6 May 2013

South Africa: Pospisil Lifts Soweto Open Crown

Canada's Vasek Pospisil was crowned the 2013 Soweto Open champion at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex on Saturday after Poland's Michal Przysiezny retired with a back injury, with Pospisil leading the final 6-7, 6-0, 4-1.

"I really didn't know that Michal was injured, but realised at the start of the second set he was not moving as well as he had. I just kept my mind and focus and played the best I could to stay ahead," Pospisil said afterwards.

"It's not a great way to win a title, but I'll take it anyway."

Back problem

Przysiezny admitted that late on Friday he had felt his back stiffen up. "I think it may have been the way I slept. I did not have a good night and woke up with a stiff back, but thought a rub down and warm up would sort it out," he said.

"After warming up this morning ahead of the final, I felt fine, but after the tight first set it gave in on me and I just could not continue."

The opening set went with serve until the tie breaker and after just over an hour on court, Przysiezny finally found the break to win it 9-7 and give him the opening set.

In the first game of the second set, Pospisil broke serve and raced away to capture the set 6-0. He also won the first two games of the second set. Przysiezny finally managed to hold serve to trail the Canadian 1-2 in the decider, but it was to be the last game the Pole won.

Biggest win

The title was the biggest yet won by Pospisil since he turned professional in 2007. Together with his winning trophy, he earned R135 000 and a valuable 110 world ranking points, which will help him catapult his ranking close to the top 100 and secure him a spot in the Wimbledon main draw next month.

Pospisil defeated two-time finalist Rik de Voest, the only seeded South African in the draw, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

It was a symmetrical reversal of their result in March - the Canadian winning in South Africa and the South African winning in Canada - when De Voest had defeated Pospisil 7-6, 6-4 in the final of the Challenger event in Rimouski, Canada.

Rajeev Ram and Prakash Amritraj claimed the doubles' titles, defeating Divij Sharan and Purav Raja 7-6, 7-6 in the final.

The winners received special Rhino trophies, which had been commissioned by Tennis South Africa to raise awareness of rhino poaching in South Africa.

The Women's Soweto Open starts on Monday at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex, with the final set to take place on Saturday, 11 May.

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