper Bay last year. Barnard and Wilanie Van Zyl ( EP) head up the two groups for the local Masters but they face tough competition from Zani’s twin sister Lee and local hopeful Jone Kruger of North West Province. Lee Barnard was a straight set winner over Zani in the girls under 14 National Championships final.

National Champion, Philip Henning of Free State goes into the boy’s under-12 event as a strong favourite. He has played consistently well on the local circuit and recently won back to back titles in Bloemfontein. Henning’s biggest threat will be William Wilson of Pretoria and Marno Stander of Western Province.
National number 1, Zoe Kruger of Gauteng North is favourite in the girl’s under-12. She has yet to be beaten by any of her opponents and she will not be easy to stop. Her biggest challenge will come from Kaylin Bouwer of Port Elizabeth.

“We at Tennis South Africa (TSA) have always regarded the Nike Junior Tour as an excellent breeding ground for young talent,’’ said TSA CEO Ian Smith. “It also affords our top youngsters the opportunity to travel overseas and experience playing against some of the best juniors in the world.’’

Many players started their careers by playing the Nike Junior Tour, the most famous of these being current world number one, Rafael Nadal. Nadal played the NJT International Masters four times and won it in 1998, 1999 and 2000, which was at Sun City. The only time he was defeated was his first event 1997, when he was just 11 years-old and lost in the semifinals.

In addition to Nadal, a number of players who began their careers on the Nike Junior Tour have emerged as top players on the professional tour. Tomas Berdych played at the International Masters in Barcelona while Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro was the under-12 runner-up at Sun City in 2000. South Africans Kevin Anderson and Izak Van Der Merwe were in the first group of SA players to qualify for the international masters and they played at Stuttgart in 1998 and Anderson also played in Barcelona in 1999 with former Durbanite, Matthew Ebden who now represents Australia..

Tennis South Africa also confirmed the two wild cards per age group who will join the six players in each age group.

The players and wild cards have been drawn as follows;

BOYS
Under-12: Rafael Nadal Group - Philip Henning (FS); Charl Morgan (GN); Christiaan Worst (GN); WC-Adam Van Harte (GN)
Tomas Berdych Group – William Wilson (GN); Marno Stander (WP); Joubert Klopper (FS); WC-Pierre Malan (WP)
Under-14: Juan Martin Del Potro Group - Hubert Badenhorst (FS); Nikolai Manchev (KZN); Juan-Louis Van Antwerpen (GC); WC-Cameron Petersen (GC)
Roger Federer Group – Timothy Dollman (WP); Lessing Jandre’ (EP); Michael Copeland (GC); WC-Coles Gerber (GN)
GIRLS
Under-12: Li Na Group – Zoe Kruger (GN); Carli Van Onselen (EP); Alexandra Martin (GC); WC-Lara Van Der Merwe (NWP)
Maria Sharapova Group – Kaylin Bouwer (EP); Corin De Waal (BOL); Carmen Fichardt (FS); WC-Mia Dittberner (GN)
Under-14: Serena Williams Group – Zani Barnard (NWP); Jone Kruger (NWP); Kirsten Higgs (GE); WC-Lienke De Kock (NWP)
Victoria Azarenka Group – Lee Barnard (NWP); Wilanie Van Zyl (EP); Jon-Bone Potgieter (FS); WC-Hanri Stofberg (FS)

The tournament will be played on a round robin format in each groups on Wednesday and Thursday with the winners and runners up of each group round robin qualifying for Fridays cross over semi-final. The final will be played on Friday afternoon.


PROTEAS READY TO TAKE ON TOP NETBALL NATIONS

Johannesburg, South Africa - The South African National Netball Team left Johannesburg for Australia on Monday for probably their toughest challenge to date – the Quad Series, which pits the SPAR Proteas against the world’s top three netball-playing countries – Australia, New Zealand and England.

The SPAR Proteas team selected to play in the Quad Series, at their training camp which took place at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria this past weekend.
From left (bottom row): Thuli Qegu, Lindie Lombard. Bongiwe Msomi, Melissa Myburgh.
(Second row): Zanele Mdodana (vice-captain), Vanes-Mari du Toit, Anneret Viljoen, Maryka Holtzhausen.
(Third row): Nadia Uys, Chrisna Bootha.
(Top row): Elize Kotze (coach) and Lana Krige (assistant coach)
Absent: Adele Niemand, Karla Mostert, Amanda Mynhardt (captain)
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


“It’s a huge compliment that we have been invited to take part, and we intend to be very competitive,” said head coach Elize Kotze, before the team’s departure. “Our opening match is against New Zealand, which is always a challenge. But we had a great quarter against them at the World Championships in Singapore last year, when we took an early lead in our match, and we believe we can give them a good game this time. What is important is that we should have progressed since then.”

She said the players had just completed a very intensive training camp. They were all fit and ready for the tournament to begin. “Next year is our pre-Commonwealth Games year, so this tournament is the logical road to follow. This is a very good opportunity to find out if we are ready to compete in this type of league, and what is needed to improve. This is the only way SA will learn,” said Kotze.

She said there was now more depth to the SPAR Protea team and that the players had a good chance of improving their international ranking. “For the first time we have two players for each position on court. Previously we battled for months to find a specialist wing attack. Zanele (Mdodana) stepped into that role and did well, but in the Diamond Challenge when Zanele moved back to wing defence I could see she was at home there. Now we have Nadia Uys, who is a specialist wing attack, which is a first for the team. We also have another specialist goal attack in Lindie Lombard, which takes pressure off if there are injuries. Now we have all bases covered and a plan B for all positions on court” said Kotze.

The vice-captain, Zanele Mdodana, said the players were well prepared for the coming tour.
“We have had some very successful tours and a very busy year. We have played a lot and have come to know each other better on and off the court. This is a great opportunity to play against the best and to be able to see where we are,” she said.

South Africa’s first match against New Zealand is in Adelaide on Sunday, and Kotze would not be drawn on which of the three other teams would provide the stiffest opposition. “We’ve studied all the teams, and know a lot about the players and their style of play. We are taking it one step at a time. Our first match is against New Zealand, so we are preparing for New Zealand,” she said.
The four teams will play in Adelaide, Newcastle and Sydney before moving across the Tasman Sea to play in three cities in New Zealand.


NATIONAL JUNIOR TENNIS CHAMPIONS CROWNED IN BLOEMFONTEIN

Bloemfontein – The Key Health South African junior tennis championships came to an end in Bloemfontein today (Monday). After two gruelling weeks of tennis in extreme heat, boys and girls in the four age groups, under 12, 14, 16 and 18 captured the singles and doubles national titles on offer.

Unseeded Aidan Karrazedo of Gauteng Central is the surprise national under 18 champion. Karrazedo caused the biggest upset of the tournament when he beat seventh seed Joshua Luck of Western Province 3-6 7-5 6-2 in the final. In Sundays semi-final, “Giant killer” Karrazedo upset top seed Christiaan Van Der Bergh of Boland. Karrazedo also upset fifth seed Trent Botha in round two.
“I am so so tired but real pleased with myself” said Karrazedo. “I think I was lucky that I didn’t play the warm up tournament. I was fresher than a lot of the players out there this week. The heat was severe so for me I was fresh for the nationals.” After losing the opening set 3-6 games went on serve until the eleventh game when Karrazedo broke Luck to split sets and then ran away a comfortable winner in the final set.
Jessica Simpson of Cape Town, seeded three captured the under 18 girls title by upsetting top seeded Theresa van Zyl of Northern Cape 6-2 6-1. It was two in a row for the tall Capetonian who captured the Dunlop Free State Challenge the week prior to the Nationals. In fairness to van Zyl, she went into the final not feeling herself suffering from a chest infection. However Simpson was the inform player on the day striking the ball well and dominating from the baseline.

The boys under 16 title went to 15 year old Brandon Laubser of Gauteng East. Laubser, seeded four beat sixth seeded Lloyd Harris of Western Province 6-1 6-4. Laubser who won the under 14 national title last year was “hungry” for victory on court which showed in his performance throughout.
In the girls under 16, Huibre-Mare Botes seeded three of Free State gave the hosts their first of two singles titles when she upset top seed Rouxanne Van Rensburg of Boland 4-6 6-3 6-2.
“I am delighted with my first national singles win” said a smiling Botes following victory. “The first set was tight, I gave away a lot of opportunities and after losing the first set I said to myself to remain calm and play my normal game. It worked and now I can smile as the new national champion.”

The boys under 14 title was won by Johannesburg’s Richard Thongoana. Thongoana the top seed dominated unseeded Daniel Du Toit of Boland 6-0 6-2 in his final. Thongoana’s win was a boost for tennis development in the country as he was the only player of colour to win a title in the City of Roses. Thongoana was impressive all week and failed to lose a set en route to winning the title. Kudos to Du Toit however who had the week of his life upsetting 2- Lleyton Cronje (GN) and 3-Jurgen Badenhorst (BOL) in the second round and semi-final respectively.
Thongoana said he felt on top of the world after his win. “We work so hard and my parents give so much to my success. This makes all the hard work and effort worthwhile” said Thongoana.
In the battle of the twins, Lee Barnard beat her sister Zani 7-5 6-2 in the under 14 girls final. Lee was tournament favourite and although made a shaky first set start, easily won the second set against her second seeded sister.

The under 12 boys title was won by local hero Philip Henning with Zoe Kruger of Pretoria winning the girls under 12 title. Both Henning and Kruger were top seeds and like Simpson won back to back titles here in Bloemfontein. Henning beat second seeded William Wilson 6-3 6-1 whilst Kruger came back from 1-3 down in the second set to beat 2-Carl van Onselen of Eastern Province 6-1 6-3.


AUSTRALIA TO ADVISE ON SOUTH AFRICAN PROFESSIONAL NETBALL LEAGUE

Johannesburg, South Africa - Top South African netball officials left for Melbourne on Wednesday for talks with their Australian counterparts about a professional netball league (NPL).

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula announced earlier this year that a South African professional netball league would be launched next year as part of efforts to promote the biggest women’s sport in the country.

Netball South Africa (NSA) president Mimi Mthethwa and vice-president Blanche de la Guerre will meet Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer and officials of the world’s strongest netball league, the Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) Championship, to discuss a variety of aspects of the establishment of a successful league. These include the ideal relationship between NSA and the NPL, a trust fund for professional players, television and sponsorship rights, and disciplinary codes. Another important issue is whether the NPL would fall under the NSA constitution or have its own.

Mthethwa and De la Guerre will also meet the general manager of the ANZ Championship, Andy Crook, to discuss aspects such as who would be in charge of the NPL, fixtures and calendars, and competition rules.

Australia and New Zealand dominate world netball, and the ANZ Championship features some of the world’s best netball players in a feast of trans-Tasman Sea rivalry. It attracts packed houses and is closely followed on television, with leading players attracting as many fans as cricket or rugby players.

“We believe they are the perfect people to help us to introduce a professional national netball league,” said De la Guerre. “They went through various development stages to get to where they are now, so they would be the ideal reference for us to move from amateur to professional netball.”

The SPAR South African netball team leaves for Australia on Monday for the Quad Series, in which South Africa will play top netball countries – Australia, New Zealand and England – in a series that will take them to three centres in Australia and three in New Zealand.


HISTORY MADE BY TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA

Bloemfontein – History will be made this week in Bloemfontein at the South African National Junior Tennis Championships when for the first time ever coaches will be permitted on court during their players’ matches. This will apply to the under 12 and under 14 age groups.

Tennis South Africa, a world leader when it comes to junior tennis initiatives will be the first country ever to trial this project. From the quarter finals of the singles of the country’s most prestigious junior tennis event, the coaches will be allowed on court to give their players support and advise during set breaks. The coaches need to be registered with Tennis South Africa and players have to nominate their coaches prior to going on court.

“We are proud to have set trends around the world when it comes to junior tennis” said Tennis SA CEO Ian Smith. “Our circuits are comprehensive and professionally run and our ranking systems are highly rated. This new initiative in allowing coaches onto court will complement our efforts in giving our junior players the best possible development opportunities at home. We decided to introduce the concept to the younger age group to help the players under 14 whilst playing matches learn where they are going wrong or doing well. Its proved that teaching players whilst they are actually in the situation is more beneficial than after the match.”
Smith continued by saying that should the project prove to be a success his organisation may consider introducing the concept to the older age groups but at this stage Tennis South Africa felt that players over 14 years of age are old enough to make important decisions during play.

In another first, Tennis South Africa is the first country in the world to introduce live scoring at national tennis events hosted by the Association. There will be live scoring in all age groups (under 12, under 14, under 16 and under 18) at the Bloemfontein event from the quarter finals. Live scoring sponsored by Altech is available on www.tennissa.co.za


DUNLOP JUNIOR CHALLENGE SET THE STAGE FOR THE EXCITING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Bloemfontein – The Dunlop Junior Challenge helped set the stage for a dynamic week of tennis in Bloemfontein this coming week when the South African Junior National Tennis Championships begins tomorrow (Thursday) in Manguang.

Today (Tuesday) saw the end of the Dunlop sponsored Free State Challenge, a premier event on the South African tennis calendar, part of the Key Health series and the official warm up tournament of the National Championships.

Over 720 players converged on Manguang for the annual event and today in the finals there was local celebrations when Grey College rising star, Philip Henning won the under 12 boys singles title. Henning the tournament favourite beat second seeded William Wilson of Gauteng North 6-4 6-0. In the girls under 12 final top seed Zoe Kruger of Gauteng North beat second seed Carli Van Onselen of Eastern Province 6-1 6-1. Henning and Kruger impressed this week with both not losing a set en route to winning their respective titles. Henning lost only four games and Kruger eight games throughout the week.

In the under 14 age group, unseeded Damon Kesaris of Kwa-Zulu Natal caused the tournament’s major upset when he shocked top seed Richard Thongoana of Johannesburg in the final. The thirteen year old Durbanite beat Thongoana 6-3 7-6 (4). Kesaris upset fourth seeded Lance-Pierre Du Toit of Western Province in round one. The girl’s singles was won by Minette Van Vreden of Western Province. Van Vreden seeded four, caused a minor upset beating second seeded Maxine Bateman of Kwa-Zulu Natal 6-4 6-3.

In the under 16 age groups, Lloyd Harris of Western Province and Nadine De Villiers of Gauteng North emerged champions. Harris who has just come back from injury, seeded four beat fellow Capetonian Jan-Louis Maritz 6-3 6-3. Ironically on Wednesday Harris and Maritz meet in the opening round of the Junior Nationals. De Villiers was a delighted winner over fifth seed Zani Barnard of North West Province 6-2 6-0. De Villiers, who has been struggling with her game of late finally regained the form that has helped to a series of title wins in the past.

Western Province cleaned up the under 18 section with Joshua Luck and Jessica Simpson winning the boys and girls singles titles.


OLYMPIC MEDALLIST TO RUN FOR HOPE IN SPAR WOMENS CHALLENGE RELAY

Johannesburg, South Africa - One of the enduring memories of the London Olympic Games was canoeist Bridgitte Hartley’s celebrations as she received her bronze medal for the women’s 500m sprint.

Pictures by:  Andrew McGibbon
Pictures by: Andrew McGibbon

“It really is an emotional occasion,” said Hartley. “This is what every athlete dreams of. It’s the most amazing thing that has happened in my life so far.” What most people remember about her medal ceremony is her smile that appeared to light up the sky. It was a smile that said that all the years of hard work and sacrifice had been worth it.

On Sunday October 14, Bridgitte Hartley will be one of a group of celebrities who will be running in the Torch of Hope relay in the Johannesburg SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge at Old Parktonians, as a means to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Other celebrities who will be running include former Miss South Africa Nicole Flint and Supersport presenter Romy Titus.

Hartley said she was excited about running in the Challenge, which attracts thousands of women from all walks of life, saying the presence of the celebrities would add sugar and spice to what was already a great event. She had a message of inspiration for the thousands who do not normally spend their weekends pounding the pavements. “I have a great quote from St Francis of Assissi,” she said. ‘Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ “Always believe in yourself and believe that every challenge you are given in life can be conquered eventually,” she added

She urged the other runners to enjoy taking part in such a wonderful event, and said that though she was only scheduled to run two kilometres, she would definitely be running more.

While Hartley and the other celebrities will be taking part in the 10km race, there is also a 5km Fun Run for those who feel 10kms is too far, and as always, walkers are welcome in both races.

Entries are available on the morning of race day.
For more information about the race visit www.sparwomensrace.co.za


STELLENBOSCH TO HOST FIRST EVER INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR TENNIS TOURNAMENT SERIES

Johannesburg, South Africa – Tennis South Africa announced today that they had partnered up with industry giant Remgro to stage two international junior tennis tournaments in Stellenbosch this month.

This will be a first for Stellenbosch and both tournaments will be played at the flagship high performance center, SAS (Stellenbosch Academy of Sport).

The Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) facility, a Remgro initiative, opened in January 2012 and aims to provide a world class training and preparation environment for sports people. Features of the facility includes skilled staff, accommodation, athlete restaurant, state-of-the-art gymnasium, physiotherapy and rehabilitation practice, an indoor field, outdoor fields and swimming pool..

The tournaments to be called the SAS Junior ITF 1 and SAS Junior ITF 2 will be played from 13-19 October and 20-26 October 2012 respectively.

Both tournaments form part of the International Tennis Federation’s Junior Circuit with junior tennis players from 25 countries participating. Players will earn world ranking junior points from both events.

Rudi Kleynhans, Manager Remgro Properties said Remgro were proud to partner Tennis South Africa with the tournaments. “We are sure that the SAS environment will add to the experience for these top junior players, and look forward to a hugely successful tournament.”

Tennis South Africa CEO, Ian Smith said that both tournaments were a boost not only for tennis in the Western Cape but South Africa. “It is no secret that Tennis South Africa runs one of the most successful and comprehensive junior tennis programmes in the world. These two SAS hosted international tournaments will not only complement our programmes but will give our local players a golden opportunity of earning world ranking points on their doorstep. “It is pleasing to see so many local and international players coming to compete. Stellenbosch is one of the top tourist attractions in our country and hats off for building the SAS in the picturous town which has produced world class sports stars over the years. I am confident that the internationals will be happy with the new facility and are most likely to return as a result in the future. Our sincere thanks to Remgro for their support.” continued Smith.

Players from Australia, Belarus, Burundi, Botswana, Bulgaria, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, USA and Zimbabwe will join players from South Africa at the events.


SEEDS AND WILD CARDS FOR SA JUNIOR NATIONAL TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ANNOUNCED

Bloemfontein – Tennis South Africa announced today (Monday) the seeds and wild cards for the South African National Junior Tennis championships to be played in Bloemfontein from 3–8 October 2012.
The tournament is the premier junior tennis event on the South African calendar and has attracted an entry of over 500 juniors from all over South Africa.
The tournament will be played in the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups for boys and girls with each age group having a singles and doubles tournament.
Four wild cards per age group were also announced today (Monday).
The seeds and wild cards announced are as follows:
Boys
Under 12
Seeds: 1-Philip Henning (FS); 2-William Wilson (GN); 3-Charl Morgan (GC); 4-Pierre Malan (WP); 5-Joubert Klopper (FS); 6-Wikus Robbertse (GC); 7-Hendrik Cronje (EP); 8-Stephen Smith (EP)
Wild Cards: Wayne Freel (GE); Jarryd Muir (GN); Matthew Niemand (BOR); Brandon Charge (GE)
Under 14
Seeds: 1-Richard Thongoana (GC); 2-Lleyton Cronje (GN); 3-Jurgen Badenhorst (WP); 4-Lance-Pierre Du Toit (WP); 5-Christiaan Worst (GN); 6-Jordan Sauer (GN); 7-Janre Viljoen (EP); 8-Bertus Kruger (GN)
Wild Cards: Benjamin Liebenberg (WP); Brendan Swart (GN); Adam Van Harte (GN); Justin Liebenberg (GC)
Under 16
Seeds: 1-Okkie Kellerman (WP); 2-Francois Kellerman (WP); 3-Michiel Van Schoor (WP); 4-Brandon Laubser (GE); 5-Calvin Jordaan (WP); 6-Lloyd Harris (WP); 7-Andreas Mentz (WP); 8-Paul Berry (FS)
Wild Cards: Divan Von Gericke (FS); Cameron Petersen (GC); Luke Malherbe (WP); Marc Landau (GC)
Under 18
Seeds: 1-Christiaan Van Der Burgh (WP); 2-Vaugh Hunter (GN); 3-JW Kleynhans (WP); 4-Ronnie Myburgh (KZN); 5-Trent Botha (WP); 6-Keaton Saunders (WP); 7-Joshua Luck (WP); 8-Maxime De Clippel
Wild Cards: Phillip Franken (BOL); Nikolas Pondicas (GN); Kris Van Wyk (WP); Kyle Gerber (GN)
Girls
Under 12
Seeds: 1-Zoe Kruger (GN); 2-Carli Van Onselen (EP); 3-Evangeline Du Toit (WP); 4-Mia Dittberner (GN); 5-Carmen Fichardt (FS); 6-Lara van Der Merwe (NWP); 7-Bianca Wolmarans (WP); 8-Helena Van Eeden (GC)
Wild Cards: Jenna Laubser (GN); Margerite Hartung (Bol); Michelle Petchey (WP); Emma Marx (EP)
Under 14
Seeds: 1-Lee Barnard (NWP); 2-Zani Barnard (NWP); 3-Mari Bouwer (EP); 4-Maxine Bateman (KZN); 5-Mila Hartig (GN); 6-Minette Van Vreden (WP); 7-Kirsty Orston (WP); 8-Corin De Waal (WP)
Wild Cards: Bianca Koen (GN); Nicola Steenkamp (WP); Jessica Assenmacher (GC); Vanessa Chigariro (WP)
Under 16
Seeds:1-Rouxane Van Rensburg (BOL); 2-Louise-Mare Botes (FS); 3-Huibre-Mari Botes (FS); 4-Nadine De Villiers (GN); 5-Robyn Bulmer (GN); 6-Caitlin Herb (GC); 7-Anne Poluta (WP); 8-Wilanie Van Zyl (EP)
Wild Cards: Morgan Dickason (EP); Kirsten Higgs (KZN); Tyra Timm (GN); Jon-Bene Potgieter (FS)
Under 18
Seeds: 1-Theresa van Zyl (NC); 2-Carieta Moolman (FS); 3-Jessica Simpson (WP); 4-Marnelle Boshoff (NWP); 5-Tamar Shahaf (NWP); 6-Amy Oliver (WP); 7-Susan Niemann (GN); 8-Corlia Fischer
Wild Cards: Ansunica Brits (FS); Christine Graham (MP); Jamie-Leigh Michau (EP); Michelle Erasmus (GC)
Live scoring: Live scoring by Altech will be available for the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals of the tournament on www.tennissa.co.za

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