Johannesburg - After recent years of near-misses and frustration, amiable South African Davis Cup stalwart Rik de Voest has finally made his much-sought Wimbledon breakthrough by qualifying for the men's singles main draw which gets underway on Monday.
The 31 year-old De Voest eased into the main draw on Sunday after completing a gruelling path through the 128-man qualifying segment by beating Slovakia's Grega Zemlja 6-2, 6-7 (7) 6-2 6-4 in a tough, tense battle that lasted three hours.
In the process, De Voest joined Kevin Anderson and Chani Scheepers and became only the third South African to qualify for the singles in the tournament which the English refer to as "The Championships" and which remains as the most prestigious event on the world's tennis calendar.
The 32nd-seeded De Voest initially beat Frederico Del Bonis 6-3 6-4 and then accounted for tricky Adimir Delic 6-4 7-6 (4) in earlier qualifying games to confirm again his respected stature on the international tennis circuit.
Not so fortunate were South African Davis Cup player Izak van der Merwe, who lost in the first qualifying round, and Fritz Wolmarans, who put up a creditable performance in progressing to one round before the final qualifiers.
De Voest, meanwhile, has strengthened his prospect of being chosen ahead of Van der Merwe for the second singles berth along with No 1 Anderson when South Africa face The Netherlands in the crucial Euro-Africa Davis Cup tie in Potchefstroom early next month.