SA challenge ends as Rik, Dean go down in Soweto | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA challenge ends as Rik, Dean go down in Soweto

The South African tennis challenge came up short at the Soweto Open on Thursday with our last two players in the singles draw falling by the wayside.

This is now the first time in the history of the Soweto Open that a South African failed to progress to the last four.

Veteran Rik de Voest crashed out in in the quarter-final, losing 6-3 0-6 6-4 to third seed Vasek Pospisil, reports Sapa.

It was the second time De Voest failed to reach the last four, after he was knocked out in the first round of the 2010 ATP Challenger event.

“Today was disappointing because I came here to do well, and there was an expectation for me to do well,” De Voest said.

“Overall, the quality of tennis in the match was fairly good. There were just one or two points here and there where I made a few too many mistakes, particularly earlier on in the match.

De Voest was broken twice in the third set and got one back, holding on to stay in the match, but it was a case of too little too late for the South African, who bowed out 6-4 in the deciding set.

“Pospisil has a phenomenal serve and I think he relies on that and when he’s serving well he plays a lot better, and he just didn’t make as many unforced errors as what he did in the second set,” De Voest said.

The game ended a 15-match winning streak for De Voest, who has seen a good run of form over the past months, taking his ranking from 350 to top 200 in a space of two months.

“Overall, I feel like I’m playing better than I have before and unfortunately my win streak comes to an end. From February through till now I think I’ve had a great two, three months and hopefully I can continue with the swing and the momentum and keep it going.”

Countryman Dean O’Brien also failed to reach the semi-finals. He was beaten in straight sets, 6-3 6-3 by top seeded Slovak Lukas Lacko.

“I wanted to get off to a good start and take it from there, but I got outplayed at the end of the day,” O’Brien said. “This was my first match against a top 100 player and it was definitely a learning curve for me.

“I can say I’m proud of myself for what I’ve achieved in this tournament and probably this could be a good jump start to a good year.”

Earlier, second seed Rajeev Ram was knocked out of the tournament after he was beaten 7-6 (7/4) 7-5 by Mate Pavic. “I felt terrible on my serve today,” Ram said.

“I felt like it wasn’t popping as much and it just didn’t feel really good. I was trying to find my rhythm but it wasn’t really happening for me.”

Fifth seed Michal Przysiezny of Poland outclassed Germany’s Dustin Brown 6-3 7-6 (7/1).