KEVIN ANDERSON WAKES UP FEELING FRESH AND READY FOR CENTRE STAGE THIS AFTERNOON

• Coach Neville Godwin confirms Anderson is ready for the great opportunity
• Chani Scheepers invited to the Anderson box for Wimbledon showdown

Wimbledon, London - Today will no doubt be one of the biggest day’s in the career of South African tennis ace Kevin Anderson.

Anderson (seeded 20) will take on defending Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray (seeded 3) in the fourth round on Centre Court this afternoon.

Anderson is bidding to become the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Wayne Ferreira in 1994. Ferreira was also the last South African man to reach the round of 16 here in 2000. Kevin Curren holds the record for the best performance by a South African man at Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals in 1983. [Curren later finished as Wimbledon runner-up representing USA in 1985.]

Neville Godwin, Anderson’s coach (who reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2004) confirmed that Anderson had enjoyed a good night’s rest and woke up feeling “pumped and motivated and ready” to take on Murray this afternoon.

After a light work out on court yesterday (Sunday) with Godwin, Anderson had his body worked on and conditioned by Johannesburg specialist physio Richard Sutton. The Anderson camp, which included Anderson’s wife Kelsey, Godwin and Sutton then enjoyed a quiet dinner in Wimbledon Village at the popular San Lorenzo restaurant.

“Kevin is ready to go” confirmed Godwin this morning. “Kevin slept well and we enjoyed a solid 30 minute warm up on the grass and I feel Kevin is as ready as ever for a great opportunity against Andy Murray.”
“During practice, Kevin was striking the ball well and serving on target. I was very happy with the way he was playing and his positive attitude going into this afternoon match” confirmed Godwin.

Richard Sutton said that he had been working hard on Anderson’s body and it was in good shape for this afternoon. “Kevin is a big guy and his body takes a pounding as a result on court. I have been hard at work giving Kevin long hours of treatment and we will have one more rub down early afternoon after he has had a light lunch so he walks onto court against Murray ready and fired up” said Sutton.

Anderson confirmed that he had invited South African number one women player Chani Scheepers as a special guest in his match court box this afternoon. The other persons sitting in Anderson’s box include his agent Stuart Dugid, an aunt and uncle, three cousins and representatives from his sponsors Lotto and Srixon.

Kevin Anderson will play Andy Murray second match after 13h00 London time this afternoon on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. The match will be televised live on SuperSport.


WIMBLEDON TENNIS FEVER HITS ETHEKWINI

• Top SA junior tennis players do battle in Durban
• Dunlop continues its support for tennis development

Durban, South Africa – Tennis fever is at an all-time high with the Wimbledon Championships on the go in London. And this “Wimbledon fever” has gripped the KwaZulu-Natal coastal city of Durban where over 500 tennis players from across the country will participate in the Dunlop Junior Challenge which takes place from 2nd to 6th July 2014.

The annual tournament is KwaZulu-Natal’s premier junior event and forms part of the Key Health series, making it one of the most prestigious junior tennis tournaments in the country. One of the strongest line-ups of players in the history of the tournament has confirmed their entry for the 2014 event.

Boys and girls in the under 12, 14, 16 age categories, will compete at different tennis clubs throughout eThekwini as well as at the KwaZulu-Natal and Durban Tennis Association headquarters at Westridge Park Tennis Stadium in Mayville, Durban. In addition to these age groups there will be an open tournament for senior men and women which falls in line with Tennis South Africa’s aims and objectives to encourage players exiting the junior ranks to continue to remain competitive in the game.

Gavin Crooks, President of KwaZulu-Natal Tennis says KZN Tennis is ready to deliver a great event. “We are excited to be hosting another edition of the Dunlop Junior Challenge. The tournament has proved to be a success in the past and together with our sponsors, Dunlop, we are looking to make this flagship tournament one of the best of the year.”

“What is a major attraction for the tournament is that it is played over the last weekend of the third Grand Slam of the year Wimbledon when tennis fever is at an all-time high” continued Crooks.

Super-Brands Dunslaz Sales Manager, Steve Gallienne said that his company’s brand, Dunlop is happy to be part of the tournament. “We are delighted to be associated with an event boasting the cream of South Africa’s junior tennis players. As one of the world’s leading brands, we continue to commit ourselves to the development of tennis in our country especially at grassroots level.”

The seeds have been announced as follows;

Boys Singles Under 12

  1. Khololwam Montsi
  2. Sam Mcquirk
  3. Connor Kruger
  4. Tom Mchugh
  5. Carl Roothman
  6. Andreas Scott
  7. Nicos Efstratiou
  8. Ruben Fortuin

Girls Singles Under 12

  1. Rochelle Pienaar
  2. Gizelle Naude
  3. Maria Mostert
  4. Christell De Kock
  5. Christine Kruger
  6. Deanri Snyman
  7. Inge Greyling
  8. Neo Mafuyeka

Boys Singles Under 14

  1. Siphosothando Montsi
  2. Hugh Morgan
  3. Justin Liebenberg
  4. Gerhardt Becker
  5. Jonathan Bulmer
  6. Kyle Johnson
  7. Martin Dijkhuis
  8. Charl Morgan

Girls Singles Under 14

  1. Maja Gledic
  2. Jessica Assenmacher
  3. Megan Lombardi
  4. Lara Van Der Merwe
  5. Tayo Adetunji
  6. Vanessa Chigariro
  7. Danielle Arndt
  8. Georgina Kaindoah

Boys Singles Under 16

  1. Damon Kesaris
  2. Richard Thongoana
  3. Jan Berry
  4. Nikolai Manchev
  5. Cameron Petersen
  6. Dylan Walters
  7. William Thatcher
  8. Juan-Louis Van Antwerpen

Girls Singles Under 16

  1. Corin De Waal
  2. Lenka De Waal
  3. Jeanne Klopper
  4. Lise Stofberg
  5. Hanri Stofberg
  6. Amelie Boy
  7. Brieta Pienaar
  8. Jana Van Der Merwe

Men’s Singles

  1. Lance Cohen
  2. Kyle Gerber
  3. Philip Franken
  4. Clayton Herb
  5. Jason Harris
  6. Rayne Roselt
  7. Joshua Chetty
  8. Reinhard Pelser

Women’s Singles

  1. Caitlin Herb
  2. Nelise Verster
  3. Shannon Cox
  4. Tracey Bulmer
  5. Lienke De Kock
  6. Robyn Bulmer
  7. Kymberlie Van Der Bank
  8. Genevieve Barnes

KEVIN ANDERSON READY FOR BATTLE WITH WIMBLEDON CHAMPION, ANDY MURRAY

Wimbledon, London - South African tennis ace Kevin Anderson will use the middle Sunday of Wimbledon to prepare well for his much anticipated fourth round clash with defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray tomorrow (Monday).

Anderson, seeded 20 at this year’s Championships upset 16th seed Fabio Fognini of Italy of Friday to earn his spot in the last sixteen of the third Grand Slam of 2014. Anderson impressed as he came from two sets to one down to beat the fancied Italian, 4-6 6-2 4-6 6-2 6-1 in round three.

Neville Godwin, Anderson’s coach said that his charge had “done a great job so far in London”. “Physically and mentally Kevin is ready for a tough challenge. We have planned to do a light on court training session today (Sunday) close to Monday’s match time and then just relax and make sure Kevin is best prepared and ready for Andy Murray.”
“This is a great opportunity for Kevin and it is encouraging to see that Kevin is putting himself in these positions more which is so positive” continued Godwin.

Kevin Anderson will play Andy Murray second match after 13h00 London time tomorrow (Monday) on Centre Court. The match will be televised live on SuperSport.

Preview;

• Defending champion Murray will need to overcome big-serving Kevin Anderson if he is to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the 7th successive year. Murray has dropped a mere 19 games in reaching the round of 16 – the fewest he has ever dropped in reaching this stage at Wimbledon – and will hope to continue that form against Anderson on Monday. The South African is looking to become the first man from his country to reach the quarterfinals here since Wayne Ferreira in 1994.

NO. 3 ANDY MURRAY (GBR) v NO. 20 KEVIN ANDERSON (RSA)

Head-to-head: tied 1-1
2010 Australian Open Hard (O) R128 Murray 61 61 62
2011 Montreal-1000 Hard (O) R32 Anderson 63 61

                               MURRAY                                                     v                                                  ANDERSON

                                      27                                                         Age                                                  28
                                       5                                                ATP Ranking                                             18
                                      28                                                       Titles                                                  2
                                  129-31                             Career Grand Slam Record                                      28-21
                                    40-7                                       Wimbledon Record                                           6-5
                                452-142                                         Career Record                                            163-123
                                   77-15                                   Career Record - Grass                                         17-15
                                   30-11                                             2014 Record                                               25-12
                                     4-1                                       2014 Record - Grass                                            5-1
                                    17-6                                   Career Five-Set Record                                          8-5
                                       7                                  Comebacks from 0-2 Down                                        2
                                  132-82                                Career Tiebreak Record                                        86-77
                                     6-6                                      2014 Tiebreak Record                                        10-8

MURRAY is bidding to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the 7th successive year. He is through to the round of 16 here for the 8th time in 9 years [NB He missed the event here in 2007 with a wrist injury]. He has lost in the round of 16 at Wimbledon just once in 2006 (l. Marcos Baghdatis).

• In the first 3 rounds here, Murray has defeated David Goffin 61 64 75, Blaz Rola 61 61 60, and No. 27 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 62 63 62.

• Murray has dropped only 19 games in the first 3 rounds. This is the fewest number of games Murray has dropped to reach the round of 16 here. This is the 3rd time he has reached the round of 16 here without dropping a set – after 2010 and 2013. On both previous occasions, he went on to reach the quarterfinals without dropping set.

• Murray’s 2nd round win over Rola was his joint-2nd best performance in a completed Grand Slam
match (in terms of games dropped).

• Murray is bidding to extend his 16-match winning streak at the All England Club. As well as winning 2013 Wimbledon, he won the Olympic Tennis Event here in 2012 (d. Roger Federer).

• Murray recorded his 450th Tour-level match-win by defeating Goffin in the 1st round here. He became the 48th man in the Open Era – and just the 10th active player – to record 450 or more Tour-level match-wins. Tim Henman is the only other British man to have achieved the feat with a 496-274 win-loss record.

• If Murray defeats Anderson, he will face No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov or Leonardo Mayer in the quarterfinals. He leads Dimitrov 3-1 and Mayer 2-0 in previous meetings.

• Murray is bidding to become the first British man to successfully defend the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry successfully retained his 1935 Wimbledon title in 1936 [see Preview page 2].

• Last year here, Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years – since Perry in 1936 – after defeating Novak Djokovic 64 75 64 in the final. The triumph, on his 8th Wimbledon appearance, saw him go 2nd on the list for the most attempts before winning the Wimbledon title behind Goran Ivanisevic (14).

• Murray won his first Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open, becoming the first British man to win a Grand Slam title since Perry at the 1936 US Championships. He defeated Djokovic 76(10) 75 26 36 62 in the final.

• Murray is the leading British man in history in terms of Grand Slam match-wins with a 129-31 win-loss record.

Murray warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the 3rd round at Queen’s, where as defending champion he lost to Radek Stepanek 76(10) 62 to end his 19-match Tour-level winning streak on grass. Murray has a 77-15 Tour-level win-loss record on grass overall. He also played a match at the Hurlingham exhibition event, defeating Tommy Robredo 62 76.

• Murray’s best result in 2014 is reaching his 14th Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros (l. Rafael Nadal). He also reached the semifinals at Acapulco (l. Dimitrov) and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open
(l. Federer), Rotterdam (l. Marin Cilic), Miami-1000 (l. Djokovic) and Rome-1000 (l. Nadal).

• Murray is bidding to win his first title since 2013 Wimbledon. 5 of his 28 career titles have come on grass. As well as winning Wimbledon here last year, he won Queen’s in 2009 (d. James Blake), 2011 (d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) and 2013 (d. Marin Cilic) and the 2012 Olympic Tennis Event.

• Murray is on a 5-match winning streak in 5-set matches. The last time he lost a 5-set match was against Djokovic in the semifinals at the 2012 Australian Open. He has a 3-1 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Wimbledon.

• Murray helped Great Britain to reach the Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals for the first time since 1986 this year. He won both of his singles matches in the first round tie against USA and one of his 2 singles rubbers in the quarterfinals against Italy.

• Murray is coached by 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo. His wider team includes his fitness trainers Jez Green and Matt Little, physio Mark Bender and hitting partner Dani Vallverdu.

ANDERSON is bidding to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the first time in 22 appearances. He has reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon for the 1st time in 6 appearances. He has also reached the round of 16 for the 5th time in the past 7 Slams.

• In the first 3 rounds here, he defeated lucky loser Aljaz Bedene 63 75 62, Edouard Roger-Vasselin 76(0) 16 63 64, and No. 16 seed Fabio Fognini 46 64 26 62 61.

• Anderson is bidding to become the first South African man to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Wayne Ferreira in 1994. Ferreira was also the last South African man to reach the round of 16 here in 2000. Kevin Curren holds the record for the best performance by a South African man at Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals in 1983. [Curren later finished as Wimbledon runner-up representing USA in 1985.]

• Anderson has reached the round of 16 for the 3rd consecutive Grand Slam and equalled his best performance at a major. He also reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in 2013 (l. Tomas Berdych) and in 2014 (l. Berdych), and at Roland Garros in 2013 (l. David Ferrer) and in 2014 (l. Ferrer).

• Anderson’s 3rd round victory over world No. 15 Fognini is his biggest victory at a Slam and ended a 5-match losing streak against Top 20 opposition. His win over No. 16 Milos Raonic at 2013 Roland Garros is the only other time he has defeated a Top 20 player at a major.

• Anderson is bidding for this 3rd victory over a Top 5 player in 2014. He defeated No. 4 David Ferrer on a retirement at Acapulco, and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka at Indian Wells-1000. He has a 5-10 overall win-loss record against Top 10 players.

• If Anderson defeats Murray, he will face No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov or Leonardo Mayer in the quarterfinals. He trails Dimitrov 4-1 and is tied at 1-1 with Mayer in previous meetings.

• Anderson warmed up for Wimbledon by reaching the quarterfinals at Queen’s, where as No. 7 seed he lost to Radek Stepanek 16 63 62. He also played 2 matches at the Boodles exhibition event, defeating Jack Sock 61 76 10-7 and Dominic Thiem 64 76(7).

• Anderson’s best grass court result is reaching the quarterfinals at Queen’s in 2012 (l. Dimitrov) and in 2014 (l. Stepanek). This is only the 2nd time after his quarterfinal finish at 2012 Queen’s that he has recorded 3 consecutive Tour-level match-wins on grass.

• Anderson plays here on a career-high ranking of No. 18, first achieved after reaching the final at Acapulco
(l. Dimitrov) in March. Anderson’s best results this year are reaching back-to-back finals at Delray Beach (l. Marin Cilic) and Acapulco.
• Anderson has won 2 career titles, both of which came on hard court. He won his first title in 2011 in his hometown of Johannesburg (d. Somdev Devvarman) and won the title as No. 7 seed at 2012 Delray Beach (d. Marinko Matosevic). He won his 1st doubles title at 2014 Acapulco (with Matthew Ebden).

• Anderson attended the University of Illinois in 2005-07, winning the NCAA collegiate doubles title in 2006, and reaching the NCAA singles semifinals in 2007.

• Anderson received travel grants from the Grand Slam Development Fund to play junior events in 2004.

• Anderson is coached by Neville Godwin, who reached the round of 16 here in 1996.


UNDER CALDER, SPAR PROTEAS HAVE AN EYE FOR WORLD CUP GLORY

Johannesburg, South Africa – Over the last year South Africa has scaled the dizzy heights of international netball to the point where the national side, the SPAR Proteas, has attained an auspicious six place world-ranking.

SPAR Proteas Captain Maryka Holtzhausen, Dr Sherylle Calder and SPAR Proteas vice-captain Bongiwe Msomi during the press conference on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 at the Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


At the heart of that climb has been the world-renowned Sherylle Calder, a Cape Town-based doctor. Over the last year, the Proteas have been exposed to her unique work as a visual skills coach and proof of the team’s ever-improving performances was very much in evidence they recently whitewashed Scotland in a three-Test series. Prior to their SA tour, Scotland earned the reputation as giant-killers after wins over three higher world ranked countries.
Calder has already built up a reputation worldwide as a visual skills and performance specialist of note following the stellar achievements of her ‘clients’ who count among the crème de la crème of world sports; RWC winners England (2003) and South Africa (2007), elite (rugby) athletes such as Bryan Habana and Jonny Wilkinson, and golf Major winners Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, to name a few.
Wilkinson, the fly-half who scored the winning drop-goal in the 2003 World Cup final summed up the benefits of Calder’s work: “Visual performance training has added something extra to my game. By the time I receive the ball I have two or three options.”
“My work with the Proteas is geared to ensure that they will achieve maximum performance at next year’s World Cup (NWC) in Australia,” said Calder. “I have been working with them since last year.
“The objective is visual training to improve set skills which can be used on what the players see.”
Calder maintains that her unique training allows the body to perform at its best because of what the player sees.
Given the huge demand for her services worldwide - next week she’s off to work with Els ahead of next month’s Open at Royal Liverpool, Calder cannot be a spectator at all the Proteas’ matches and she relies on recordings to study their performances.
“The netballers have responded well to the training and the challenge is to take their skills to a higher level,” said Calder, adding that over time the visual training will enhance the development of high-level skills progressively.”
Netball players coming through the ranks in South Africa are not exposed to anything like Calder’s training and as a result the development of their skills awareness and instinct is stunted.


TOP SA PLAYER NAMED FOR ITF JUNIOR TENNIS TEAM

• Free States Philip Henning to tour Europe

Johannesburg, South Africa - Philip Henning of Grey College in Bloemfontein, Free State has been named for an ITF/GSDF Touring team which will compete in a series of junior tournaments during July and August in Europe. The team is part of the ITF Development Programme, which is financed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF).

Philip Henning (FS)

Picture by: BLD Communications


Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the International Tennis Federation said, “We are delighted to be able to direct these funds specifically towards the development of competitive tennis and deeply appreciate that the Grand Slam nations are in a position to support our programme. It is fitting that these great tournaments, which are showcases of our sport and provide stability for the professional game, are able to help by some tangible means to extend the competitive frontiers of tennis.”

Henning who was delighted with his selection said, “this came as a big surprise and I’m very grateful and for this amazing opportunity. I need to thank my coaches – Gustav Fichardt and MC Olivier for all the hard work put in and believing in me. I’m very glad all the effort put in paid off.”

The Team will be coached by Mr. Illou Lonfo (CIV) and Mrs. Lamia Essaadi (MAR) and the tournaments will include:

DATE TOURNAMENT
4 July Arrival in Paris
5 – 6 July Training Camp, Paris, France
7- 13 July BNP Paribas Cup, Stade Français, Paris, France
14 -19 July Windmill Cup Carl Gantois, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
21-27 July Balle Mimosa, Nantes – France
28 July – 2 Aug 34 .Int . Deutsche Tennismeisterschaft U14.Cologne, Germany
4 -9 August Lapperre Young Champions Cup, Hasselt, Belgium


EAST LONDON TO HOST SENIORS TENNIS INTER-PRO

East London, South Africa - Tennis South Africa (TSA) announced that’s the 30-45+ Seniors Inter-provincial Tournament (IPT) will be held in East London from 25th to the 28th June 2014. A total of 180 players will take part in this year’s event.

There will be seven age groups contesting the 2014 event at four East London venues.

Selborne Park Tennis Stadium will play host to the 35 A Cup and 40 A Cup groups, while Old Boys Tennis Club will host the 30 A Cup and 30 Men group, Stirling High School will host the 35+ Men and 40 B Cup groups and Beacon Bay Tennis Club will host the 45 A Cup group.

Matches begin at 08h00 each morning and entrance is free.

Ronnie van’t Hof, TSA Board member responsible for Seniors Tennis in the country said that East London can expect some top class tennis action. “The IPT is such a fabulous event on and off the court. Tennis is largely an individual game so for players to be able to participate as teams for their regions is important for the growth and development of tennis. The tennis will be of the highest standard and off court and after play the socialising amongst the teams will be just as active.”


BLOOMING GOOD SHOW A BOOST FOR SPAR PROTEAS

Cape Town, South Africa – The euphoria of whitewashing the ever-improving Scotland Thistles will not cloud the SPAR Proteas’ realization that they need to raise the bar if they want to be classed in international netball circles as serious medal contenders at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

Chrisna Van Zyl (left) and Erin Burger (right) both from South Africa celebrates after winning 3-0 against Scotland in the SPAR Challenge netball test series at Bellville Velodrome on Saturday, 21 June 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.

SPAR Proteas vice-captain Bongiwe Msomi in action during the 3rd test between South Africa and Scotland at Bellville Velodrome on Saturday, 21 June 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


The South Africans’ series win meant that they stepped up the International Netball Federation (INF) world standings from sixth to fifth position behind Jamaica, England, Australia and pace-setters New Zealand. At the Games, where 12 countries will be competing, South Africa has been drawn in Pool B along with England, Australia, Trinidad &Tobago, Wales and Barbados.
Scotland will campaign in Pool A where their rivals will be New Zealand, Malawi, Jamaica, Northern Ireland and St Lucia.
Speaking after Saturday’s third Test in Bellville, Proteas head coach Elize Kotzé said the three Tests over as many days help her identify the areas her side needs to work on in the run-up to the Games.
“We now have a good idea of what we need to do in training before we start playing in Glasgow. We were very well tested by a Scotland side that showed improvement every time they played,” said Kotzé. “It was a wonderful opportunity for the squad to take to court and test our combinations. I’m happy with the way the newcomers came through the matches and they all did very well.”
The back-to-back wins over three consecutive days have instilled a fresh bout of confidence in the Proteas’ ranks. It was equally morale-boosting because the 12th world ranked Thistles has already defeated South Africa’s Pool B competitors Trinidad &Tobago and Wales earlier this year.
“Going into the Games our confidence will be right up there,” said Kotzé. “We started off perhaps slower than we would have liked but then we were made to work much harder as the matches went by. It was a wonderful test of character and I was pleased with the way the Proteas showed fighting spirit.
“We’re excited with the challenge the Games will throw up and we’ll be well prepared.”
Kotze used the three Tests to try key players in a number of roles and she felt that the outcome was that the team now has more selection options at the Games. She added that the fierce competition over the three days has brought about a new resolve in the national squad to lift their playing standards.
When the Scottish contingent arrived in South Africa a few days ago, there was always a hint that the Thistles were a better side than their 12th world ranking would suggest, more so after their giant-killing wins over higher ranked countries like Wales (8), Trinidad & Tobago (10) and Northern Ireland (11).
Their coach New Zealand-born Gail Parata may have been at the receiving end of three defeats but she always felt that the reverses would stand her side in good stead for future matches on the international stages. She was highly encouraged by the manner in which her charges managed to close the gap with South Africa as the three Tests progressed.
“We have to say the South Africans have an amazing team and I’m thrilled that my team showed improvement every time we were up against them,” said Parata. “There is still so much of a gap between us (SA and Scotland) but we showed that we are it. We played well at times but against South Africa you need to play well all the time.”
Parata said once the teams have arrived in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games she will look to round off the Thistles’ training by playing a friendly against the SPAR Proteas just ahead of the start of the event.


SPAR PROTEAS TOO PRICKLY FOR THISTLES WITH WHITEWASH SERIES WIN

Cape Town, South Africa – The SPAR Proteas wielded the whitewash brush to good effect as they ran out 46-33 third Test winners over Scotland’s Thistles at the Bellville Velodrome, in Cape Town, on Saturday afternoon.

Team South Africa celebrates after winning the SPAR Challenge netball test series between South Africa and Scotland at Bellville Velodrome on June 21, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. From L-R: Front (Adele Niemand, Maryka Holtzhausen, Precious Mthembu, Bongi Msomi, Zanele Mdodana) Back (Phumza Maweni, Lenize Potgieter, Melissa Myburgh, Chrisna van Zyl, Erin Burger, Kefiloe Tsotetsi and Karla Mostert)
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


With earlier 56-29 and 41-25 wins from the first two Tests under their belts, the Proteas will be off to next month’s Commonwealth Games with loads of confidence in their ranks.
Despite the 3-0 series defeat, the Thistles improved with every outing and they provided the Proteas with a great opportunity to work on areas of their game that needed attention.
With the likelihood of a series whitewash at the back of their minds, the Proteas started off nervously and that saw them trail 1-2 after only three minutes play.
This served as a wake-up call for the Proteas who responded with superb intensity as their silky skills came to the fore and in the space of six minutes they halted the Thistles’ charge by running up a 7-4 lead to a rapturous applause from the fans.
As play moved towards the end of the first quarter, the frenetic playing patterns gave way to a more cautious approach on both sides. During this phase of play, Scotland were the more prolific scorers as their moves proved the more penetrative and surprisingly they saw the quarter out in relative comfort with a 11-9 lead.
Another tense start by the Proteas who resumed with two line-up changes made for a slowish fight-back, which needed some three minutes play for them to draw level at 12-all as the local fans roared their delight.
A two-minute time-out midway through this quarter after an injury to Thistles captain Lesley MacDonald gave the two coaches a chance for animated pep talks and when play continued the teams upped the tempo.
This made for action which continued in to-and-from fashion and the scoreboard seesawed as the ferocious action, littered with turn-overs, ahead of the halftime break saw the Proteas regain the lead with a slender 20-19 lead.
This second-quarter display by the Thistles was possibly their best quarter performance and although they surrendered the lead, they still outscored their higher world-ranked opponents by 10 goals to 9.
The Proteas were far more assured and confident under the post when play resumed. It was great reward for vastly improved inter-passing which caused the Thistles to lose their markers.
It also helped the Proteas to play with less anxiety and they made their efforts count as they raced ahead 26-21 with nine minutes play left in this quarter.
The rising score line impacted on the Proteas’ momentum as it gathered pace and the Thistles were left chasing the match.
Their third-quarter superiority in all phases of play saw the Proteas pull away with a massive 10-goal lead at 34-24.
When the final quarter’s play resumed, the Proteas were not allowed to dominate possession as the Thistles managed close down the spaces in the opening minutes.
However, they were never able to cope with the Proteas’ unrelenting pressure although they slowed down the victory march with fierce defence before the South Africans signed off with a 46-33 triumph.


SPAR PROTEAS WRAP UP SERIES WIN WITHDASHING

Cape Town, South Africa – There was no stopping South Africa’s gallant SPAR Proteas as they wrapped a series win over Scotland’s Thistles with a 41-25 triumph in the second Test at the Bellville Velodrome, in Cape Town, on Friday night.
The Proteas recorded a 56-29 win in Thursday’s first Test and Friday night’s effort put the three-Test netball series beyond the visiting Thistles.

Maryka Holtzhause of South Africa shoots for goal with Hayley Mulheron defending during the 2nd test between South Africa and Scotland at Bellville Velodrome on June 20, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


The final Test will be played on Saturday (start 3pm) at the same venue.
Both countries used the series to wrap up their preparations for their netball campaign at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
After their auspicious first Test win, it was important for the Proteas side to make their own statement of intent by maintaining their impressive form.
They did so in style as they snatched their first goal in under a minute but then their play became an incredibly scrappy affair with turnovers becoming more and more frequent. Scotland capitalized heavily and six minutes into the game they ran up a 6-4 lead.
The situation called for the Proteas to be more ball cautious and accurate in attack but the fight back became more complex as the Thistles varied their game somewhat.
The Proteas managed to wrest the initiative in midcourt and gradually gained the upper hand as the teams traded goal-for-goal and by the end of the first quarter the hosts were marginally ahead 9-8.
The first half of the second quarter was a comparatively low scoring affair for both sides mainly as a result of sporadic and injudicious passes that lead numerous turnovers.
Once the Proteas managed to close down space and force the Thistles to play backwards they started imposing themselves and enjoyed a strong passage of play which earned them a prolific scoring streak with six unanswered goals.
Scotland closed out the quarter strongly to stay in touch with the Proteas who managed a 19-15 halftime lead.
One of the stand-out players for the Proteas was new cap, the 20-year-old Lenise Potgieter, who was ruthless in the scoring circle and that accounted for the South Africa’s admirable 83% goal advantage at the break.
After the restart, the Proteas protected their spaces rather effectively and this helped to stifle tourists’ attacking intent. The turn-over count started going the Proteas’ way and four minutes into the third quarter they managed to open up a 23-19 lead.
The score sheet advance seemed to inject a greater sense of urgency in Proteas’ play and as they upped the tempo their pace proved too hard to contain.
By the time the third quarter ended the Proteas had managed to open a six-goal lead (26-20), which will prove to be a handy cushion for the final 15-minute flurry.
The 6th world-ranked Proteas did enough in the opening minutes of the final quarter to take the match away from their 12th world-ranked opponents and five minutes later the 26-20 score line jumped to 35-23, for a 12-goal margin.
In the dying minutes, the Proteas showed signs of good movement and fluent passing moves as the Thistles showed signs of wilting under the pressure.
The South Africa closed out the Test at 41-25 to wrap up the second Test and the series, with one Test to go.


SPAR PROTEAS MOW DOWN THE THISTLES IN FIRST TEST ROUT

Cape Town, South Africa – South Africa’s SPAR Proteas made an auspicious start to the three-Test series against Scotland’s Thistles with an emphatic 56-29 win in the first match at the Bellville Velodrome, in Cape Town, on Thursday evening.
The 12th world-ranked Scots went into the first Test on the back of several giant-killing feats in recent months when they recorded wins over higher-ranked teams such as Wales (8), Trinidad & Tobago (10) and Northern Ireland (11).

Karla Mostert of South Africa (Left) and Lynsey Gallagher of Scotland compete for the ball during the 1st test match between South Africa and Scotland at Bellville Velodrome on June 19, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


However, the Proteas’ class proved a tad too much for the Thistles who were left chasing the game when the halftime break dawned.
At the start, turn-overs and interceptions came thick and fast as both made nervous starts. The Proteas seemed to settle down sooner but the Thistles’ defence stood firm allowing the visitors to go toe-to-toe with their SA hosts in the opening quarter.
Midway through this passage of the game, the Proteas held a slight 5-4 lead after Scots managed to close down the spaces effectively by contesting fiercely.
Lesley MacDonald, Scotland captain and most experienced player, suffered an eighth-minute injury and needed first-aid attention. This seemed a cue for the Proteas to step up their game and they closed out the first quarter strongly with a 13-5 advantage.
Chrisna van Zyl thrived from the excellent service and was responsible for the bulk of the Proteas’ tally with countless scoring shots from all different ranges in the circle.
The Scots started on a promising note with the first goal after the restart but the Proteas shrug off the setback with a stream of fast-paced attacks from the flanks as they stamped their authority on the game.
The Proteas’ defence rose to the occasion with smart interceptions when the Scots looked to claw their way back as the second quarter wound its course. This helped to boost the confidence in the Proteas’ ranks and they maintained their shape superbly as they threatened to double their tally.
By the time the halftime whistle sounded the Proteas had advanced the scoreline from 13-5 to 26-12, giving them a massive 14-goal lead.
Both sides made changes during the break and the fresh personnel seemed to take time to fit into their sides’ playing patterns.
However, the Proteas soon wrested the initiative again and as they exerted increasing pressure unforced errors crept into Scotland’s game and this limited the visitors’ opportunities.
Scotland varied their strategy midway through the third quarter and managed a few goals although they never threatened the Proteas’ lead.
With Melissa Myburgh, playing off the bench, in devastating form in the circle, the Proteas closed out the third-quarter action strongly to a rapturous applause from the fans with a commanding 40-23 scoreline.
Scotland tried to shore up their defence with a change for the final quarter’s play. The Proteas also brought on fresh legs and the Scots found the new energy was too hard to contain.
The fourth quarter turned out to be the Proteas’ most prolific passage of play as they responded with two goals every time Scots managed to breach their defence.
There was no let up by the Proteas at the death as they rounded off a superb first Test performance with a runaway 56-29 win.
Scottish skipper MacDonald said her team looked like getting their game together in the third quarter but their efforts were punctuated by too many errors.
Maryka Holtzhausen, the Proteas captain, said her side scored a “good” win but there were still many aspects of the game they will need to work on ahead of the second Test at Bellville on Friday.


GIANT-KILLERS SCOTLAND WILL FORCE SPAR PROTEAS TO ADAPT

Cape Town, South Africa – South Africa’s capacity to respond adequately to Scotland’s style of play will be the major challenge facing the SPAR Proteas in the three-Test netball series which starts on Thursday at the Bellville Velodrome.

From L-R: Lesley Macdonald (Scottish Thistles Captain), Gail Parata (Scottish Thistles Coach), Elize Kotze (SPAR Proteas Coach) and Maryka Holtzhausen (SPAR Proteas Captain) at the press conference held at the Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel in Cape Town ahead of the SPAR Challenge, South Africa vs Scotland test series.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


The national netball coach Elize Kotze said South Africa, the world No 6 side, have huge respect for the 12th world ranked Scottish Thistles after they defeated three higher world ranked sides in the past few months. Wales (8), Trinidad & Tobago (10) and Northern Ireland (11) have all perished at the vastly-improved Scottish outfit.
Last year, Scotland appointed former New Zealand netball star Gail Parata as the head coach for the Thistles and since then the side has gone from strength to strength.
Kotze said when she researched the Thistle the influence of the former Silver Ferns stalwart was apparent.
“This Scotland team has improved with every Test and one has started to see the hand of their New Zealand coach, especially when they’re up against higher world-ranked sides” said Kotze. “The biggest challenge facing us in this series is to adapt to whatever Scotland throws at us.”
The SPAR Proteas squad has called up three newcomers for the three-Test series but they will enjoy limited game time since the emphasis will be on winning the three matches.
“In the three Tests we’ll start out with the players that have already proved themselves because we want to focus on the detail of the game,” said Kotze. “We know what we’re up against in Scotland and we’ve had to adapt our style of defence for this phase of our preparation for the Commonwealth Games in just over weeks’ time. I’d like to try new combinations at some stage and our new caps have shown to be absolutely natural athletes.”
Parata said after the Thistles’ giant-killing acts in recent times, victory over South Africa would the “icing on the cake”. She said her squad was a mixture of youth and experience.
“We have had great preparation coming into this series and a victory over the Proteas would be the icing on the cake. We managed some great performances this year and South Africa offers just the kind of opposition that will help us in our quest in perfecting our game. We’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience,” said Parata.
The Scots defence has been brilliant at times this season and Parata said she enjoyed great input from the experienced players in the ranks.
“It’s not just all about my New Zealand input. I have taken what Scotland already has and tried to bring it altogether. After 14 years as a player, I love developing players and we now have this amazing chance in South Africa to grow our game,” said Parata.


SIMMONDS & SCHOLTZ TAKE FINAL SUN CITY TENNIS TITLES

• Two titles in a row for unseeded South African tennis ace Nik Scholtz
• Simmonds wins the double at Sun City

Sun City, South Africa - Unseeded South African, Nick Scholtz is undoubtedly the “high roller” at Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure. Scholtz won his second Sun City Futures in as many weeks when he came from behind to upset third seeded fellow South African Fritz Wolmarans 4-6 6-2 6-4 in Friday’s final.

Nik Scholtz of South Africa and Chanel Simmonds of South Africa were crowned the Sun City Futures 3 Champions on Friday at Sun City in the North West Province.

Photo by: BLD Communications.


The 23 year old has had the best two weeks of tennis ever, ending the tournament on a ten match winning streak and beating seven seeds en route to capturing the two singles titles.

“I knew today’s final was going to be a real battle” said Scholtz following victory. “Fritz is a hell of a player with a big serve so I had to pull out all the stops to take the match” continued Scholtz.

And a royal battle it was over a lengthy 2 hours 25 minutes.

Scholtz started strongly breaking Wolmarans in the opening game of the match. In the fourth game Wolmarans broke back to level at 2-2. The set went with serve until the tenth game when Wolmarans broke to take the opener 6-4.

In the second set, Scholtz regrouped early and broke serve twice to lead 4-0. After winning the second set 6-2, Scholtz needed only one break in the final set to clinch the set 6-4, match and title.

“I was serving well but there were stages throughout the match that Fritz battled with his serve and I was able to take advantage” said Scholtz. “In fact Fritz surprisingly served quite a few double faults too which helped me. It was always going to be the battle of the big serves and with me serving better and Fritz struggling with his serve I had the upper hand” said Scholtz.

Wolmarans, despite the loss said that he had enjoyed a good three weeks at Sun City. “To have won title, reached a final and a semifinal in the last three weeks is more than I expected” said Wolmarans. “I came into Sun City without having played a lot of tournaments due to a long layoff from injury, did well here and can leave with a lot of matches under my belt and added confidence.”

In the women’s singles, top seeded Chanel Simmonds showed her class and experience when she won the Sun City Futures 3 title on Friday. Simmonds beat fellow South African, third seeded Madrie Le Roux 6-2 6-2 in the 1 hour 28 minute final.

Playing her best tennis all week, Simmonds took control of the match in the fifth game of the first set when she broke serve to lead 3-2. Le Roux put so much effort into the first four games, she looked like a tired and weary marathon runner on the changeover after the break. In fact Le Roux broke Simmonds serve in the first game of the match and looked like a player on a mission. Simmonds promptly broke serve back the second game and then both players held serve until the sixth game where Simmonds broke to lead 4-2. Simmonds closed out the first set 6-2.

“I was very consistent, kept the ball going yet played with good pace which tired Madrie” said Simmonds. “I was also playing the high ball which forced Madrie to put in extra effort on her shots.”

Simmonds got the early break (second game) in the second and raced to a 3-0 lead. Two further breaks by Simmonds in the sixth and eighth games gave Simmonds the set 6-2, the match and her second Futures title in South Africa (First was the Potchefstroom Futures in 2012).

Simmonds made it a doubles title when she teamed up with fellow Fed Cup squad member, Michelle Sammons to win the doubles title. The top seeds beat fourth seeds, Ilze Hattingh and Madrie Le Roux (the former African junior champions) 6-3 6-3 in the final.

The men’s doubles title went to top seeds Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse. In the all South African final, O’Brien and Roelofse beat second seeds Nik Scholtz and Tucker Vorster 7-6 (6) 6-4.


SOUTH AFRICAN’S DOMINATE AT SUN CITY

• “Giant killer” Nik Scholtz through to his second consecutive final at Sun City
• Top seed Chanel Simmonds books a place in Sun City final

Sun City, South Africa - South Africa’s Nik Scholtz is on a roll at Sun City. The 23 year old Greytown resident, who has just returned from a US College Scholarship at the University of Mississippi, is through to his second Futures final in two weeks.

Top seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa in action at the Sun City Futures 3 on Thursday. Simmonds beat unseeded fellow South African Ilze Hattingh 6-4 7-5 in the semifinals.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


Last week, Scholtz captured the Sun City Futures 2 title and on Thursday the tall and lanky unseeded Davis Cup player beat fellow countryman Ruan Roelofse, 7-6 (4) 6-1 in the semifinals.

Roelofse, seeded seven, is the third seeded player Scholtz has beaten this week. “Giant killing” Scholtz goes into Fridays’ final on a nine match winning streak at Sun City. All in all Scholtz has taken the scalps of seven
seeded players in the nine matches he has played at Sun City.

In the first set, being big servers, as expected Scholtz and Roelofse held serve throughout and the set inevitably went into the tie-breaker. Scholtz played a smart breaker returning well. But at 3-3 Roelofse served a rare double fault, giving Scholtz the mini-break and advantage.

“I knew going into the match that Ruan serves big and plays his forehand well. Ruan actually played a good game, I was just able in that tie breaker to return that much better and play his weaker backend side more” said Scholtz.

Roelofse shocked top seed Dean O’Brien in the quarterfinals using his big serve and forehand to full advantage. “I felt I played a good first set and anything could have happened. I served well and felt good but in the second set Nik was by far the better player” said Roelofse following his loss.

In the second set, Scholtz broke serve in the opening game and then raced to a 4-0 lead. Roelofse held serve in the fifth game but that was the only game he was to win in the set as Scholtz broke him three times to win the second set 6-1 and earn himself a spot in the final.

In Friday’s final, Scholtz will play fellow South African Fritz Wolmarans. Wolmarans the third seed beat “temperamental” sixth seeded Swede Milos Sekulic 4-6 6-3 6-4 in his semifinal.

Wolmarans won the first Futures 1 title and lost in the semifinal of last week’s Futures 2 event. So on Friday the two previous Futures title winners will do battle for a second crown. It will be the first meeting between Scholtz and Wolmarans.

“I didn’t play a pretty match. I struggled to work a game plan against Milos, he is a tough player to read” said Wolmarans. “On Friday it’s the big faceoff between Nik and I, both won a title here at Sun City so on court Friday the winner will take it all” said Wolmarans.

In the women’s singles, top seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa got sweet revenge over junior Ilze Hattingh in her semifinal. Simmonds won the battle 6-4 7-5. Last week in the Futures 2 quarterfinals Simmonds lost to Hattingh so Thursdays win was extra special. “I really wanted this win after losing to Ilze last week. I didn’t play my best but I played solid. Ilze was really motivated out there and made me fight hard for the win” said Simmonds.

In Friday’s final Simmonds will play fellow South African third seed Madrie Le Roux. Le Roux caused a minor upset when she sidelined second seed Clothilde De Bernardi of France 5-7 6-3 6-1. Le Roux was delighted with her win. “For the first time in two weeks I felt I played a good game. I was so sick (throat infection) going into this week I was unsure whether I would be able to play or not. I was lucky to get a favorable draw so I made the most of that and it’s great to be in the final.”

Simmonds and Le Roux have played each other once before in the Futures event of Potchefstroom two years ago. Simmonds won that encounter in straight sets.

The finals of the Sun City Futures 3 will be played from 10hoo at the Gary Player Country Club of Sun City on Friday.


KIWI-LEAD SCOTLAND OUT TO CUT BACK SPAR PROTEAS

Johannesburg, South Africa – Scotland stand to benefit hugely from the three-Test netball series against hosts South Africa in Bellville, Cape Town, from 19-21 June.
The Scottish Thistles, as the country’s national netball team is known, are ranked 12th by the International Netball Federation, and like South Africa, will using the three Tests to round off preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, next month.
Scotland’s fortunes are nowadays guided by New Zealand-born coach Gail Parata, who was a stand-out player for New Zealand’s Silver Ferns a few years ago.
Parata said on Wednesday she was thrilled that the matches against the sixth world-ranked SPAR Proteas will be taking place, ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
“This is a huge opportunity for us (Scotland) in terms of preparing for the Commonwealth Games,” said Parata. “Considering the Proteas have a so much higher world-ranking than us, we know it is going to be tough. We’re so grateful to be playing matches against a classy side like South Africa. I have seen how the South Africans have improved over the last year or so.”
Since the start of the year Parata has engaged her side in several internationals and their results have allowed Scotland to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
“This year we have played against several teams ranked in the world top-10 and we’ve now managed to clinch a place in the 2015 World Cup in Sydney,” said Parata. “The matches against South Africa are an opportunity to keep improving because South Africa will field a high-calibre side. Scotland are under no illusions that we are in for three tough Tests.”
Parata and her coaching staff have managed their squad well in recent weeks, and unlike other northern hemisphere sides, have remained relatively injury-free. As a result their entire 12-man Commonwealth squad will be competing in Cape Town.
“We have been very lucky that all our leading players have not had injuries and we will be playing with our strongest team. It’s a great way for the squad to warm-up for the Commonwealth Games against really good opposition,” Parata said, adding that she is looking to tweak her side’s style of play.
“We don’t have the height that some of the other teams have and so we look to play a short, sharp type of game. It’s a challenge for us because teams that have height in their ranks look to get the ball in the air. I’m looking to keep our play unorthodox, and I’d Scotland to play the way the Aussies do.”
Parata paid tribute to Netball South Africa for the manner in which they managed to secure the three-Test series at such short notice.
“Netball South Africa was brilliant in the way they put the series together at such short notice. They have been really accommodating and we looking forward to playing a role in making the series in Cape Town a major success for both countries.”
Scotland has never beaten their South African counterparts in an international netball fixture.


SOUTH AFRICA VS SCOTLAND NETBALL ACTION ON SUPERSPORT

Johannesburg, South Africa – SuperSport will be broadcasting the forthcoming SPAR Challenge netball test series, South Africa vs Scotland live next week on consecutive days, from 19-21 June 2014.

The three test series will be played at the Velodrome in Bellville, Cape Town and a series win by the SPAR Proteas will put them up to number 5 on the world netball rankings.
The SPAR Challenge is an important preparation for team South Africa as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in July and next year’s Netball World Championships in Australia.

South Africa have never lost to Scotland in a netball test series but Scotland are well prepared as hosts of the Commonwealth Games so the world number 12 outfit are expecting to give the SPAR Proteas a tough challenge in the Mother City.

BROADCAST DETAILS
Schedule Date Channel Time Sport Status Details
19-Jun-14 SuperSport Select SA 18:55 - 21:00 Netball
SA Netball Test 1st Test: South Africa v Scotland
20-Jun-14 SuperSport Select SA 08:00 - 09:30 Netball Highlights SA Netball Test 1st Test: South Africa v Scotland
20-Jun-14 SuperSport Select SA 18:55 - 21:00 Netball
SA Netball Test 2nd Test: South Africa v Scotland
21-Jun-14 SuperSport Select SA 08:00 - 09:30 Netball Highlights SA Netball Test 2nd Test: South Africa v Scotland
21-Jun-14 SuperSport Select SA 14:55 - 17:00 Netball
SA Netball Test 3rd Test: South Africa v Scotland
22-Jun-14 SuperSport Select SA 08:00 - 09:30 Netball Highlights SA Netball Test 3rd Test: South Africa v Scotland


TOP SEED DEAN O’BRIEN UPSET AT SUN CITY

• Simmonds finally finds her true form

Sun City, South Africa - Top men’s seed at the Sun City Futures 3 tournament, Dean O’Brien of South Africa crashed out of the quarterfinals on Wednesday. His doubles partner and fellow Davis Cup team mate, Ruan Roelofse was responsible for the damage. Roelofse needed only two breaks, one in the first set and another in the second set to beat O’Brien 6-4 6-4.

Seventh seed Ruan Roelofse of South Africa in action during the quarterfinals of the Sun City Futures 3. Roelofse upset top seed Dean O’Brien 6-4 6-4 on Wednesday. Roelofse will play unseeded Nik Scholtz of South Africa in the semifinals on Thursday.

Picture by: BLD Communications.


“That was probably the best match I have played since getting to Sun City. My serve and forehand were on form and I felt Dean played decently, I just played that much better” said Roelofse following victory.

Last week’s unseeded Futures 2 champion, Nik Scholtz continued his winning match streak to seven matches when he upset American fourth seed Tyler Hochwalt 7-6 (4) 6-4. In a repeat of last week’s first round clash where Scholtz beat Hochwalt in three tight sets, Scholtz looked much more composed and in control on court.

Scholtz will now play eighth seeded Ruan Roelofse in the all South Africa semifinals on Thursday. The two battled last week for close to three hours which Scholtz won but Roelofse had a match point in that match so Thursdays tussle should be a good one.

In the bottom half of the draw, third seeded South African, Fritz Wolmarans was never troubled by fifth seeded Swede Jacob Adaktusson winning 6-4 6-1. In Thursday’s semifinal, Wolmarans plays another Swede, sixth seeded Milos Sekulic. Sekulic ended the fine run of local qualifier Stefan Fortmann but needed to fight hard for his 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory.
Wolmarans, winner of the first week Futures 1 title looks solid on court and said he is “working hard at winning his second Futures title at Sun City.”

Women’s top seed, Chanel Simmonds won through to the last four with an easy 6-1 6-1 triumph over seventh seed, Stephanie Kent of the USA. Simmonds now faces her unseeded South African countrywoman, Ilze Hattingh in a repeat of last week’s quarterfinals. Hattingh playing in her last year as a junior, beat Simmonds in the Futures 2 event and went on to capture her first Futures title on Saturday. Hattingh is the player to beat at the moment, but Simmonds who is the country’s second highest ranked women’s player on the world rankings will be going all out to get revenge.

“I didn’t play that well last week when Ilze beat me. The wind was troubling me and I was hitting my frame a lot. It was just one of those days. I am feeling much better about my game this week, am confident and striking the ball well so I am ready for some revenge on Thursday” said Simmonds.

Madrie Le Roux, the South African Fed Cup player, seeded three booked her spot in the semifinals with a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win over sixth seed American Alexandra Riley. Le Roux will now face second seeded French star Clothilde De Bernardi. De Bernardi ended the “giant-killing” run of unseeded Agata Baranska of Poland.


SEEDS SAIL THROUGH TO SUN CITY FUTURES QUARTERFINALS

Sun City, South Africa - All the remaining seeds, bar one, in the men’s and women’s Sun City Futures 3 international tennis tournament being played at Sun City in the North West moved in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

The only seed to fall wayside was eighth seeded Brazilian, Augusto Laranja who was beaten 3-6 4-6 by the big serving South African, Nik Scholtz.
Unseeded Scholtz, who won last week’s tournament at the same venue, said his game is improving day by day. “I arrived late for the start of the second tournament from the USA and struggled to get into a rhythm on the altitude. Last week my game improved match by match and I won the title and I am feeling even more confident about my game after beating Augusto today.”

Scholtz will now play American Tyler Hochwalt in the last eight on Wednesday. Hochwalt, seeded four beat Ronak Manuja of India 6-4 6-2. Last week Scholtz upset Hochwalt en route to winning the title so the American will be going all out Wednesday to gain revenge over the tall and lanky Greytown 23 year old.

The only seed to drop a set on Tuesday was third seed Fritz Wolmarans. The South African Davis Cup player had a second set scare in beating compatriot Damon Gooch 6-4 5-7 6-2. Wolmarans, who won the first Sun City Futures 1 title, now will play Jacob Adaktusson of Sweden for a place in the semifinals.

Adaktusson and fellow Swede, Milos Sekulic, the fifth and sixth seed respectively moved into the quarterfinals without dropping sets. Adaktusson struggled in his opening set against Cape Town wild card, Lloyd Harris winning 7-5 6-3 whilst Sekulic was a surprisingly easy 6-1 6-3 winner over up and coming American College sensation, Michael Grant.

Top seed, Dean O’Brien of Sandton South Africa was never troubled in his 6-4 6-3 win over finalist at the SA National Junior Championships, Kris van Wyk a qualifier this week at Sun City. O’Brien in Wednesday’s quarterfinals will play his doubles partner, eighth seeded Ruan Roelofse.

In the women’s singles, the top four seeds were in devastating form. Top women’s seed Chanel Simmonds (RSA), second seed Clothilde De Bernardi (Fra), third seed Madrie Le Roux (RSA) and fourth seed Natasha Fourouclas (RSA) all won in straight sets losing only eight games between them in their second round wins.

Only sixth seeded American, Alexandra Riley was extended to three sets by Bulgarian Ani Vangelova. Riley came from behind in her final set to beat Vangelova 5-7 6-2 7-5 to set up a quarterfinal clash with Le Roux.

Last week’s title winner, junior Ilze Hattingh from Pretoria kept on her winning way not losing a game in her demolishing win over fellow countrywoman Lindsay Truscott. Hattingh, who upset fifth seed Michelle Sammons on round one, meets Natasha Fourouclas on Wednesday in the last eight.

The quarterfinals of the Sun City Futures 3 will be played on Wednesday from 10h00.


PROTEAS TO TAKE ON SCOTLAND IN PREPARATION FOR COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Pretoria, South Africa – The success of the five-week Brutal Fruit Netball Cup will be put to the test later this month when the SPAR national netball team play a three-Test series against Scotland in Cape Town.
The Tests will be played at the Velodrome in Bellville on consecutive days, between June 19 and June 21.

SPAR Netball Proteas squad to face Scotland in the SPAR Challenge, South Africa vs Scotland was announced on Sunday by Netball South Africa. From L-R: Back – Elize Kotze (SPAR Proteas coach), Karla Mostert, Maryke Holtzhausen, Adele Niemand, Chrisna Van Zyl, Zanele Mdodana, Melissa Myburgh, Phumza Maweni, Kefiloe Tsotetsi. Front - Bongi Msomi, Precious Mthembu, Erin Burger and Lenise Potgieter.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott


“It is a very opportune time for us to play this series,” said Netball South Africa (NSA) President Mimi Mthethwa.
“We have just finished the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup, and this series gives us a chance to see how the players have progressed. Also, with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July our big focus for this year, we will be able to try out the team and see how prepared the players are for the challenge ahead of them.”

There are three new caps in the squad announced after the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup final on Sunday.
“The Scotland series is an ideal opportunity to expose young players to international netball,” said head coach of the SPAR national team, Elize Kotze.
“Lenise Potgieter is a very talented young player. She’s only 20, but she showed a great maturity during the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup, standing up against experienced defenders like Karla Mostert and Adele Niemand. She has an amazing reach, and she plays very like Irene van Dyk,” said Kotze.
“The other two newcomers are both defenders, Kefiloe “Fifi” Tsotetsi and Phumza Maweni. Phumza was outstanding for the Southern Stings, who won all their matches, and what I love about Fifi is that she trains every day against Chante Steyn at the Northern Flames, and that will help us when we meet those huge Jamaicans at the Commonwealth Games.”
Steyn, at 195 centimetres, was one of the tallest and most solid players in the Brutal Fruit Netball Cup.

The team to play against Scotland will to a large extent be the team that will represent South Africa at the Commonwealth Games.
Scotland are ranked 13th by the International Netball Federation, while South Africa are ranked sixth. The two teams are in different pools at the Commonwealth Games, with Scotland coming up against New Zealand, Jamaica, Malawi, Northern Ireland and St Lucia, while South Africa are grouped with Australia, England, Wales, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados.
“If we win all three Tests against Scotland, we will move up to fifth in the world rankings,” said Kotze.

SPAR Proteas squad: Zanele Mdodana, Chrisna van Zyl, Erin Burger, Karla Mostert, Adele Niemand, Maryka Holtzhausen, Melissa Myburgh, Lenize Potgieter, Bongi Msomi, Precious Mthembu, Kefiloe Tsotetsi and
Phumza Maweni.

Tickets for the Scotland series are available at the door of the Velodrome. They cost R10 for children under 13, and R20 for people from 14 upwards.


TUCKER VORSTER SIDELINED IN OPENING ROUND OF SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa - It was a full days first round tennis for all the players of the Sun City Futures 3 in the North West province on Monday.

Top seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa in commanding form in beating Warona Mdlulwa (South Africa) 6-1 6-0 in round 1 of the Sun City Futures 3 being played in Sun City, North West Province on Monday.
Picture by: BLD Communications

Second seed Tucker Vorster of South Africa made an early exit of the Sun City Futures 3 International tennis tournament being played in North West Province. Fellow South African Stefan Fortmann upset Vorster 6-2 6-1 in round 1 on Monday. Vorster suffering with migraines and cramps throughout the match was treated by Sun City medical staff following his loss.


Day one of the last Futures tournament of the three event series saw all the men’s and women’s players in action due to the fact that the tournament this week will finish on Friday and not Saturday like the previous two tournaments.

The biggest upset of the day was the exit of second men’s seed Tucker Vorster of South Africa. Fellow South African Stefan Fortmann did the damage beating Vorster 6-2 6-1. Admittedly, Vorster, a finalist of both two previous tournaments, was not himself on court today. “I wasn’t well on court, I was cramping and had a migraine throughout the match. I was unsure whether to play or not but felt I should give it a go but it didn’t work out like I hopped” said Vorster following his loss.

Top seed Dean O’Brien said he “felt real good” and “played a much better match” in his 6-1 6-2 win over Richard Ashforth in the all South African first round clash.

Third seeded Fritz Wolmarans also of South Africa was a comfortable 6-1 6-2 winner over Croatian Stefan Merunka whilst last week’s champion, Nik Scholtz ousted American Anderson Reed 6-1 6-4.

There were two upsets recorded in the women’s singles. Last weeks unseeded winner, South Africa’s Ilze Hattingh continued with her good form when she upset fellow countrywoman and fifth seed Michelle Sammons. In the “battle of the champions” Hattingh beat Sammons, winner of the first Sun City Futures event, 6-0 2-6 6-1.
In the second upset in the women’s draw Poland’s Agata Baranska shocked eighth seeded American, Casey Robinson 6-3 6-1.

Top seed in the women’s singles, Chanel Simmonds was devastating needing less than an hour to beat Warona Mdlulwa (South Africa) 6-1 6-0. In round two Simmonds will come up against German, Anelie Intert.

Seeded South African’s, Madrie Le Roux (3) and Natasha Fourouclas (4) also won through to round two. Le Roux beat new Zealander Chelsea Te Tai 6-2 3-6 6-1 whilst Fourouclas beat Vanja Klaric of Serbia 6-1 6-4.


SEEDS & WILD CARDS ANNOUNCED FOR FINAL SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa – Tennis South Africa announced the seeds and wildcards on Sunday for the final Sun City Futures tournament, the Sun City Futures 3.

The week long tournament starts Monday 9 June with the finals scheduled for Friday 13 June.

The tournament forms part of the three event Sun City Futures series for men and women that offers international world ranking points and prize money totaling R 750 000.00.

Heading the men’s seeding is South African Davis Cup player Dean O’Brien with fellow South African Tucker Vorster seeded to meet O’Brien in the final. Vorster reached the final of the first Sun City Futures 1 tournament losing to countryman Fritz Wolmarans in that final. Wolmarans is seeded three with American Tyler Hochwalt seeded four.

In the women’s singles, South African number two, Chanel Simmonds heads the seedings with losing finalist from last week’s tournament Clothilde De Bernardi seeded two. South African Fed Cup squad player Madrie Le Roux and Natasha Fourouclas are seeded three and four. Fifth seed is the winner of the first tournament Michelle Sammons (RSA) with American’s Alexandra Riley (USA), Stephanie Kent (USA) and Casey Robinson (USA) seeded six to eight respectively.

The seeds with world rankings are as follows (South African unless stated) ;

Men’s Seeds:
1. Dean O’Brien 555
2. Tucker Vorster 583
3. Fritz Wolmarans 584
4. Tyler Hochwalt (USA) 617
5. Jacob Adaktusson (SWE) 687
6. Milos Sekulic (SWE) 713
7. Ruan Roelofse 755
8. Augusto Laranja (BRA) 757

Womens Seeds:
1. Chanel Simmonds 237
2. Clothilde De Bernardi (FRA) 385
3. Madrie Le Roux 624
4. Natasha Fourouclas 728
5. Michelle Sammons 835
6. Alexandra Riley (USA) 869
7. Stephanie Kent (USA) 1022
8. Casey Robinson (USA) 1034

Meanwhile, Tennis South Africa also announced their wild-cards for this week’s Sun City Futures 2. The wild-cards are as follows (South African unless stated);

Men

Lloyd Harris, Richard Ashforth, Tuki Jacobs (NAM) and Anderson Reed (USA)

Women

Shannon Cox, Lenice Van Eyk, Chelsea Te Tai (NZL) and Maria Knott (AUS)


SCHOLTZ & HATTINGH CAPTURE SUN CITY FUTURESTITLES

Sun City, South Africa - Unseeded Nik Scholtz and Ilze Hattingh of South Africa won the Sun City Futures 2 men’s and women’s singles titles on Saturday.

Newly crowned Sun City Futures 2 Champions from left, Nik Scholtz (RSA) and Ilze Hattingh (RSA) were “on top of the world” on Saturday at Africa’s Kingdom of pleasure after winning their respective singles titles at the North West Province resort.

Photo credit: BLD Communications.


Scholtz beat his close friend and doubles partner, Tucker Vorster the second seed 6-4 6-3 in the men’s final.

It is the second Futures title for Scholtz who has just ended his US College Scholarship at the University of Mississippi. Scholtz was cheered to victory from the sidelines by his parents Calla and Lizahn who made a special trip from Greytown in Western Cape to watch their son in the final. Calla Scholtz is the former Western Province and Springbok rugby full back.

Scholtz jetted into South Africa late last week from the USA. “Flying in from America was tough as I had to adapt to the high altitude and winter conditions. But as the tournament got longer I played better” said Scholtz.

The first break of serve came in the fifth game of the opening set and Scholtz held the lead to take the first set 6-3. In the second set Scholtz broke Vorster in the first game. At 3-5 down, Vorster was serving to stay in the match but once again Scholtz was solid on the return and broke Vorster to clinch the set 6-3, match and championship.

“It was one of those days everything I tried worked for me” said Scholtz following victory. “I was anticipating Tucker’s serves well. I guessed and played the big points well too, that made the difference I think.”

Scholtz said he played the best match of the week. “I returned real solid in fact I played a solid match, few unforced errors, overall I was on song it was my best match all week.”

In the women’s singles it took South African junior Ilze Hattingh 1 hour 20 minutes to capture her first ever Futures title. The 18 year old Pretoria based Hattingh upset second seeded Clothilde de Bernardi of France 6-1 6-3 in the final Saturday.
Admittedly de Bernardi carried a hip strain injury going into the final but all credit to Hattingh for keeping her composure and focus and dominating the final.

“I was happy with my game but felt I held back a bit maybe because of nerves. It was my first final since the Junior nationals last year so I was kind of tentative out there. I was keeping pressure on Clothilde because I know she has a good forehand and I didn’t want her to get into any rhythm with her forehand. But I think I played a great game not only today in the final but all week. I am really chuffed with the win” said Hattingh.

A visibly disappointed de Bernardi said she was “frustrated” and “hurting badly” after the final. “My right hip has been giving me so much trouble. I am playing my first tournaments in four months at Sun City after sustaining the injury and it’s not better. I was hurting badly out there and just could not play the game I normally play and move like I normally do around the court.”

Hattingh broke early in the opening set and dropped only one game winning the set 6-1. In the second set, de Bernardi broke in the first game to lead 1-0. Hattingh immediately broke back and in the fourth game Hattingh broke serve to lead 3-1. Hattingh then held to lead 4-1 but the fight wasn’t over from de Bernardi who won two games on the trot, saved a break point, to trail Hattingh 3-4. Hattingh then broke serve to lead 5-3 and served out the ninth game to give her the set and match.

What a week it’s been for Hattingh. She won the title not dropping a set all week and shocked top seed Chanel Simmonds in the quarter finals. Then she beat third seeded Madrie Le Roux her doubles partner in the semifinals on Friday.

“Yes it’s been a real good week. I have played well, had some luck but these are the weeks you work so hard for. I’m glad I am over my injury and back in form” said Hattingh.

Nik Scholtz won the double when he teamed up with Tucker Vorster (seeded three) to beat fourth seeds Mark Fynn of Zimbabwe and Damon Gooch of South Africa 6-3 6-4 in the final.

The women’s doubles title was won by second seeds Agata Baranska from Poland and Stephanie Kent of USA who were given a walkover after Madrie Le Roux fell ill and Le Roux and partner Ilze Hattingh (seeded four) were forced to withdraw from the final.

The final Futures 3 tournament will start on Monday 9 June with the finals scheduled for Friday 13 June.


DREAM RUN OF ILZE HATTINGH CONTINUES AT SUN CITY

Sun City, South Africa - Playing in her last year as a junior, Ilze Hattingh the former double African Junior Champion continues her dream run at the Sun City Futures 2 in the North West Province.

Unseeded Ilze Hattingh of South Africa during the semi-finals of the Sun City Futures 2 played in North West Province on Friday. Hattingh upset third seed Madrie le Roux of South Africa 6-4 4-0 who retired ill.

Unseeded Nik Scholtz of South Africa in action at the Sun City Futures 2 played in Sun City, North West Province on Friday. Scholtz upset top seed Dean O’Brien of South Africa 6-2 6-4 in the semi-finals.


Hattingh, who on Thursday shocked top seed Chanel Simmonds, on Friday beat third seeded Madrie le Roux to reach her first ever Futures final. Hattingh won the first set 6-4, and was leading 4-0 in the second set, when le Roux, threw in the towel suffering from Pharyngitis (nasal and throat infection) that has been troubling the Potchefstroom-based professional for the past two weeks.

“I just have not been myself for the past few weeks”, said le Roux. “I really wanted to do well this week, after losing in the semifinals last week, but I suppose that’s a fact of life and it wasn’t to be.”

Hattingh, from Pretoria, who lost in round two of the Futures 1 tournament said she was “delighted” to be in the final. “It’s been a dream week for me. I never expected to get to the final. I was just so happy to be playing after a few months layoff (fractured rib) and now it’s a real bonus I am in the final.”

In Friday’s final, Hattingh will face second seeded Clothilde De Bernardi of France. Bernardi needed 2 hours 41 minutes to dispose of fourth seeded Natasha Fourouclas of South Africa 6-4 3-6 6-3. Bernardi came back from 1-3 down the final set to earn her place in the final.

“I have been struggling so much since I got to South Africa. The balls are flying around because of the altitude and my forehand and serve, which are normally my strong shots, seem to have deserted me. Actually, to be in the final is quite surprising considering the way I have been struggling”, admitted Bernardi.

This will be the sixth Futures final Bernardi has reached in the last twelve months. Last year she reached and won the titles in Spain, Portugal, Egypt and reached another final in Egypt before reaching the final of the $25 000.00 event in France.

Like her opponent in Friday’s final Ilze Hattingh, Bernardi is playing her first tournaments since injuring her playing arm in September last year. She was laid off for four months and then tried to play a series of tournaments in December, but as fate would have it, Bernardi injured her leg upon her return to tournament play in Miami and has been out of action since the beginning of the year making her first return to tournament play last week here at Sun City.

In the men’s singles, unseeded South African Davis Cup player Nik Scholtz earned a place in the final with a convincing 6-2 6-4 win over top seed Dean O’Brien. The tall and lanky 6ft 5, 23 year-old Scholtz, who has just completed a US College scholarship at the University of Mississippi, used his big serve to full effect against a “tired” O’Brien who never got into the groove during the match. O’Brien was tested this week and went into Friday’s semifinal having played over 6 hours of tennis in his first three rounds. “It’s been a tough week”, admitted O’Brien. “Today just wasn’t my day, I was tired out there and although a lot of the games were close, Nik played the bigger points better and deserved the win.”

Scholtz will be competing in his fifth Futures final on Friday. Scholtz won the Futures of Turkey and Potchefstroom last year and is hoping to capture his third title on Friday.

In Friday’s final, Scholtz will play fellow countryman Tucker Vorster, the second seed. Vorster got sweet revenge in his semifinal against third seeded Fritz Wolmarans beating Wolmarans 6-3 2-6 6-3. Wolmarans beat Vorster in last week’s Futures 1 final in three gruelling, “heartbreaking” sets.

“I was more hungry today, just wanted the match so much today, I was so focused and I played aggressive pushing Fritz on the return … that made the difference today”, said Vorster.

Ironically, Vorster and Scholtz are doubles partners this week and have reached the doubles final. The two are good friends and both are “Ole Miss Rebels” having attended the same US College in Mississippi. The two have played each other twice before with Scholtz winning their encounter in the Potchefstroom Futures semifinal and Vorster winning their last encounter in the Turkey Futures quarterfinal exactly a year ago. Both matches were tough three setters so Saturday’s final promises to be a blockbuster!


SOUTH AFRICAN TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR THE AFRICAN JUNIOR TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Tennis South Africa announced on Friday their boys & girls 14 & under and 16 & under teams to participate in the African Junior Teams Championships to be played in Tunis, Tunisia from 9-14 June 2014.

Should team South Africa win their qualifying event in Tunisia, they will qualify to represent Africa at the World Junior Finals 14 & under in the Czech Republic in August and the Junior Davis & Fed Cup 16 & under in Mexico in September 2014.

The teams announced are as follows;

Girls U14
Maja Gledic (GC)
Corin de Waal (Bol)
Kaylin Bouwer (EP)

Boys U14
Christiaan Worst (GN)
Philip Henning (FS)
Marno Stander (WP)

Girls U16
Zani Barnard (GN)
Lee Barnard (GN)
Nadine de Villiers (GC)

Boys U16
Richard Thongoana (GC)
Calvin Jordaan (WP)
Damon Kesaris (KZN)


TOP SEED SIMMONDS CRASHES OUT OF SUN CITY FUTURES 2

Sun City, South Africa - The top women’s seed at the Sun City Futures 2, Channel Simmonds of South Africa crashed out of the quarterfinals on Thursday. South African junior, Ilze Hattingh was responsible for the damage and upset Simmonds 7-6 (3) 6-2 to move into Friday’s semi-final.

Unseeded Ilze Hattingh of South Africa in action during the quarterfinals of the Sun City Futures 2 being played in North West Province. Hattingh upset top seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 7-6 (3) 6-2 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Second seed Tucker Vorster of South Africa powers his way through the quarterfinals of the Sun City Futures 2 in North West Province. Vorster beat seventh seed Milos Sekulic of Sweden 6-1 6-4 on Thursday.

Picture credit: BLD Communications.


Simmonds raced to a 2-0 lead in the first set but Hattingh broke back to level at 2-2. The set went with serve until the ninth game when Hattingh once again broke to lead 5-4. Simmonds promptly broke back and the set went into a tie breaker which Hattingh dominated winning 7-3 giving her the opening set. In the second set Hattingh stuck to her game plan and did not hold back on her shot play and was always in control. Hattingh broke early in the second set then held on to win the set 6-3 and match and a place in the last four.

“I am very happy with the win and it will go down as one of my best in my career” said Hattingh following victory.

Hattingh is playing her first tournaments since February. After the Australian Junior Open, Hattingh travelled to Morocco for the African Junior Championships and suffered from a fractured rib strain. Only four weeks ago was Hattingh able to return to court so the fine run this week at Sun City will certainly boost her confidence.

In Friday’s semi-finals, Hattingh will play her doubles partner and close friend Madrie Le Roux. Le Roux, seeded three made light work of her 6-4 6-0 quarterfinal win over unseeded Nicole Dzenga of Zimbabwe.

Hatting and Le Roux are both part of the South Africa Fed Cup squad and have played each other a number of occasions in the past with both claiming wins against each other which will make Friday’s clash an interesting affair.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, second seeded Clothilde De Bernardi of France will play fourth seed Natasha Fourouclas of South Africa. De Bernardi ended the fine run of local qualifier Lenice Van Eyk beating the 19 year old 6-3 6-1. Fourouclas, last week’s finalist thumped past seventh seed Stephanie Kent of the USA losing only one game in her 6-1 6-0 victory..

In the men’s singles, top seeded South African Dean O’Brien was once again challenged to the last point when he battled just under three hours past unseeded American, Michael Grant 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-4.
Grant, on scholarship at University of Southern California (USC) the number one tennis college in the USA has been earmarked as a player to watch out for the future.

O’Brien had a long hard win against local junior, Brandon Laubser in round 2 and once again was extended all the way.

“I have had a rough two days” said O’Brien. “But despite the roughness I have pulled through and that does a lot for me and my confidence and belief in what I can do in all sorts of situations. Despite the close matches I feel good about my game, just need to sort one or two things out and I’ll be ready for whoever” warned the tournament favorite.

O’Brien now faces tournament “dark horse” Nik Scholtz in the semi-finals. Scholtz, who jetted in from the USA late last week upset fourth seeded American Tyler Hochwalt in the opening round and today (Thursday) took care of fellow Davis Cup team mate, Ruan Roelofse the eighth seed 3-6 6-3 7-6 (6) in a two hour, 15 minute thriller.

In the bottom half of the men’s draw, Friday’s semi-finals will be a repeat of last week’s Futures 1 final. Second seed Tucker Vorster will face third seeded Fritz Wolmarans in the all South African encounter.

Vorster reached the last four with an impressive 6-1 6-4 win over seventh seeded Swede Milos Sekulic whilst Wolmarans took care of Italian junior, fifth seed Stefano Napolitano 6-3 7-6 (6).

After getting the early break in the first set and winning the opener 6-3, Wolmarans went up a break early in the second set to lead 4-3. But Napolitano broke back and the set went into the breaker. In the tie breaker, Wolmarans found himself 3-6 down but his Italian opponent was unable to convert any of the three set points in hand. Wolmarans served and returned solid and saved the set points, won the breaker and set and match.

Wolmarans said that the conditions at Sun City made it difficult to get any rhythm. “The conditions were real tough out there today, the wind was pumping and lots of elements we have not experienced since arriving at Sun City came into play making it very difficult.”
“I am happy to be into a second semi in two weeks. I played well against a good player. Stefano is a great baseliner and has good returns which made it tough on my serve” said Wolmarans.


SEEDS BATTLE AT SUN CITY

Sun City, South Africa - The seeded players battled on court at Sun City in round two of the Sun City Futures 2 on Wednesday.

Natasha Fourouclas of South Africa in action in round 2 of the Sun City Futures 2 being played in the North West Province. Fourouclas beat fellow South African unseeded Nadine de Villiers 6-2 6-1 to move to the quarterfinals to be played on Thursday.

Unseeded Nik Scholtz of South Africa in action on day three of the Sun City Futures 2. Scholtz beat unseeded Augusto Laranja of Brazil 6-3 6-2 in round 2 to move in to the quarter finals to be played on Thursday.

Picture credit: BLD Communications.


In the men’s draw, top seeded Dean O’Brien of South Africa had to pull out all the stops in beating South African junior Davis Cup player Brandon Laubser 6-4 5-7 7-5.

Laubser impressed against the tournament favourite and had O’Brien in all sorts of trouble. O’Brien had only good things to say about his younger opponent following victory. “Brandon is a real talent, he had me troubled out there today, played nice, loosely with loads of confidence, hit his backhand particularly well and had me worried” admitted O’Brien. O’Brien said he wasn’t happy about his game but managed to do enough to pull through. “Things just were not going my way. My game wasn’t there, calls were going against me, I was struggling with my returns, it just wasn’t my day” said O’Brien.
After winning the first set 6-4, O’Brien had match point at 5-4 in the second set on the Laubser serve. But Laubser saved match point, held serve then broke the tentative O’Brien serve which gave him the second set. In the final set O’Brien broke early to lead 3-1 but Laubser promptly broke back and it was only in the eleventh game that O’Brien managed to find his groove on the return and break Laubser then hold for the match.

A visibly disappointed Laubser said although he lost he was pleased with his performance. “I gave my best and played really well against the top seed. Dean is a great player who I admire and to have played like I did against him was pleasing. I cramped in that final set and had I not cramped maybe the result would have been very different but all credit to Dean for the win” said Laubser.

O’Brien will now face unseeded Michael Grant of the USA in the quarter finals. Grant shocked sixth seed Jacob Adaktusson of Sweden 0-6 7-6 (4) 7-5.

Second seed Tucker Vorster (RSA) also had to battle over three sets to beat Juan Cruz Estevarena 6-1 3-6 6-3 whilst third seed Fritz Wolmarans (RSA), last week’s title winner, had it easier beating Indian, Ronak Manuja 6-3 6-2.

Unseeded Nik Scholtz of South Africa continued with his winning streak but also needed three sets to beat unseeded Brazilian Yuri Andrade 6-1 5-7 6-2 to set up a quarter final clash with fellow Davis Cup team mate eighth seeded Ruan Roelofse. Scholtz is the “dark horse” of the tournament this week and after upsetting fourth seeded American, Tyler Hochwalt in his opening round, could be a title challenger come Saturday should he get past Roelofse on Thursday.

The other players to reach the last eight are fifth seeded Stefano Napolitano of Italy and seventh seeded Milos Sekulic of Sweden.

In the women’s singles top seed Chanel Simmonds was in devastating form losing only one game in her 56 minute 6-0 6-1 whipping of fellow countrywoman Caitlin Herb. Simmonds now plays Pretoria junior, Ilze Hattingh who was a 6-2 6-2 winner over fellow South African junior, Zani Barnard.
After a great day on Tuesday for the Barnard twins, Wednesday proved dooms day for the sisters, when Lee Barnard joined her sister on the sidelines after being beaten 3-6 3-6 by unseeded South African Lenice van Eyk who has reached her first Futures quarter final berth. On Thursday, van Eyk will play second seeded Clothilde De Bernardi of France who battled past Ani Vangelova 6-4 7-5.

Natasha Fourouclas (RSA), last week’s Futures 1 finalist, seeded four this week had no trouble against Nadine De Villiers (RSA) winning 6-2 6-1 and now will meet seventh seeded American Stephanie Kent for a place in the semifinals.

Third seeded Madrie le Roux (RSA) had to come from behind to beat unseeded Vanja Klaric of Serbia 2-6 7-5 6-3. Klaric, a surprise semifinalist last week is a good friend of Le Roux as they both train out of the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy at NWU-PUKKE in Potchefstroom.
Coach of both Le Roux and Klaric, Riaan Venter said watching his charges play against each other was a “nerve wracking affair”. “It’s never easy sitting on the sidelines watch your players battle against each other. Vanja played a great game, handles the pace from Madrie well and positioned herself smartly today. Madrie was forced after losing the first set to play smarter, slow the ball down and vary the pace which rattled Vanja as she likes to play with the pace of her opponent.”

Le Roux will play “giant-killer” Nicole Dzenga of Zimbabwe for a place in the last four.


MIXED FORTUNES FOR SOUTH AFRICAN TENNIS PLAYERS AT SUN CITY

Sun City, South Africa - The top two seeds at the Sun City Futures 2 moved through to round two on Tuesday without dropping a set.

Top seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa in action during day two of the Sun City Futures 2 being played in North West Province. Simmonds beat unseeded Amelie Intert of Germany 6-2 6-1 in round one.

Top seed Dean O’Brien of South Africa in action during day two of the Sun City Futures 2 being played in North West Province. O’Brien beat unseeded Stefan Merunka of Croatia 6-2 6-1 in round one.

Pictures by: BLD Communication


In the men’s singles, South Africa’s Dean O’Brien the tournament favorite played a good solid game against Croatian Stefan Merunka winning 6-2 6-1.

“I’m happy to have got the win today and a match under my belt” said O’Brien following victory. “I played well enough and am feeling the ball well and will take the positives from today’s match into the next match.”

Second seed, Tucker Vorster also from South Africa cruised into round two beating countryman Refiloe Molaoa 6-1 6-2. Vorster said his game was “on song” and was happy with the way he is playing. “Having reached the finals of the Futures 1 last week, I am peaking in time to give this week’s title a good shot” said Vorster.

Joining O’Brien and Vorster in round two is last week’s winner Fritz Wolmarans who struggled past Zimbabwean Benjamin Lock 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 and rising South African star, Nik Scholtz. Scholtz, who jetted in from the USA late last week upset fourth seed Tyler Hochwalt of the USA 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in a long 2 hour 43 minute battle.
After losing the first set, Scholtz was broken early in the second set to go down 1-3. Scholtz broke back and at 4-4 found himself looking down the barrel of a gun when serving he was 0-40 down. Scholtz saved three break points, held serve and the set went into the tie breaker which Scholtz won 7-5. In the final set Scholtz broke serve in the fourth game and held to win the set and match.
“That was a monster match and a good win. Tyler is a solid player and at altitude with his big serve is a tough guy to beat. I’m glad I got through the match. When I saw my draw I knew it would need a lot to win and I am glad I got the win today” said Scholtz.

In the women’s singles, South African top seed Chanel Simmonds was in commanding form in her opener against Amelie Intert of Germany. Simmonds beat Intert 6-2 6-1 and said after her win she was pleased with the way she played. “I was the more consistent player today and am happy with my form and feel good about my chances this week” said Simmonds.

Last week’s women’s winner, Michelle Sammons of South Africa the fifth seed was shocked in her first round losing to local junior Zani Barnard 6-4 4-6 6-7 (7-1). It was a good day for the Barnard family when Zani’s twin sister Lee beat National Junior Champion Katie Poluta of Cape Town, 5-7 6-3 6-2.

The other South African women player winning through to round two on Tuesday was fourth seed Natasha Fourouclas.


SEEDS STRUGGLE ON FIRST DAY OF SUN CITY FUTURES 2

Sun City, South Africa - Whilst the men’s and women’s top seeds, Dean O’Brien and Chanel Simmonds were given a rest day, it was mixed fortunes for the remaining seeds in action on day 1 of the Sun City Futures 2 on Monday.

The American women struggled at Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure and two of the seeded American players found no “pleasure” when they were upset in their opening rounds.

First to fall was eighth seeded Casey Robinson (USA) who struggled over three long sets before being shocked by local lass Lenice van Eyk, 4-6 6-2 4-6. Joining Robinson on the sidelines was Alexandra Riley (USA) the sixth seed. Nicole Dzenga of Zimbabwe upset Riley 6-0 4-6 6-3.

Third seeded Madrie Le Roux of South Africa was in good form when she beat another Zimbabwean Valeria Bhunu 6-2 6-1 and alongside Le Roux, her doubles partner and fellow countrywoman Ilze Hattingh needed only 54 minutes and lost only two games in her demolishing of Spaniard, Anais Gomar Isart 6-2 6-0

In the men’s singles, three seeds were in action and all won through to round two. Swedes Jacob Adaktusson (seeded 6) and Milos Sekulic (seeded 7) were straight set winners. Adaktusson was too strong for Akash Wagh of India winning 6-1 6-1 whilst Sekulic was 6-2 3-0 up against South African junior, Francois Kellerman when Kellerman retired with a persistent back injury.

South African Davis Cup player, Ruan Roelofse seeded eight also moved into the second round with a 6-0 6-2 win over Phenyo Matong of Botswana.

On Tuesday top men’s seed Dean O’Brien of South Africa will open against Stefan Merunka of Croatia whilst top women’s seed Chanel Simmonds plays German Amelie Intert.

Day two of the Sun City Futures 2 starts at 10h00 on Tuesday.


CHANEL SIMMONDS READY FOR SUN CITY CHALLENGE

Sun City, South Africa - South Africa’s second highest world ranked women tennis player, Chanel Simmonds is back in the country to play in this week’s Sun City Futures 2 event.

Chanel Simmonds.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Presently ranked 237 on the world tennis rankings, Simmonds who turns 22 yrs. in August is feeling upbeat and confident ahead of this week’s tournament where she’s tournament favorite. “It’s great to be back in South Africa. These Futures tournaments were great timing for me. To be home for three weeks is a real bonus as I have only enjoyed a few days at home this whole year.”

Simmonds will be top seed for the second of three Futures tournaments which starts today (Monday) and would have been favorite for last week’s Futures 1 but due to her playing in the qualifying of Roland Garros, the International Tennis Federation withdrew Simmonds from the singles of the first Sun City event. However Simmonds did partner with fellow Fed Cup squad member Michelle Sammons and won the doubles.

Simmonds said that her ranking had slipped out of the top 200 due to not being able to defend her points at the Soweto Open this year that was cancelled by Tennis South Africa (TSA) due to lack of sponsorship. “I reached the finals in Soweto last year and moved up to 156 on the rankings but when the tournament was cancelled I realized that all those points I made would fall off. It’s been hard trying to defend those points but my aim is to capitalize on the next few weeks and months and be back in the top 200 by year end.”

The rankings are of importance to Simmonds as the higher she is ranked the bigger the tournaments she can enter. “If I am in the world’s top 200 I will be able to get into the WTA and Grand Slam events. This is important for my future career as the prize money and points you earn at that level helps you get to the highest level.”

So far this year, Simmonds has travelled extensively on the tour starting off with the Australia swing in January then travelling South America for two months, Senegal, USA, South Korea and Europe. Simmonds said that it’s not all “glitz and glamour” on the pro circuit. “When you are trying to make it the sacrifices and demands are great on the player. You travel alone, stay in weird places where the food and cultures are very different.”

However Simmonds does have some important support in her current boyfriend Ruan Roelofse the South African Davis Cup player. “Ruan and I have a great relationship and good understanding of our individual needs. Ruan is very supportive and when we can we play in tournament weeks where the men’s and women’s event are played concurrently at the same venue like these Sun City events.”

Simmonds is quietly confident of her chances at Sun City. “Playing the Futures will give me lots of matches, be more prepared and build confidence for the rest of the year.”

Earl Grainger, South African Fed Cup coach and also in mentor of Simmonds will also be at Sun City to watch his charge and the other Fed Cup squad players entered. Grainger said it was important for him to be able to watch Simmonds play matches. “In an ideal world I would love to be able to travel with Chanel. But with a lack of sponsorship and financial resources it’s not possible. So to have Chanel home for three weeks works well for both of us.”

Bringing back the Super-Squad system would be hugely beneficial admitted Simmonds. “The Super-Squads of the past produced players like Amanda Coetzer and I think it is singularly the most important aim and objective for TSA to re-introduce this system. There are a ton of talented players that would back me on this one. We just have not got the resources required to crack the big time. We need guidance and financial help and this is normally the responsibility of national federations so let’s hope TSA can bring the system back,”

Simmonds said that she is happy with the way she is striking the ball but feels she has a lot to work on to get to the level she is aiming. “I have been hitting the ball flat of late which isn’t good. I normally hit with a lot of spin and place the balls well so I have played a lot of clay events to be able to get back to playing with spin and angle.”

Playing Fed Cup for South Africa rates amongst the highlights in Simmonds career. “I really feel honored to play for my country. At tournaments no-one wants you to win but in Fed Cup they all want you to win. Tennis is such an individual sport so playing in a team and for your country is great.”
Another career highlight was when Simmonds qualified for last year’s US Open only to draw fellow South African Chani Scheepers in round 1. Scheepers after beating Simmonds in three tough sets only had good things to say about Simmonds and her future.


SEEDS & WILD CARDS ANNOUNCED FOR SECOND SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa - A host of South Africa’s top tennis players have jetted into South Africa for next week’s Sun City Futures 2 starting Monday 2 June.

The tournament forms part of the three event Sun City Futures series for men and women that offers international world ranking points and prize money totaling R 750 000.00.

Tennis South Africa announced their seeds on Sunday for the week long tournament whose finals will be played Saturday 7 June.

Heading the men’s seeding is South African Davis Cup player Dean O’Brien with fellow South African Tucker Vorster seeded to meet O’Brien in that final. Vorster reached the final of last week’s Sun City Futures 1 tournament losing to countryman Fritz Wolmarans on that final on Saturday. Wolmarans will be seeded three next week with American Tyler Hochwalt seeded four.

In the women’s singles, South African number two, Chanel Simmonds heads the seedings with up and coming French star Clothilde De Bernardi seeded two. South African Fed Cup squad players, Madrie Le Roux, Natasha Fourouclas and Michelle Sammons fill the third to fifth spots with American’s Alexandra Riley (USA), Stephanie Kent (USA) and Casey Robinson (USA) seeded six to eight respectively.

The seeds with world rankings are as follows (South African unless stated) ;

Mens Seeds:
1. Dean O’Brien 555
2. Tucker Vorster 583
3. Fritz Wolmarans 584
4. Tyler Hochwalt (USA) 617
5. Stafano Napolitano (ITA) 651
6. Jacob Adaktusson (SWE) 687
7. Milos Sekulic (SWE) 713
8. Ruan Roelofse 755

Womens Seeds:
1. Chanel Simmonds 237
2. Clothilde De Bernardi (FRA) 385
3. Madrie Le Roux 624
4. Natasha Fourouclas 728
5. Michelle Sammons 835
6. Alexandra Riley (USA) 869
7. Stephanie Kent (USA) 1022
8. Casey Robinson (USA) 1034

Meanwhile, Tennis South Africa also announced their wild-cards for this week’s Sun City Futures 2. The wild-cards are as follows (South African unless stated);

Men

Francois Kellerman, Okkie Kellerman, Brandon Laubser and Kris van Wyk

Women

Clothilde De Bernardi (FRA), Zani Barnard, Lee Barnard and Valeria Bhunu (ZIM)

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