Cape Town - Rising South African tennis star Lloyd Harris spearheaded a good week for South African players on the professional circuits when he captured his second ATP Challenger title at the Stockton Challenger in California on Sunday.
Harris, seeded fourth, beat Australian Marc Polmans, seeded eighth, 6-2, 6-2 in the final. The last South African to win this tournament was Rik de Voest in 2005.
Harris’ triumph takes his singles ranking to a career high this week at No 113.
“I am very happy with the win and the way I am playing. I am striking the ball well, serving well and all the hard work is finally paying off. I am going to work on keeping the momentum and giving myself the best chance of breaking into the world’s top 100,” Harris said via a press statement.
Harris now has moved on to the Northbay Healthcare Men’s Pro Championship starting in Fairfield, California on Monday.
Meanwhile in Tokyo at the ATP Japan Open, South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and his New Zealand doubles partner Michael Venus enjoyed a good week by reaching the final.
Home favourite Ben McLachlan captured the doubles title in Tokyo for the second year in a row on Sunday, partnering German Jan-Lennard Struff past No 3 seeds Klaasen and Venus 6-4, 7-5.
Klaasen and Venus earned three more points in the match than the winners (63-60). But the difference came on break points, as McLachlan and Struff saved all five they faced in the match.
These two pairings can meet again in this week’s Shanghai Masters in China, where Klaasen and Venus have a bye in the opening round as the No 7 seeds.
While Klaasen and Venus were disappointed to not claim their second title as a pair, they still split $56 620 and added 300 points to their tally.
“It’s been a great week for us. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and thanks to the crowd,” Klaasen said. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere out here.”
Klaasen moves up a spot on the individual world doubles ranking to 18 and with Michael Venus the team remain in contention for a spot in the ATP Finals in London in November positioned at No 7 in the race.
In the same tournament, Kevin Anderson lost in the quarter finals. Eighth seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet upset second seeded Anderson 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4) in the last eight.
Despite the loss, Anderson moves up one spot to No 8 on the singles world rankings and also up a spot to number 7 on the race to the ATP Finals in London.
Anderson will also be in action at the Shanghai Masters and will begin his campaign against the winner of the match between qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin from Kazakhstan and Albert Ramos-Vinolas from Spain.