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Coppinger and Tucker cruise through to the semi-finals
- Updated: June 11, 2015
Ranked 17th in the world and six-time winner of the men’s national title, Steve Coppinger, wasted no time in making his way into the semi-finals of the Laser national squash championships in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Coppinger disposed of Tristan Eysele (Border) in 20 minutes during his quarter-final.
Meanwhile, defending champion Shaun Le Roux, presently ranked 41 in the world, also only needed 20 minutes as he raced though in straight games against Michael Wood.
Third seeded Christo Potgieter (NW) took the first game 11-8 against fourth seeded JP Brits of Limpopo before Brits took control, winning the second game 11-3. Potgieter’s agility and recovering ability allowed him to assert control , applying the necessary pressure to win the next two games 11-5 11-6 and a place in the semi-finals.
Match of the evening was the 77-minute clash between young Turk, fourth seeded Thoboki Mohohlo and experienced national player, Clinton Leeuw of Western Province, who is now coaching in America.
Mohohlo drew first blood, leading 6-2 but Leeuw fought back to lead 7-6. Mohohlo, making good use of accurate placings and volleys, moved to hold game ball at 10-7 but only managed to clinch the game 12-10 on his third game ball. Both players, moving easily, making good use of deep drives, killing drops and attacking volleys punctuated by incredible retrieving, fenced physically and mentally with each other.
After 34 minutes of physically demanding play Leeuw levelled games at 1-1 and then saw Mohohlo win the third game 11-9. Points seesawed in the fourth game which again went to the experienced Leeuw.
The decider saw an increasingly confident Leeuw taking command as he led 5-2 and 8-4. With Mohohlo appearing to wilt under the pressure, Leeuw needed only one match point to put him in the semi finals and set up a clash with Coppinger.
Thursday’s semi-final schedule: Shaun le Roux v Christo Potgieter; Steve Coppinger v Clinton Leeuw.
Meanwhile in the women’s competition, Cheyna Tucker (CG), Alexandra Fuller (WP), Milnay Louw (N), and Elani Landman (CG), the respective top four women’s seeds in the tournament took their allotted places in the semi-finals.
Losing finalist in 2011 and last year, third-seeded Louw lost the first game 8-11 to Alexa Pienaar, who had upset fellow UJ student Lume Landman in the second round. Finding her rhythm, Louw took control in the second game, pocketing it 11-5, and then raced through the third for the loss of just one point and clinched the match on her second match point at 11-6.
In the semi-finals Louw will meet second seed Alexandra Fuller (WP). Fuller was a player on a mission. Attacking the ball from the first point, she raced to a straight game victory in six minutes against 9-16 seed Sonica Fritz (Northerns), who had also caused an upset in the second round when she ousted 5-8 seeded Makgosi Peloakgosi (N). The third women’s quarter-final between UJ student Elani Landman, the fourth seed, and 9-16 seed Michelle Kohne lasting 25 minutes as Landman ran out a fairly easy winner in straight games.
Top seed Tucker took the first 2 games 11-8 11-8 against former 2010 national champion, Farrah Sterne but then seemed to lose motivation as Sterne took the initiative and rattled off the next two games 11-5 11-5.
At the start of the fifth game, Tucker seemed in a confident attacking frame of mind and raced to a 8-2 lead before Sterne clawed back to trail 7-8. Tucker gained the upper hand and clinched the match on her first game point 11-8 after 41 minutes.
The women’s semi-final line-up: Louw vs Fuller, Tucker v Landman
Picture of Tucker, courtesy of CDN Sport