Van der Merwe surges on
Izak van der Merwe (Gallo Images)
Soweto - Izak Van der Merwe turned out another strong performance in his second round match against English player Chris Eaton in the Soweto Open at the Arthur Ashe tennis centre on Wednesday.
The South African number four seed ousted his opponent in straight sets 6-4 7-6 (7-3).
"I was happy with the way I played, there were a few opportunities I could have taken in the first set but I can’t complain with the result," said Van der Merwe who has now been involved in two tiebreakers in his opening matches, winning both.
"I think I played a really good tiebreak there.
"I hit a couple good passing shots and that was key.
"I also served really well, although I missed a few first serves I managed to hit some good second serves.
"You just want to execute in tiebreaks, and I think I did that yesterday and today and I’m pretty pleased about that," said Van der Merwe.
Playing at high altitude also seems to suit the lanky 27-year-old.
"I feel like every time I play in Joburg I know exactly what do and how to approach my matches and be the best player I can be.
"Sometimes when I play in different conditions I can be a bit hesitant but here if I execute I can get some really good results.
"Here at altitude you really want to use your serve to win points or to setup points, but you have to mix up the pace and vary it, otherwise your opponent could figure you out very quickly," said Van der Merwe.
The other South African hopeful, number six seed, Rik De Voest needed three sets to overcome qualifier Denys Molchanov of the Ukraine.
He won 6-3 3-6 6-3.
His match was affected by rain interruptions.
"It was the same for both players, and it’s just a case of how you deal with it."
"It just happened that there was an interruption before my serve in the second set and I just didn’t make any first serves and my opponent took advantage of that." said De Voest.
"It’s great that Izak and I got through, hopefully I can improve a few parts of my game and we can maybe play each other in the final." added De Voest.
Number one seed, Dustin Brown of Germany continued his good play with a 6-4 6-4 victory over American Rajeev Ram.
South African qualifier Ruan Roelofse started well in his match against Slovakian Andrej Martin, but lost in three sets 6-1 4-6 2-6.
In the women's draw, the English number one seed Anne Keothavong struggled to victory in three sets with a 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 over Serbian Teodora Mircic.
"The conditions are pretty tricky here and I've struggled in my last two matches, and with the courts being so fast it takes some getting used to," said Keothavong.
"I’m back to peak fitness coming off my injury, but I'm not quite back to peak form," she quipped.
Keothavong, currently ranked 107th, held the 48th spot in 2009 and has just come off an injury.
"It's no secret, my tennis has dipped lately and for me it's all about getting my confidence back, and that comes with winning matches," said Keothavong.
Results at the Soweto Open on 13 April 2011:
 Dustin Brown (GER) bt Rajeev Ram (USA) 6-4 6-4
 Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Danai Udomchoke (THA) 6-3 7-6(4)
 Izak van der Merwe (RSA) bt Chris EAton (GBR) 6-4 7-6(3)
 Andrej Martin bt Ruan Roelofse (RSA) 1-6 6-4 6-2
 Rik de Voest (RSA) bt Denys Molchanov 6-3 3-6 6-3
 Michal Przysienzy (POL) bt Sergei Bubka (POL) 6-2 6-3
Greg Jones (AUS) bt Jan Mertl (CZE) 7-6(2) 7-5
 Gilles Muller (LUX) bt Ludovic Walter (FRA) 6-3 7-5
Greg Jones (AUS)/Rajeev Ram(USA) bt  James Cerretani (USA)/Adil Shamasdin (CAN) 6-4 3-6 10-2
Andre Begemann (GER)/Matthew Ebden (AUS) bt Sanchai Ratiwatana(THA)/Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) 4-6 6-3 10-7
 Dustin Brown (GER)/Raven Klaasen (RSA) bt Rik de Voest (RSA)/Izak van der Merwe (RSA) 7-6(6) 6-3
 Michael Kohlmann (GER)/Alexander Peya (AUT) bt Sebastian Rieschick (GER)/Simon Stadler (GER) 7-6(7) 6-4
 Anne Keothavong (GBR) bt Teodora Mircic (SRB) 6-3 7-6(3)
Eirini Georatou (GRE) bt Cagla Buyukakcay (TUR) 6-2 4-6 6-4
Valeria Savinykh (RUS) bt Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) 6-2 6-2
 Corinna Dentoni (ITA) bt Zarah Razafimahatratra (MAD) 6-3 6-0
 Kathrin Woerle (GER) bt Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) 7-5 7-6(2)
 Nina Bratchikova (RUS) bt Lisa Whybourn (GBR) 5-7 6-3 6-1
Kiki Bertens (NED) bt Ana-Clara Duarte (BRA) 6-1 6-3
 Petra Cetkovska (CZE) bt Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) 6-4 6-1
 Eva Birerova (CZE)/Petra Cetkovska (CZE) bt Naomi Broady (GBR)/Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) 6-4 6-4
 Nina Bratchikova (RUS)/Valeria Savinykh (RUS) bt Eirini Georgatou (GRE)/Oksana Kalashnikova (GEO) 6-4 6-0
Kiki Bertens (NED)/Anne Keothavong (GBR) bt Anne Kremer (LUX)/Nicole Rottman (AUT) 3-6 6-2 10-4