Top seed Raven Klaasen ousts local hope in KZN Open

2010-01-08 00:00

THE round of 16 at the Braaiketts KZN Open saw defending champion Raven Klaasen of Cape Town go through against local hope Gareth Greenwood, and it was the same for all the seeds on day two of the five-day tournament at Kershaw Park yesterday.

Klaasen won 6-1 6-4 but Greenwood pushed him hard in the second set.

“Klaasen’s sheer consistency and the pace of his game is just that little bit quicker, cutting down the time you have to react to his shots,” said tournament director Hilary Greenwood.

It was the top seed’s first match since November 27 and he admitted he was not as sharp as he would like.

“Too many mistakes, but I was happy to pull through. Gareth always gives his best. Some games he played very well, so I just tried to be steady out there,” said Klaasen. “I am concentrating on looking for balance between sitting back and knowing when to apply the pressure.”

Greenwood was reasonably happy. “In the first set I tried to serve too big, so Raven had lots of opportunities to work my second serve, while, in the second, I served better, mixed it up and was able to get into the net more, cut the errors, but he’s rock solid,” Greenwood said.

It was absorbing stuff watching a quality amateur in Greenwood, the KZN provincial captain, competing against a seasoned pro.

It took the local man the entire first set to adjust to a different level than what he is used to meeting on a regular basis, but once he had, he traded shot for shot with Klaasen.

The unseeded Greenwood’s biggest challenge was trying to string together the four points necessary to win a game, but it was never going to be easy — and so it proved.

Among the other seeds, number seven Pieter Joubert beat Ross Lagerwall 6-0 6-1 to set up a 9 am quarter-final date on court two today with Klaasen. Eighth seed Boyd Michau of Pietermaritzburg beat Mark Butlin 6-0 6-1 and fourth seed Hendrik Coertze­n defeated Free State’s Alex Zietsman 6-1 6-1.

In the best match, fifth seed Pieter Calitz was extended by U.S. College player Richard Cowden before prevailing 6-3 7-6. Third seed B.J. van Rensburg beat Gauteng’s Paul Anderson 6-1 6-2 in a fine match punctuated with good rallies. Sixth seed Rikus de Villiers cruised past Brett Lagerwall 6-0 6-2, and number two Ruan Roelofse beat a motivated Bruce Young 6-2 6-4.

In the Braaiketts Juniors, Robbie Searle and Brett Buys lead boys’ U10; Nikki Manchev, James Redfern (Section A) and possibly Don-Don Paterson (Section B) are U12 favourites; Musa Mpondi (Section A) and perhaps Andrew Darroch are in the U14 box seats, while Bryan Boshoff will meet either Joshua Devine or Christopher Walker in Sunday’s U18 final.

Jessica Redfern and Meg McDonald are favoured girls’ U10 finalists; girls’ U12 has Tessa van der Merwe and Sarah Grenfell (Section A), and Zandi Powell and Sarah Mayne (Section B) fighting it out; girls’ U14 sees favou­rite Jenna Davidson getting serious Section A competition from Bianca Birkenstock and Rachael Barnard, and Section B is a two-way affair between Nicola Deenik and Georgie Willows, while girls’ U18 has Jodi Davidson, Jennifer Slotow (Section A), Liezel Birkenstock and Mandy Mallen (Section B) still in the title race.

KZN OPEN QUARTER-FINALS

Today - Court 2 (9 am): 1-Raven Klaasen vs 7-Pieter Joubert; 2-Ruan Roelofse vs 6-Rikus de Villiers to follow.

Court 1 (9 am): 4-Hendrik Coertzen vs 8-Boyd Michau; 3-B.J. van Rensburg vs 5-Pieter Calitz to follow.

Doubles semi-finals in the afternoon.

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