Scheeper's fine French form | SASCOC - SASCOC

Scheeper’s fine French form

Our top ranked women’s tennis player Chanelle Scheepers is the first South African woman to reach the fourth round of the French Open for 13 years after soaring past powerful Uzkbekistan player Akgul Amanmuradova 6-3 6-3 on Friday.

Ranked 133rd in the world, the 26-year-old Pretoria resident now faces Russian fifth seed Elena Dementieva for a place in the last eight.

“I’m really pleased. Coming here, I really wanted to do well and I don’t think I expected this, although I always knew I could do something like this,” said Scheepers, who had to come through the qualifying tournament.

“It’s starting to sink in now and hopefully I can keep on just doing what I’m doing and keep playing matches.”

AFP reports that not since Amanda Coetzer’s run to the semi-finals in 1997 has a South African woman gone so deep into the tournament on the Paris clay, and Scheepers had not even progressed past the first round at a Grand Slam before this week.

Coetzer was also the last woman from her country to make the fourth round in a Grand Slam, at the 2003 Australian Open.

“In South Africa there are no claycourts,” said Scheepers when asked about her experience on the surface.

“I grew up on hard courts. As a junior I might have played a handful of claycourt tournaments. But it’s really quite a surprise that I’m doing this at the French Open. Hopefully it can do something for tennis in South Africa.”

Scheepers secured the biggest win of her career to date when she ousted Argentine world number 45 Gisela Dulko in the previous round.

Bright sunshine replaced the rain of the previous two days on Friday and Scheepers had to wait until the early evening to begin her match against world number 98 Amanmuradova on the outermost court, Court 17.

Amanmuradova had won the pair’s previous two meetings, in qualifying at Rome and Indian Wells earlier this year, but Scheepers secured three breaks of serve and saved three points on her own serve to take the first set in 39 minutes.

With the shadows lengthening she secured a crucial break of serve in the second set and clinched a memorable victory when her opponent sliced a loose backhand into the tramlines.