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Chani into 2nd round

South Africa’s Chani Scheepers is through to the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Spain.

Our top-ranked women’s player, ranked 79th in the world, came through the qualifying rounds of the 3.5-million Euro tournament and faced another qualifier in the shape of Romania’s Monica Niculescu in the first round, writes Mark Etheridge.

Seeded 10th in the qualifying rounds, Scheepers prevailed in three tough sets going through 4-6 6-3 7-6 (3) to the second round after 2hr 47min.

It was a match that saw no aces being sent down on the clay-court surface and Scheepers had three double faults compared to her opponent’s two.

First service percentage was pretty even at 71% for Scheepers and Niculescu at 74%. She’ll now play Czech Republic player Petra Kvitova in the second round.

Kvitova is seeded 16th for the tournament (and currently 19th on the WTA Tour rankings) and also beat a Romanian player, Alexandra Dulgheru in straight sets 6-4 6-1 in the first round.

Meanwhile three of our leading men’s players are in action in the $50,000 ATP Challenger tournament in Savannah, Georgia this week. All three came through the qualifying rounds and Soweto Open winner Izak van der Merwe finds himself ranked fifth for the tournament.

He’ll play Slovenian wildcard Denis Kudla in the first round. Our other two players, Rik de Voest and Fritz Wolmarans, play Andrea Collarini (US) and Luka Gregorc (Slovenia) respectively.


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