Vosloo continues good run

2002-03-22 11:57

Hamilton - Despite being one of the few professional tennis players to wear glasses on court, Louis Vosloo is seeing the ball like a balloon this week.

The 24-year-old South African, ranked 346th in the world, beat New Zealand's Mark Nielsen 6-2 7-6 in the quarter-finals of the Gallagher International in Hamilton on Friday.

It extended his winning run to eight successive matches, having clinched the Gosford Challenger in Melbourne last week.

Vosloo needs spectacles to protect himself from sun, wind and dust after a recent operation to have a growth removed from an eye.

He denied Nielsen the honour of becoming the first Kiwi to make the semi-finals of the $US25,000 ($NZ57,458) event.

Nielsen's volleys lacked penetration and he quickly found himself 4-0 down in the first set against a player who prowled the court like a panther.

Vosloo was as confident in dominating the first set.

But Nielsen fought back well in the second and even held a set point at 7-6 in the tiebreaker, before the slightly built Vosloo quickly turned that around to a match-winning 9-7 margin, having earlier squandered a match point at 6-4.

Despite the loss, Nielsen says he will be in a positive frame of mind for next month's critical Davis Cup tie against India.

"I'm happy with my game.

"I feel I'm hitting it well at the moment," he said.

Vosloo meets world No 2 junior Robin Soderling of Sweden in the semi-finals, having beaten the same player 6-4 6-1 in the quarter-finals at Gosford.

Soderling, 17, again looked classy in despatching world No 374 Peter Clarke of Ireland.

Meanwhile, Brian Vahaly (US) beat Rogier Wassen (Netherlands) 6-0 6-1 in a one-sided match.

The fourth quarter-final between Ladislav Svarc (Slovakia) and Dejan Petrovic (Australia) was to be played tonight.

Quarter-finals: Robin Soderling (Sweden) bt Peter Clarke (Ireland) 6-4 6-4, Louis Vosloo (South Africa) bt Mark Nielsen (NZ) 6-2 7-6, Brian Vahaly (US) bt Rogier Wassen (Netherlands) 6-0 6-1. - Sapa-NZPA