SA duo move up in the world
Johannesburg - On the eve of the prestigious and lucrative ATP Masters Finals in Shanghai, South African qualifiers Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie have individually achieved their highest world doubles rankings.
The 31 year-old Coetzee has moved up to 12th top doubles player in the world and Moodie is now in 14th position.
But while the elevation of South Africa's Davis Cup pairing is a timely morale-booster for an event that boasts a winners' prize in excess of R2.5m, the draw made on Thursday for Shanghai has been less kind to Moodie and Coetzee.
The South Africans have been drawn in the same group as United States number one seeds Mike and Bob Bryan and third-seeded Mark Knowles and Mahesh Bhupathi - with the two top combinations from each group going through to the semi-finals.
"Everything we achieve in Shanghai," said Coetzee, "will be like the cherry on top of the cake. Having made this elite tournament has already been fantastic."
Highlighting the performance of the South Africans is the fact that Moodie was ruled out of tennis for three months following the Wimbledon Championships in July, with medical opinion initially suggesting he was unlikely to play again this year.
However, a stunning comeback during the last four weeks in which Coetzee and Moodie reached three ATP semi-finals and one final in successive tournaments, sent them hurtling into the Shanghai year-end finals like finely-tuned race horses.
The last South African pair to reach the Masters Doubles finals were current South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager and David Adams, who achieved the feat eight years go.