SA hope faces ‘Rastaman’ in Soweto final

2010-04-17 00:00

IT’S Bafana versus Jamaica in Soweto today, as the most unexpected dream final has materialised in the men’s singles of the 2010 Soweto Open tennis tournament.

Who would have anticipated that SA Davis Cup player Izak van der Merwe would meet the dreadlocked “Rastaman” that is Jamaica’s Dustin Brown, in the title match at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre this afternoon?

And yet, come 1 pm today, the pair will slug it out for the $100 000 ATP Challenger tournament.

Van der Merwe was delighted with the support he received, as he dug deep to come back from saving a match point to win a titanic semi-final against an equally inspired Alexander Peya of Austria 4-6 6-3 7-6 (4) in over two hours of pure theatre.

Brown lived up to his reputation as the highest remaining seed when he beat sixth seed Stephane Bohli of Switzerland, just one rank below him, 7-6 (3) 6-3.

The final is all the more intriguing as neither have met in a singles duel before. The Jamaican is capable of quite breathtaking shots at times, while the growing confidence that Van der Merwe has demonstrated here has been plain for all to see

The womens’ singles final today at 11.30 am sees unseeded Nina Bratchikova of Russia very much the underdog against number two seed Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.

The 24-year-old Russian, from just outside Moscow, overpowered the equally hard-hitting sixth seed Jarmila Groth of Australia 6-3 3-6 6-2 after 90 minutes, while Tanasu­garn continued her comfortable run with a 6-1 6-4 defeat of Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella.

The mens’ doubles final yesterday ended in disappointment for South Africa as Van der Merwe and Raven Klaasen lost 6-2 6-2 to France’s Nicolas Mahut and Lovro Zovko of Croatia.

The women’s doubles final saw Marina Erakovic of New Zealand and Tanasugarn lose 6-3 5-7 and 16-14 in the championship tiebreak to Russian Vitalia Diatchenko and Greece’s Eirini Georgatou.


Singles semi-finals — Men: Izak van der Merwe (RSA) bt Alexander Peya (Aus) 4-6 6-3 7-6 (4); 5-Dustin Brown (Jam) bt 6-Stephane Bohli (Swi) 7-6 (3) 6-3. Women: Nina Bratchikova (Rus) bt 6-Jarmila Groth (Aus) 6-3 3-6 6-2; 2-Tamarine Tanasugarn (Tha) bt Mandy Minella (Lux) 6-1 6-4.

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