SOUTH AFRICAN PLAYERS DOMINATE INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR TOURNAMENT
Johannesburg, South Africa – In a major boost for junior and development tennis in South Africa, local players are dominating the ITF Wanderers International Junior tournament being played in Johannesburg.
In todays (Thursdays) semi-finals, all eight players in the boys and girls singles were from South Africa.
In the boys singles, fourth seed Kris Van Wyk of Western Province continued his fine run by upsetting top seed Brandon Laubser of Gauteng East 2-6 7-5 7-5 to book his place in Friday’s final. In the 2 hour 33 minute Centre court battle, Van Wyk came back from 2-6 3-0 down to level sets against Laubser. Again in the final set Van Wyk found himself 0-3 down against the tournament favorite but fought back to win the set and match.
This will be the third international final Van Wyk will contest. Last year Van Wyk reached his first final in Namibia and won the SAS ITF Junior event in Stellenbosch.
“That’s was a real tough match” admitted van Wyk. “I was in all sorts of trouble, down in both the second and third sets against a player I really respect. I just played tougher and more aggressive which made the difference” said Van Wyk following victory.
Van Wyk will meet unseeded Philip Franken from Boland for title honors on Friday.
Franken won through to his first international final with a 4-6 6-2 6-4 win over fifth seed Jd Malan of Western Province.
“It’s been a great week for me” said Franken. “I have recently changed coaches and although I lost the opening set, I put more focus on my first serve, raised my first serve percentage and made more balls in the points which I thing rattled Jd and gave me the edge.”
In the girls singles, fifteen year old twins Lee and Zani Barnard of Gauteng North met in the semi-finals. Both sisters have played each other numerous times over their young careers with the honors going both ways. But at The Wanderers Club today (Thursday) it was the turn of fifth seeded Lee Barnard who beat sixth seeded Zani Barnard 4-6 6-4 6-2.
In the final on Friday, Lee Barnard will face unseeded Minette Van Vreden of Boland. Van Vreden upset eighth seed Louise-Mare Botes of Free State , 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in her semi-final.
New Tennis South Africa (TSA) board member, Petros Abraham said that the domination of South African players at the Wanderers was a good indication that TSA were on the right course. “We at TSA pride ourselves with our junior and development programs and the mere fact that the semi-finals and finals were an all South African affair indicates that TSA are on the right track and the future development of our players bears good hope” said Abraham.
The finals will be played from 08h30 at The Wanderers Sporting Club in Illovo, Johannesburg on Friday.