Simmonds on fire in Potch
Chanel Simmonds (Gallo Images)
Potchefstroom - The heat was on here at the RVTA NWU-PUKKE Futures tournament on Tuesday.
Chanel Simmonds, the women’s top seed, was on fire as she thumped unseeded American, Miriam Lane 6-0, 6-1 to move into the second round.
The South African, who won the first tournament at the same venue last week now has won six matches on the trot at the NWU-PUKKE venue without dropping a set. Her good form makes her one of the stand-out performers of the men’s and women’s Futures series.
The day, however, belonged to top South African junior Ilze Hattingh. The African junior champion shocked last week’s runner-up, Keren Shlomo, seeded three of Israel in a hard fought 7-6 (7/4) 3-6, 6-2 battle.
Hattingh, who made her Fed Cup debut this year, showed impressive energy throughout the match. “This was a big win for me. It ranks right up there as one of the most important. I’m still a junior and playing international senior tournaments and beating seeded players gives me so much confidence going forward,” said Hattingh.
Hattingh will meet her India’s Sharon Paul in Wednesday’s second round.
Kim-Alice Grajdek, seeded four from Germany, overcame a first set scare to beat unseeded Nelise Verster from South Africa 7-6 (7/5) 6-3, while Zimbabwe’s Valeria Bhunu defeated Julia Browne of the USA 6-2, 6-0 in the battle of the unseeded players.
Bhunu, like Hattingh is a junior player and comes into Potchefstroom fresh from winning the ITF title at the SAS Junior ITF in Stellenbosch.
In the men’s singles, there were mixed fortunes for South African players. Fourth seeded Abdullah Maqdas of Kuwait enjoyed victory when he put out South Africa’s Renier Moolman 6-4, 6-1.
Last week’s winner, Simon Cauvard of France, seeded five this week, had a straight sets win over Phenyo Matong from Botswana 6-3, 6-2. Seventh seeded Stepan Khotulev from Russia came from a first set deficit to beat unseeded American William Boe-Wiegaard 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.
In a much anticipated first round clash between the two South African Davis Cup newcomers, Nikala Scholtz and Jean Andersen, Andersen was forced to retire due to a groin injury at 1-1 in the opening set.
Scholtz will now play Seventh seeded Stepan Khotulev of Russia in round two.
Round two will be played on Wednesday with the finals of the tournament scheduled for Saturday. There is no entry fee for spectators.