SA home boys De Voest and Klaasen shine

2009-02-02 00:00

THE afternoon session was good for South Africa yesterday, as Rik de Voest and Raven Klaasen reached the second round of the SA Tennis Open at Montecasino in Johannesburg.

The late-night session saw unseeded South African and KZN Open finalist Andrew Anderson tackling world number 85 and Montecasino eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis.

World number 1 564 Anderson has been plagued by injuries for the last two years, while Baghdatis is also feeling his way after recent setbacks. The Greek Cypriot — an Australian Open finalist three years ago — double faulted far too often, but Johannesburg’s Anderson couldn’t maintain his first-set promise to lose 6-4 6-2.

Earlier, world number 162 De Voest upset sixth seed Ivan Navarro of Spain 6-3 6-4, stamping his authority on the world’s 73rd-ranked player by going 3-0 up in the first set after the nervous Spaniard lost his first service game, double-faulting the first two points.

“I play well at home, the support keeps me focused and I played the big points well, which is what tennis is all about,” said De Voest. “I was aggressive on the returns and happy with my serve.”

Trailing 5-1 in the second set, Navarro fought back to 5-4, but De Voest finished in style with an ace to take the match.

Klaasen, from Kuils River in the Western Cape, beat fellow unseeded player Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo of Spain 6-3 7-5. World 350 Klaasen was superior on the break points. The 126th-ranked Hidalgo was outplayed when it mattered most, losing eight break points from eight opportunities while Klaasen captured two from two.

“It was one of the top wins of my career,” said Klaasen, who won the KZN Open at Kershaw Park early last month. “I tried to come to the net as often as possible and it paid off.”

SA favourite Kevin Anderson and second seed David Ferrer of Spain (from 1 pm in the afternoon) and top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (after the evening doubles match) make their singles debuts today. Ferrer plays Dudi Sela, who upset him on the only occasion they have met.

Meanwhile, France’s Fabrice Santoro, as well as Australian Open men’s doubles finalist and mixed doubles winner Mahesh Bhupathi of India, withdrew for personal reasons over the weekend. They joined the injured Gael Monfils as further casualties from the grand slam held in heatwave conditions in Melbourne in the past fortnight.


Singles: Leonardo Mayer (Arg) bt Sergio Roitman (Arg) 6-2 6-4, Rik de Voest (Rsa) bt 6-Ivan Navarro (Spa) 6-3 6-4, Raven Klaasen (Rsa) bt Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (Spa) 6-3 7-5, S Greul (Ger) bt Victor Crivoi (Rou) 6-2 6-4, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) bt Bjorn Phau (Ger) 6-4 6-3, 8-Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) bt Andrew Anderson (Rsa) 6-4 6-2.

Doubles: 3-Marcel Granollers (Spa)/Santiago Ventura (Spa) bt Kevin Anderson (Rsa)/Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) 6-4 3-6 10-8, David Ferrer (Spa)/Ivan Navarro (Spa) bt Denis Istomin (Uzb)/Daniel Koellerer (Aut) 6-4 6-2.

Tuesday TV: Live on SuperSport 6 from 12.45 pm till midnight.

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