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Finalists decided for SA nationals

Top seeds Steve Coppinger and second seed Shaun le Roux will take to the all-glass court at Wanderers Club in Johannesburg for Friday night’s final of the Laser national squash championships.
Thursday’s semi-finals saw similarities to the 2012 match-up where Coppinger played Clinton Leeuw and went through 11-2 12-10 11-5. On this occasion Coppinger again played Leeuw and advanced to his ninth national final as he registered a straight game win – 11-8 11-2 11-6 in 31 minutes.
Since 2007 Coppinger has engraved his name on the trophy six times while also being runner-up to his coach Rodney Durbach in 2009 and losing to Le Roux in last year’s final.
In a bruising 71-minute encounter Le Roux eventually got the upper hand over North West’s Christo Potgieter, winning through in four games. In the first game Le Roux, ranked 41st in the world, raced to a 7-1 and 9-3 lead before taking the game at 11-5.
Potgieter turned the tables in the second game, aided by some unforced errors from Le Roux and led 8-1. Le Roux played his way back into the game to level at 8-all and hold game point at 10-8. Potgieter, in his own inimitable fashion, had been diving around the court retrieving some impossible returns and at one stage had to leave the court as his hand was bleeding.
On his return numerous lets followed, but Potgieter won the game on his first game point at 12-10.
Some fast and furious exchanges delighted the crowd but the defending champion took control of the match and booked a place in his fourth national final.
A new women’s champion will be crowned when top seeds Cheyna Tucker (CG) and Alexandra Fuller (WP) face each other.
Fuller, who reached the final in 2013 where she lost to Siyoli Waters, needed 42 minutes to subdue third-seeded Milnay Louw.
Accurate placings by Fuller which put Louw under pressure, saw Fuller win the first game 11-9.
A similar pattern followed in the second game but Louw got the upper hand, taking it 11-8. Gaining in confidence and making use of deeper attacking drives Fuller raced through the game 11-5. Louw saved three match points but Fuller clinched the match on her fourth match point at 11-9.
Sixty minutes of positive attacking squash was dished up by top-seeded Tucker and fourth-seeded Elani Landman, a student at UJ. Tucker used her volley to good effect to win the first game 11-7 and lead 5-1 in the second.
Dominating play with hard deep drives and short shots, Landman levelled at five-all and then led 10-5. But hard low cross-courts saw Tucker back into the game and the score stood at 10-all. Both players had two games points each with the UJ student eventually winning the game on a stroke at 14-12.
Tucker returned to the court and showed little letting up as she raced though the third game 11-4  in just eight minutes.
Landman returned the favour in the fourth game needing only six minutes to return an 11-2 score.
The stage was set –  both players positive and attacking and there were long rallies, desperate retrieving, accurate drops, hard drives, accurately placed volleys – and with the score changing hands nearly every point.
Landman held a match point at 11-10 – but it was Tucker who snatched the match on her third match point at 14-12 to enter her first senior national final.

Men’s semi-finals
: 1 Stephen Coppinger (KZN) bt 5-8 Clinton Leeuw (WP) 11-8 11-2 11-6, 
2 Shaun Le Roux bt 3-4 Christo Potgieter (NW) 11-7 11-3 10-12 11-4
Women’s semi-finals: 
1 Cheyna Tucker (CG) bt 3-4 Elani Landman (CG) 11-7 12-14 11-6 2-11 14-12, 
2 Alexandra Fuller (WP) bt 3-4 Milnay Louw (WP) 11-9 8-11 11-5 11-9


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