• Wayne Montomery ends his junior career with a sound win at home
Somerset West, South Africa - The South African junior tennis year ended on a high in Somerset West when the finals of the Boland Sportsman Warehouse Open came to an end this past week.

Top seed Wayne Montgomery (Boland) playing in his last tournament as a junior won the open title of the Boland Sportsman Warehouse Open in Somerset West last week when he beat second seed Kris Van Wyk of Western Province 6-2 6-3 in the final.

Top seed Jordan Sauer of Gauteng North won the Boys 14 title of the Boland Sportsman Warehouse Open in Somerset West last week when he beat third seed Christian van der Wath of Western Province 6-4 6-2 in the final.
Picture credit: Boland Tennis

After a gruelling year of tennis, over 400 junior players battled it out throughout Boland for title honours and for one player in particular, Wayne Montgomery, the tournament will always be remembered fondly as his last junior tennis outing.
Montgomery ended his junior career with a deserved 6-2 6-3 win over Kris van Wyk of Western Province in the Open final. The top seed was one of the best junior players our country has ever produced and rose to a junior world ranking high of number 6 earlier this year. Montgomery played in all the major junior tournaments around the world including the four junior Grand Slam events and was privileged enough to be selected as part of the ITF Grand Slam Development Fund touring team. But 2013 has been a challenge for Montgomery as he had to balance tennis with final year school work but managed that well and matriculated from Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch. Next year Montgomery will travel to the University of Georgia in Athens, USA to take up a NCAA Scholarship there. After College, Montgomery plans to turn professional.

The Girls Open was won by tournament favourite Katie Poluta of Cape Town who was a comfortable 6-4 6-1 winner over second seeded Bianca Birkenstock of Durban in her final.
In the 16 under age group, it was a clean sweep for the home province when Lance Pierre du Toit and Rouxanne Janse van Rensburg, both unseeded, lifted the titles. Du Toit upset second seed Timothy Dollman of Western Province in his final. Du Toit struggled to take the first set on the tie-breaker but then leading 3-0 in the second set, Dollman through in his towel and retired injured. Janse van Ransburg gave Boland their second title in the age group with a solid 6-4 6-3 win against Tayla van Eck of KwaZulu-Natal.

The 14 under titles went to top seeds Jordan Sauer of Gauteng North who beat third seeded Christian van der Wath of Western Province 6-4 6-2 and Corin de Waal of Boland who disposed of fifth seed Kaylin Bouwer of Eastern Province 6-2 6-3.
Joubert Klopper of Free State the reigning Nike Junior Tour Masters champion won the 12 under boys with Myah Petchey, youngest daughter of former British Davis Cup player Mark Petchey capturing the 12 under girl’s title.
Brett Summers representing the event sponsors said that Wilson were very thankful to be a sponsors of this prestigious and long standing tournament. “We will together with Sportsman Warehouse and Boland Tennis make sure the tournament continues to go from strength to strength.” Summers concluded by congratulating the winner and wishing them well in their future tennis careers.


PORT ST LUCIE, Florida - The South African challenge at this year’s Nike Junior Tour International Masters at Club Med Sandpiper Bay on Tuesday.
Richard Thongoana, who scored a superb straight-sets victory over second seeded Australian Alexei Popyrin, could not find the same level of intensity against Karlo Divkovic of Croatia and went down 4-6 3-6.
Zani Barnard, who had also caused an upset with a victory over seventh seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine on Monday, had no answer to the power of Swiss player Rebeka Masarova and went down 6-3 6-1.
Thongoana had chances in both sets as he led 4-2 in the opener and held a 3-1 lead in the second. He also faced an opponent who had pulled a muscle in his thigh and had the trainer on court several times during the match. “It didn’t really bother me too much,” said Divkovic. “Sometimes I play better with pain because it makes me go for my shots.”
Down 2-4 in the opening set the Croat began to find his range. “I was making too many mistakes but then I started to play better. It was tough and the games were close but I managed to win four games in a row.”
The second set went very much the same way when Divkovic found himself 1-3 down. “He was pushing me but then I hit the ball harder and I won five games in a row.”
SA coach Terrey Schweitzer felt Thongoana’s forehand had let him down. “He wasn’t as sharp as he was in the earlier round and he was missing a lot on his forehand. His opponent saw that and started putting a lot of pressure on that shot.”
Barnard never really got into the match and was beaten by an opponent who was just in better form on the day.

10 December 2013

Results of the Nike Junior Tour International Masters played at Club Med Sandpiper Bay Florida USA.

Third round


Under 14

Nicaise Muamba (Can) bt Jakub Patyk (Cze) 6-1 6-0
3-Camillo Carabelli (Arg) bt Williams Howells (USA) 6-2 6-1
6-Max Stewart (GBR) bt Matteo Martineau (Fra) 6-4 5-7 6-1
Karlo Divkovic (Cro) bt Richard Thongoana (RSA) 6-4 6-3
1-Ergi Kirkin (Tur) bt Lenard Soha (Hun) 7-6 (1) 6-2
5-Juan Otegui (Arg) bt Jonas Ziverts (Swe) 7-5 6-2
8-Rudolf Molleker (Ger) bt Pavel Semidockikh (Isr) 6-3 7-6 (2)
Yashai Oliel (Isr) bt Andreas Kramer (Aut) 6-1 6-0


Under 14

5-Emiliana Arango (Col) bt Mariia Borodii (Ukr) 1-6 6-1 6-1
1-Marketa Vondrousova (Cze) bt Inina Siemers (Bel) 7-5 6-0
2-Anastasia Mikheeva (GBR) bt Zinovia Vaneva (Bul) 4-6 6-2 6-2
Rebeka Masarova (Sui) bt Zani Barnard (RSA) 6-3 6-1
Zhina Du (Chi) bt 4-Alessia Welti (Sui) 6-4 6-1
8-Ulyana Grib (Blr) bt Maria Portillo (Mex) 6-3 7-5
Anastasia Kulikova (Rus) bt 3-Claire Lliu (USA) 7-6 (6) 4-6 6-4
6-Iona Guna (Rou) bt Avital Vulf (Isr) bt 6-3 6-7 (3)

Quarter finals


Under 12

1-Adam Neff (USA) bt 7-Jack Draper (GBR) 6-4 6-2
4-Mihailo Popovic (Srb) bt 8-Tom Leblanc-Claverie (Fra) 6-2 6-3
6-Wojtek Marek (Pol) bt 2-Alexandra Zgirovsky (Blr) 6-2 7-6 (4)
3-Adrian Andreev (Bul) bt Nicolas Varona (Esp) 6-1 6-7 (2) 6-3


Under 12

1-Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt 7-Alexandra Bakaldina (Sui) 7-6 (5) 6-1
Anna Lahuza (Ukr) bt Carlota Cirez 7-6 (5) 6-4
3-Xiyu Wang (Chn) bt Loudmilla Bencheikh (Fra) 6-2 6-3
2-Amanda Anisimova (USA) bt Luisa Meyer Auf Der Heide (Ger) 6-3 6-3


Jack Milner
Karlo Divkovic overcame a thigh injury and a tough opponent to reach the quarterfinals of the
Boys Under-14 draw at the Nike Junior Tour International Masters played at Club Med Sandpiper Bay on Tuesday. Karlo put out Richard Thongoana of South Africa 6-4 6-3 despite having to come from behind in both sets.
Thongoana had reached the third round by putting out second seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia in straight sets but could not peg back the young Croat.
In the second game Karlo pulled a muscle in his thigh and needed to have the trainer on court on a number of occasions. “It didn’t really bother me too much. Sometimes I play better with pain because it makes me go for my shots.”
Karlo found himself down 2-4 in the opening set but then began to find his range. “I was making too many mistakes but then I started to play better. It was tough and the games were close but I managed to win four games in a row.”
The second set went very much the same way when Karlo found himself 1-3 down. “He was pushing me but then I hit the ball harder and I won five games in a row.”
Karlo began playing tennis when he four years old after watching his brother in action. “I like basketball but tennis is my sport. Tennis has a lot of tournaments and I like to travel. I don’t like team sports. Here I am in control of what happens. With team sports you have to rely on the ability of others.”
This is the third time Karlo has played the NJT International Masters. “I played twice when I was Under-12. Two years ago I was also playing well but I had been practising on hard courts and we played the tournament on clay.
“This is a good tournament. We have parties every night. It’s very social.”
His next opponent will be sixth seed Max Stewart of Britain. “Max and I have been at a lot of tournaments together but I have never played him. He plays well and it will be tough.
“I think it will be very much the same as today. I need to hit the ball hard and be aggressive and I need to serve well. When my serve is working it’s easier to play. He doesn’t tend to make too many mistakes, everything goes in but he does hit the ball hard. He has a big forehand and is a very disciplined player.”
In other quarterfinal matches top seed Ergi Kirkin of Turkey will play No 5 Juan Otegui of Argentina, unseeded Nicaise Muamba from Canada will face last year’s Boys Under-12 finalist Yashai Oliel of Israel while the 2012 Boys Under-12 winner Rudolf Molleker of Germany will face No 3 Camilo Ugo Carabelli of Argentina.


Chinese players have performed well at the NJT International Masters and Zhima Du could be joining their ranks. The 14-year-old put out fourth seeded Alessia Welti of Switzerland 6-4 6-1. “I think today I played well,” said Du.
“But I like the way she plays. It suits my game.”
The opening set was close but once Du had it won she took control of the match. “I was more relaxed and played well.”
Speaking about her strengths the Chinese girl added: “My forehand is my best shot and I attack well.”
Du has been playing tennis since she was eight years old and hails from the mountainous south west of China. She was part of a programme that promoted tennis among minorities in China and became part of a team called “Mountain Flower”. The programme, aimed at the poorer communities, was for children between the ages of six and eight. The quality of her play saw her move to the northern part of the country and currently she is based in Beijing.
Two years ago the WTA tournament in Cincinnati invited a group of Chinese youngster to watch Li Na play. “We met her at the tournament and she told us we were really lucky to be picked for the programme, that we should cherish the opportunity and try to do the best we can.”
Spurred on by that meeting Du did her best to qualify for the NJT International Masters. “When I watched Li Na win the French Open it encouraged me to train even harder so that I could be the next one. I tried to play my best in China so that I could come here.
“If I was to win this tournament it would make me very happy.”
Last week’s Eddie Herr International was her first tournament outside of China. “That is the first time I saw these players so I don’t know anything about my opponents,” she added. She will be playing No 5 Emilia Arango of Colombia for a place in the semifinals.
Unseeded Anastasia Kulikova of Russia had to pull out all stops in her match to defeat No 3 Claire Lliu of the USA 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-4 in a match that was at times ill-tempered and lasted two hours and 37 minutes. Claire won the Girls Under-12 event last year.
Anastasia found herself down 2-5 in the opening set but found a way back. “I told myself to not make any mistakes. Then I turned the game around. The tie-breaker was tough and I struggled. She had three set points but I managed to win it.”
Claire tuned it around in the second set and levelled the match. “I had no power in the second set and she played better, much better,” said Anastasia.
The Russian went up 3-1 in the final set but Claire fought back to lead 4-3, with a break of serve. Anastasia, however, was not done and managed to reel off the next three games to close out the match. “We both got tired but I was stronger in my head and that made the difference,” said Anastasia.
“As far as the tournament is concerned I am unseeded and I have nothing to lose. This is a big opportunity for me.
“This is my first time here and I love the tournament.”


After his under-12 title at the Eddie Herr International last Sunday top seed Adam Neff of the USA was seen as the player to beat in the Boys Under-12 draw. But he was stopped in his tracks by seventh seed Jack Draper of Great Britain, who won 6-4 6-2.
Draper believed that if he could put the American under pressure, he could cause the upset. “My coach felt if I got on top of him maybe he would crumble a bit. I think I achieved that a little bit but not as much as I hoped I would.
“I did play very well throughout. He hits heavy balls and on clay you don’t know where they’re going. You have to get behind the ball and rip it.
“I fought really hard and I was able to play my game.”
The pair held serve for the first seven games but then Jack got the break to go up 5-3 and serve for the opening set. Jack may have been a little complacent in the next game as Adam fought back well to get the set back on track. However, the American let his guard down and Jack took the opportunity, breaking again to take the set.
The Briton went up a break early in the second but once again Adam got it back. Jack eked out another break for 4-2, winning the game with a cross-court backhand that landed on the line. “That was the shot that just killed him,” said Jack. “It landed on the line and he thought it was out.”
Once Jack held for a 5-2 lead the fight seemed to ebb out of the American. Three errors from Adam allowed Jack to go up 40-0 and although he saved the first two match points, another mistake gave the seventh seeded left-hander the match and a contest against third seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria.
“I’m expecting a dogfight. It’s going to be the same sort of match as today,” says Jack.
Adrian was hoping to play Adam in the semis and avenge his defeat in the final of the Eddie Herr.
The Bulgarian third seed started well enough but ended up having a protracted duel against Nicolas Alvarez Varona of Spain, eventually winning through 6-1 6-7 (2-7) 6-3. “I don’t know what went wrong in the second set. He played well. I had the lead but he won the big points. At the start of the third set I was thinking of a way to win. I was never worried that I would lose.”
Adrian is not worried that his long match will affect his chances in the semifinal. “Three sets are normal in a tournament. It won’t be a problem,” said the Roger Federer fan.
The second semifinal pits fourth seed Mihailo Popovic of Serbia against Polish wild card Wojtek Marek. Wojtek put out second seed Alexander Zgirovsky 6-2 7-6 (7-4). “I played very well,” said Wojtek. “The first set was very easy. He didn’t play very well and I did. He made a lot of mistakes.
“In the second set he improved and I played okay. It was a tough tie-break but I won.
“I thought my forehand worked well for me and he struggled with his serve.”
Wojtek and Mihailo have played once before and that match went the way of the Pole. “I beat him 7-5 6-2.”
The youngster from Katowice started playing when he was four and he started because his father was a good player. His favourite player is Novak Djokovic because he’s “a fighter and all-round great player. He knows how to be a good No 1.
Speaking about the NJT International Masters he added: “This is the best tournament I have ever played.”


The top three seeds have made it through to the semifinals of the Girls Under-12 draw. Top seed Ekaterina Makarova had a much tougher quarterfinal encounter when she took on Swiss Alexandra Bakaldina.
The Russian was taken to a tie-breaker in the opening set but once taking that 7-5, she raced away with the second set to claim the match 7-6 6-1.
Her semifinal opponent will be unseeded Anna Lahuza of Ukraine. She also had to win a first-set tie-breaker 7-5 and was pushed all the way to the line by Spain’s Carlota Martinez Cirez before winning through 7-6 6-4.
Second seed Amanda Anisimova of the USA, the lone American left in the tournament, made her way to the semis with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Germany’s Luisa Meyer auf der Heide and will face third seed Xiyu Wang of China. The third seed defeated Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 6-2 6-3.


Jack Milner
Wild card Nicaise Muamba of Canada hardly raised a sweat as he romped to a 6-2 6-1 victory over fourth seeded Gabriel Decamps of Brazil in the second round of the boys Under-14 draw at the Nike Junior Tour International Masters played at Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St Lucie, Florida on Monday.

Zani Barnard (South Africa)

“I played very well,” said Nicaise. “I served better than I did yesterday and I was aggressive, dictating the points.
“I was expecting a tougher match but I always felt in control. I think it would have been more difficult if we were playing on clay,” said the youngster from Montreal.
“My goal at this tournament is to do well and gain experience. But it is a very fun tournament. There are lots of activities for the kids. There rooms are good and the food is great.”
Nicaise started playing at the age of six and says he has always found tennis to be a unique sport. “In tennis you can always come back, there is no time limit. As long as you are alive, you always have a chance to win.”
His favourite player is Roger Federer. “I like how he plays. He’s very aggressive and since I was a kid I always liked him.”
Talking about the current crop of Canadian players he added: “I think Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil are both very good players. I think Raonic can win a Grand Slam. He has a big serve and forehand.”
Nicaise believes his game possesses the same two qualities. “I would still like to improve my serve further and also improve my play at the net. I think that would help me be more aggressive.”
Richard Thongoana of South Africa caused the biggest upset of the tournament so far when he put out No 2 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia 7-5 7-6 (7-4) to book a place in the quarter-finals .
It was a bruising encounter that had many twists and turns but the consistency of the South African won the day. “I thought I had nothing to lose. I just had to play my game, stay focused and do my best.”
The match started well with Richard getting an early break of serve and building a 4-1 lead. He had a number of break-point opportunities to go up 5-1 but Alexei pulled some big shots from his arsenal to hold serve.
The momentum started to shift and Popyrin broke back and levelled the match at 4-4. When serving at 5-5 the South African faced a couple of break points but he had some luck when his shot clipped the top of the net and rolled over to save the first break point. “In this sport you need hard work and talent, but you need to be lucky sometimes and that was the luck,” said Richard.
He went on to win the game and lead 6-5 and was handed the first set courtesy of a double fault from the Australian.
Alexei, however, turned things around in the second set to build up a 4-2 lead but then began to falter. The Australian was playing his first tournament since incurring a shoulder injury and it was clear he needed to get a few matches under his belt. Unfortunately for him Alexei faced a player who was not going to give him the opening.
Richard broke back, took the set to a tie-breaker and pounced on a short ball to end the match.

Fifth seeded Emiliana Arango admitted that being based at Club Med gave her a big advantage over her opponents. “You know the conditions, the courts, how the wind blows and you are used to the heat. You also have your whole team here to support you,” she said.
Despite all of that Emiliana had to fight hard against American Kayla Day but managed to come through 7-6 (7-3) 0-6 6-3.
Kayla had been top seed at the Eddie Herr International but was unseeded at this event. “I didn’t think about that because I didn’t want to put pressure on myself. I saw her at Eddie Herr and we practised together at IMG,” said Emiliana.
It could so easily have slipped away from the Colombian as Kayla held double set point at 5-4 in the opening set. “She led 40-15 on my serve but I came back. I played those points very well and got back to 5-5.
“I played a good tie-breaker. But after that I kind of relaxed, stopped moving my feet and she started to play great. She did much more than I did and deserved to win the second set.”
Emiliana appeared to be heading for defeat when she dropped her serve in the opening game of the third set but when they changed ends she broke back and won her serve to lead 2-1. “I thought ‘I can do this, I can come back’. Then I started to play much better. She plays really well so I had to fight all the time.”
Emiliana says her goal is “to do my best, keep doing what I’ve been practising, and do my best to win the tournament”.
She came from Colombia last year to play in the Eddie Herr tournament and loved it so much she and her mother decided to stay in Port St Lucie. “My coach told us to come here and practice. We liked it a lot so we came back in January.
“Living here is really nice, the people are very friendly.”
South Africa’s Zani Barnard caused the only upset in the draw when she put out seventh seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-1 3-6 6-3 in a gruelling event that lasted one hour and 46 minutes.
“I was really nervous,” said Zani. “I knew she was good. I saw her play in Europe where she did well.”
Barnard must have surprised her opponent – and maybe even herself – in the opening set as she produced some amazing tennis and wrapped it up in just 25 minutes. “I hit a lot of winners in the first set and I think I just outplayed her. We both took a toilet break and when she came back she played better. She got warmed up in the match and I must give her credit, she really played well in the second set.
“When we got into the third I thought I needed to get the first game but it all went wrong and I ended up 0-2 down and I started to panic. Fortunately I started to hit a lot of winners and got back to 2-2.”
Her next match will be against Swiss Rebeka Masarova who put out Helene Grimm of Germany 6-1 6-0. “I don’t know my opponent but I will go out and play my game. I’ve really got confidence after taking out the seventh seed.”
This is Zani’s second visit to the NJT International Masters and it is a tournament she loves. “It’s a lot of fun, especially the trapeze.”


Seventh seed Jack Draper of Great Britain set up a quarter-final contest against top seeded American Adam Neff with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Ajdin Muharemovic in the boys Under-12 draw of Monday. Jack has dropped just three games in his two matches so far and a match against Neff, winner of the Eddie Herr International on Sunday, holds no fear for the youngster from Surrey. “He’s big and tall and I will have to get him to move around the court. Maybe I can get him under pressure and get him to collapse,” commented Jack.
“I’m feeling confident this time. I was here last year but I’m now bigger and stronger and expect a lot more of myself. Clay is not my best surface but it suits my game well because I’m a leftie. Today I wasn’t expecting s really tough match but I thought it would be a lot closer.”
Jack admits to being a Novak Djokovic fan although he was very happy when Andy Murray won Wimbledon. “I wanted Novak to make the final but Andy is British so I had to support him.”
Adam had to play two matches on Monday but was never under pressure as he conceded just two games in the two matches. It should be an interesting contest.


The Americans have a strong contingent of players at this event and girls Under-12 second seed Amanda Anisimova is one of their hopes.
However, she had to dig deep to win her second round match against Gemma Heath of Great Britain. After a lengthy tussle Amanda came through 6-0 2-6 6-3 in a match displaying good sportsmanship on both sides.
After a runaway first set Amanda admits she opened the door for her opponent. “I just started playing a little bit off but then I pulled myself together and fought to the end. I think I moved really well and found the target on my shots. I also got every ball back.”
While her goal is to win the tournament Amanda has a healthy respect for her opponents. “They’re probably all good players. They won their Nike tournaments in their home countries so they have to be good.
“But I think I should be able to beat all of these players.”
She says her biggest strength is her forehand approach shot but feels she needs to work on her backhand “when I’m deep”. While much depends on the play of her rival, Amanda feels that overall she is a more aggressive type of player.
She also says that she is having a blast at the NJT International Masters. “I love it so much, one of the best tournaments I’ve ever played. I love this place and the entertainment every night is awesome.
Tennis is an individual sport but this event is more social and helps you make friends.”
There were three upsets in the draw as Spain’s Carlota Martinez Cirez defeated No 4 Sabina Dadaciu of Romania 6-2 6-1, Ana Lahuza of Ukraine put out No 5 Hanna Kubarava of Belarus 6-7 6-3 6-0 and No 8 Oleksandra Oliynyikova of Croatia fell to Luisa Meyer auf der Heide of Germany 7-6 6-3.


Johannesburg, South Africa - The President of Tennis South Africa, Bongani Zondi issued the following statement on behalf of the National Tennis Association on the death of Nelson Mandela:-

“Tennis South Africa is saddened by the news on Thursday that Nelson Mandela has passed on. On behalf of our Board, Council and members as well as the tennis loving family of South Africa our sincere and deepest condolences go to Graca Machel, the Mandela family, national government and all those personally associated with Madiba.

In his decades spent fighting for freedom and equality, Nelson Mandela inspired and challenged the world to stand up for others. Because of him, South Africa is today one of the world’s leading democracies” said Zondi. “Madiba was a big friend of tennis and personally called our leading tennis professionals on the eve of Grand Slams or major competitions to wish them well. He also took time out his busy schedule to meet with our Davis and Fed Cup teams.”

But no doubt, Madiba’s greatest tennis moment was when he hosted the Nelson Mandela Tribute which saw top players Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic, Todd Martin, Leander Paes, Richard Krijjeck, Malavai Washington, Wayne Ferreira, Yanick Noah, Amanda Coetzer and Iva Majoli jet into South Africa for the Cape Town staged event.

Mandela, who was passionate about tennis development said at the launch of the ATP World Tour sponsored Tribute that “It will be a great day for South Africa when these top tennis stars come to our country to share their skills with our youth.”
“With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Madiba. His legacy will remain a source of inspiration and courage for all people. Humanity has lost a tireless champion of peace, liberty and equality” added Zondi.

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