Chani out of Open | SASCOC - SASCOC

Chani out of Open

Our top-ranked women’s player, Chani Scheepers was knocked out of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday, writes Mark Etheridge.

Up against 18th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, Scheepers fought hard but ended up going down in three sets. Kuznetsova won the first set 6-3, the Russian prevailing in 38 minutes. Scheepers then bounced back to take the second set by the same score in 43 minutes.

But she was no match for the former world No2 player in the third and deciding set, failing to win a game as Kuznetsova went on to win 6-3 3-6 6-0.

The players were out on the Margaret Court Arena for just short of two hours as temperatures reached a scorching 34 degrees Celcius.

Scheepers failed to come up with an ace while Kuznetsova fired down three or her own and the South African’s cause wasn’t helped by a whopping nine double faults. Scheepers had 36 unforced errors to the 43 of Kuznetsova but when it came to winners the Russian prevailed 39 to 15.

In terms of service speed the two were evenly matched with Scheepers’ fastest effort clocked at 166km/h, just slower than her opponent’s fastest.

Kuznetsova now comes up against American Sloane Stephens in the second round.

Meanwhile our beaten men’s singles player, Rik de Voest spoke of his tough first round encounter where he lost to Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu in a grueling five-setter.

“It was a tough battle yesterday,” De Voest told Road to London 2012. “We went on court at 6:30pm and finished just after 10pm at night, so a long grind.

“There was the most amount of support for my opponent that I’ve ever seen, but I managed it well and played at a high level. The most frustrating part about the match, was that I was playing well enough to win, but just could not convert a few key opportunities that I created. But it’s also encouraging to know that I am playing well enough to compete at a high level and come close to winning.

“Doubles will be next for me, before I head to Europe for a big challenger event, and then qualifying of a few ATP tour events before heading to Indian Wells for the first masters 1000 event of the year at the beginning of March.”

De Voest teams up with our top-ranked singles player Kevin Anderson for the doubles competition. They play Colombian duo Alejandro Falla and Santiago Giraldo in the first round.