Santoro through to round two in Soweto Open, faces Klaasen next

2009-04-14 00:00

FABRICE Santoro of France went through to the second round of the Soweto Open after a cruise through his first outing on centre court at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Soweto yesterday.

Santoro held serve throughout and broke Russia’s Alexandre Kudryavtsev three times, which was the difference in his 6-2 6-4 win.

“I started well and felt comfortable after four days here, which made it easier to control the ball [at altitude] than during my first practice on Saturday,” the Frenchman said.

In his 21 years on the circuit, Santoro, who has hardly ever been injured, has played all the greats of that era, but Roger Federer of Switzerland is the man he rates the best of the lot.

South Africa’s Rik de Voest leads local hopes and had a topsy-turvy first rounder against Great Briton’s Chris Eaton, waltzing the first set 6-2, allowing the big-serving Brit back in the second before closing out in the third.

“The middle set I didn’t serve as well, while he did, but once my returns were back on song it made the third a lot easier,” De Voest said.

The ATP Challenger Tour is a springboard to the ATP World Tour and South African wild card Raven Klaasen had reason to be happy after outlasting top seed in the qualifiers, Noam Okun of Israel, 8-6 in the second set tiebreaker having taken the first set 6-4.

After the first set went with serve, Klaasen broke Okun in the decisive 10th game to clinch the first set.

Each lost serve in the second, while Klaasen needed his third match point to close out the match in 93 minutes.

“I didn’t take full advantage in the second set and the six match points I had shows he made me work earn the win.”

Klaasen meets Santoro next, so the task ahead is formidable.

Another South African, Benjamin Janse van Rensburg, found the going tough and was beaten 6-1 6-1 by Carlos Poch-Gradin of Spain.

RESULTS

First-round: Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) bt Izak van der Merwe (Rsa) 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7/4); 1-Fabrice Santoro (Fra) bt Alexandre Kudryavtsev (Rus) 6-2 6-4; 8-Karol Beck (Svk) bt Michel Koning (Ned) 6-4 6-4; Bjorn Rehnquist (Swe) bt Jose Checa-Calvo (Esp) 6-2 6-1; Rik de Voest (Rsa) bt Chris Eaton (Gbr) 6-2 4-6 6-1; Raven Klaasen (Rsa) bt Noam Okun (Isr) 6-4 7-6 (8/6); Stefan Koubek (Aut) bt Woong-Sun Jun (Kor) 6-3 6-7 (7/9 6-3; 4-Thiago Alves (Bra) bt Denys Molchanov (Ukr) 7-6 (7/3) 6-1; Nicolas Mahut (Fra) bt George Bastl (Sui) 7-6 (10/8) 7-6(7/2).

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