Agony and ecstasy for SA duo
Rik de Voest (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - After a succession of notable wins, weary South African Davis Cup stalwart Rik de Voest faltered at the last hurdle in his bid to qualify for the main draw in the United States Open, starting at Flushing Meadows on Monday.
In a deflating game, De Voest lost 6-4, 6-2 to German Peter Gojowczyk.
But the qualifying segment at Flushing Meadows provided a milestone for South African No 2 women's player, 21 year-old Chanel Simmonds, who gained a gritty 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over American Taylor Townsend to reach her first-ever Grand Slam main draw.
In a remarkable coincidence, Simmonds will face South African No 1 women's player, Chanelle Scheepers, in the first round of the 128- player women's draw.
It constitutes the first-ever meeting between South Africa's two top women players in a major tournament.
De Voest, meanwhile, said he would not be entering any further tournaments in the interim in order to concentrate on preparing for South Africa's vital, relegation-saving Euro-Africa Group One Davis Cup tie against Slovenia next month.
"It was a tough match for me," said De Voest about his defeat against Gojowczyk. "My opponent played well, but I was not at 100%.
"After finishing my previous second round match just before 1am," he added, "and then having no recovery treatment as all the staff had already left the venue, I was at a disadvantage going into my final round match.
"I only got back to my hotel after 2am, and did not get to bed before 3am. I then had to be back on court for my match 12 hours later.
"Obviously not the best preparation.
"My opponent had played earlier, and finished earlier allowing him more time to recover and receive treatment.
"It was unfortunate the way it worked out, as I felt I was hitting the ball well and had some good confidence going into the match after my earlier victories at Flushing Meadows.
"I will stay a few more days in New York and practice before having a couple of days off and then heading to Slovenia early to practice and prepare ahead for the Davis Cup."