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Izak, Rik into semis

Two South Africans went through to the semi-finals of the Soweto Open in Johannesburg on Friday as rain continued to hold sway.

Izak van der Merwe and Rik de Voest both won their matches and because of the delays caused by rain on the previous day started their semi-finals the same day, writes Mark Etheridge.

Van der Merwe, seeded fourth for this $100,000 tournament, beat seventh seeded Slovakian Andrej Martin in straight sets, 7-6 (2) 6-4 while De Voest had the less taxing passage into the semis when Polish opponent and third seed Michal Przysienzy retired with De Voest leading 2-0 in the opening set.

Van der Merwe then took on top seeded Dustin Brown of Germany in the semi and after taking the first set 7-5 was 2-3 down in the second when the rain came down.

De Voest was up against unseeded Australian Greg Jones when the rain spoilt matters. The Aussie, who beat tournament second seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the quarters, won the first set 6-3 but trailed 3-4 in the second. Both matches will continue on Saturday.

In the women’s section, Czech Republic’s Petra Cetkovska and Valeria Savinykh of Russia will meet in the final. Second seed Cetkovska beat German eighth seed Kathrin Woerle 6-2 6-1 and Savinykh saw off Britain’s Anne Keothavong, top seed for the tournament, after the latter retired in the second set.

Earlier Woerle had beaten defending champion Nina Bratchikova in the quarter-finals.


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