Defeat for SA trio | SASCOC - SASCOC

Defeat for SA trio

Tuesday hasn’t proved to be the best day for South African tennis with three of our stars ending up on the wrong side of results in Australia and New Zealand, writes Mark Etheridge.

Kevin Anderson’s start to his year hasn’t gone as smoothly as he would hoped for and he crashed out of the Heineken Open in New Zealand. In the spotlight on centre court in Auckland, Anderson went down in straight sets to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

This after he missed the Brisbane International in Australia where he had planned to open his 2012 campaign. A knee niggle saw the lanky South African opting out as a precautionary measure and he turned his focus on the Kiwi tournament.

In Australia our top-ranked women’s player, Chani Scheepers went down to Na Li in the second round of the Apia International in Sydney. Scheepers had beaten Hungary’s Melinda Czink in the first round to set up the clash with the world’s fifth ranked player.

And, as is customary, she fought hard, pushing the Chinese star to three sets in a match lasting 1hr 35min before going down 6-2 4-6 1-6.

Back to Auckland though and Mannarino, who came through the qualifying rounds, was in unstoppable mood, as he won 6-3 6-3 and winning an incredible 90% of his first service points compared to Anderson’s 77% rate.

Anderson saw his service broken on three occasions and he was unable to force a single break point against his 23-year-old opponent. It was Mannarino that Anderson beat to secure his maiden ATP Tour title when he won the Johannesburg Open last year.

Anderson did win the battle of the aces, sending down six to the three of Mannarino but that was the only area of the statistics department that he shaded.

The two have now met on five occasions, three of them in Challenger and qualifying events and Anderson has a narrow 3-2 lead.

Mannarino, ranked 87th on the ATP Tour rankings, made the quarter-finals of the Heineken Open last year and now plays Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round.

Anderson, who ended the year ranked 32nd, will be hoping he gets back into the groove soon with this being an Olympic year. The United States based athlete’s big-serving game is tailor-made for causing upsets and he’ll be hoping to be part of Team South Africa in London later this year.

In the junior ranks Boland player Wayne Montgomery reached the final of the City of Salisbury AMT event in South Australia. After receiving a wildcard entry he ended up being seeded sixth and played

Aussie second seed Robert McKenzie in the final where he lost 6-1 1-6 1-6. Montgomery and Daniel Crago were also action in the doubles category where they reached the quarter-finals.

All three of our players will be involved in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, starting in Melbourne next week, Montgomery in the Under-18 division.