Leon Els Lifts Third Pretoria Open Title

South Africa’s Leon Els, the men’s top seed, claimed his third title at the Airports Company South Africa Pretoria Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures tournament on Wednesday at Rietondale Tennis Club in Pretoria with a 6-3 6-3 clean sweep against his doubles partner and second-seed Australian Keegan Oh-Chee.  The defending champion admitted to nerves but raced to a blistering two-setter in a 2-hour match against the Australian.  Els says:  ‘The start was a little doggy, I was stiff and nervous.  Nothing worked in the first two games, Keegan was really good, consistent and relaxed.  I fought my way back to 2-all in the first set, something just clicked, I relaxed and everything worked out for me.  In the second set, I was 3-0 up and lost concentration then Keegan lifted his game but I came back and closed the set 6-3.  I am very excited for being crowned the title winner for the third year in a row and I look forward to defending my title in the next tournament in Soweto.’

Despite having played each other, the duo joined forces to face second-seeds Levi Amir and Asi Stokol in doubles competition on team debut.  The pair dispatched Amir and Stokol 6-3 6-2 to clinch their first Pretoria Open doubles title together.  In the women’s tournament, Christine Schoenn enjoys a double-win in Pretoria.

The French-lady dethroned South Africa’s Rose Van Der Meer who toppled top seed Mariska Venter yesterday in the semi-final.  Schoenn disposed Van er Meer in the women’s singles final Dclash 6-2 6-1 to clinch her first Pretoria Open title.  Schoenn said she played her best in the tournament and she is very thrilled to take the Pretoria Open title for the first time.

Schoenn was very pleased with her decision to visit South Africa for the Futures tournament this year, saying:  ‘It is my first time coming to South Africa to play a Futures tournament and I am very excited to have won this title on my first Futures event in the country.’  Just an hour after her singles final, the French-lady partnered Lethabo Shai to victory in the women’s doubles final.  The pair whipped South African duo of Mariska Venter and Rose van der Meer 4-6 6-3 10-7.

Another South African to capture a title was Bongani Dlamini, who demolished his compatriot and second-seed Danny Mohlamonyane 6-2 6-2 to secure his fourth quads singles title.  The two were meeting for the third time in the Pretoria Open final round and Dlamini won all encounters.  The country’s top junior player Alwande Skhosana took just 77 minutes to defeat Cape Town’s Zenani Mncedi 6-4 6-2 for the boy’s singles title and Nokwanda Hlongwane denies Judith Mdaka the girls singles title. Hlongwane beat Mdaka 6-1 7-5 to clinch the title.

The Soweto Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures event, will be contested at Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto from July 3 to July 6.

Photo credit: Reg Caldecott