Share this article

Local wild card Rik de Voest took on and beat Italian Stefano Galvani in a “titanic battle” on the centre court of the SA Tennis Open.
SOME ferocious battles were fought on the centre court on the first day of the SA Tennis Open, with South African wild card player, Rik de Voest, doing his fans proud by defeating Italian qualifier Stefano Galvani in a nail-biting match.


South Africa's Rik de VoesteSouth Africa's Rik de Voest beat Stefano Galvani in an intriguing match (Photo: Reg Caldecott)Described in media reports as a “titanic battle”, De Voest hung tough throughout the match to defeat his opponent. Galvani, who is ranked 321, gave the spectators value for their money by refusing to give De Voest, ranked 180, an easy victory.

De Voest eventually won the match 6-3 5-7 7-6(6).

The other South African on the court, qualifier Raven Klaasen, did not follow in his countryman’s footsteps. His opponent from India, Somdev Devvarman, settled the match 6-4 6-3.

In the other singles game of the day, Simon Greul from Germany took on and beat Brazil’s Thiago Alves. It was a comprehensive victory at 6-2 7-5.

The doubles matches of the day did not disappoint either. Slovakian Karol Beck and Israeli Dudi Sela defeated Germany’s Dustin Brown and Netherlands’ Rogier Wassen 6-3 7-5. Poland’s double whammy Tomasz Bednarek and Michal Przysiezny faced Sweden’s Johan Brunstrom and Great Britain’s Ken Skupski and managed to scoop the match 7-5 4-6 10-8.

Yen-Hsun Lu, from Chinese Taipei, has been tagged as one to watch in the tournament, and he confirmed his hot streak when he teamed up with Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic to crush Adrian Mannarino and Florent Serra from France.

The action promises to be as exhilarating on day two of the competition. Five South Africans, including the country’s number one player, Kevin Anderson, will be hitting the court in singles and doubles fixtures.

The line-up is as follows:

Centre Court – starts at noon

Milos Raonic (Canada) vs Yen-Hsun Lu (Chinese Taipei)
Izak van der Merwe (South Africa) vs Stephane Robert (France)
Kevin Anderson (South Africa) vs Stephane Bohli (Switzerland)
Philipp Oswald (Austria) / Martin Slanar (Austria) vs Rik de Voest (South Africa) / Izak van der Merwe (South Africa)
Not before 7pm

Feliciano Lopez (Spain) vs Frank Dancevic (Canada)
James Murray (Great Britain) / Alexander Peya (Austria) vs Ashley Fisher (Australia) / Jordan Kerr (Australia)
Court 1 – starts noon

Florent Serra (France) vs Dustin Brown (Germany)
Nikala Scholtz (South Africa) vs Denis Gremelmayr (Germany)
Not before 2.30pm

Jesse Huta Galung (Netherlands) vs Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia)
Igor Sijsling (Netherlands) vs Fritz Wolmarans (South Africa)
Court 2 – starts noon

Michal Przysiezny (Poland) vs Martin Fischer (Austria)
Yuri Schukin (Kazakhstan) vs Adrian Mannarino (France)
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) vs Dudi Sela (ISR)
Brian Dabul (Argentina) vs Karol Beck (Slovakia)
A feature of this year’s tournament is ball-by-ball scoring, with a live scoreboard on the Open’s website. The website also has updates on the daily order of play and the results of the matches.


The pitch gets a clean-up before play startsThe court gets a clean-up before play starts (Photo: Reg Caldecott)French player Jeremy Chardy withdrew from the competition late on Friday afternoon, just hours before the qualifiers were due to start on Saturday morning. According to media reports, personal reasons were cited for his withdrawal. Chardy, who is ranked 44 in the world, had been regarded as one to watch in the tournament. A shoulder injury forced him to pull out of the Open last year.

Swiss player Stephane Bohli, who is ranked 135 and progressed to the semifinals of last year’s Soweto Open, replaced Chardy.

This boosted hopes that Anderson would come out tops. He is ranked 56 and went through to the semifinals in the Brisbane International earlier this year, where he lost to world number eight Andy Roddick.

Also keeping South Africa’s hopes of victory alive are wild card players De Voest, Izak van der Merwe and Fritz Wolmarans. Van der Merwe is ranked 175, De Voest 180 and Wolmarans 269.

Klaasen, who is ranked 302, managed to fight his way through the weekend’s qualifiers to participate. He beat Australia’s Jordan Kerr, ranked 89 in doubles and the USA’s Rajeev Ram, ranked 186, on Saturday and Sunday respectively, to earn his way into the competition.

The SA Tennis Open is taking place at Montecasino in Fourways. Tickets for matches range from R25 to R200 and can be bought from Computicket or the Montecasino Box Office.

The SA Open is on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world tour and has been hosted at Montecasino since 2009, when it returned to Joburg after a 13-year hiatus caused by lack of sponsorship.

Sponsors of the tournament are the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, which is the core sponsor, South African Airways, Sata, Montecasino, Corona Extra, National Department of Sport and Recreation, and Jacaranda FM.

Related stories:

SA Tennis Open returns
SA Tennis Open comes to Joburg
Joburg lands major ATP event
Joburg hosts top tennis matches
Tennis is back in Soweto
Soweto Open serves top action
Soweto serves an ace