Namibia: Van Schalkwyk Through to Final

NAMIBIA's Connor van Schalkwyk will meet South Africa's Anro Nel in the Boys u16 final of the CAT Southern African Junior Championships in Windhoek today after they both comfortably won their semifinals on Monday.

The second-seeded Van Schalkwyk beat the fourth-seeded South African Rohan Loubser 6-2, 6-2, while the third-seeded Nel beat his compatriot, the top-seeded Devin Badenhorst, who retired due to ill health.

Van Schalkwyk was in great form and came out firing from the start with his powerful serve and groundstrokes clicking into gear.

Loubser managed to hold his serve in the opening game, but Van Schalkwyk then broke him twice to race into a 5-1 lead. Loubser held his serve to pull back to 5-2, but Van Schalkwyk clinched the first set in style with an ace and a great passing shot.

Van Schalkwyk immediately broke Loubser's serve at the start of the second set, but the South African briefly recovered, breaking back with some fine passing shots in the fourth game to draw level at 2-2.

Van Schalkwyk, however, immediately broke back as Loubser started making too many unforced errors, and then went 4-2 ahead with a great diving volley at the net.

By now Loubser's resistance was broken and with Van Schalkwyk once again breaking his serve, the Namibian cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

After the match Van Schalkwyk said it was his best performance to date.

"I played very well today, I felt comfortable and all my shots came off. I'd say this was probably the best match that I have played so far," he said.

Van Schalkwyk will now meet Nel in today's final and said he was confident of success.

"I beat him twice in December in Cape Town, winning both matches in straight sets, so I'm feeling confident about my chances in the final. I felt under a bit of pressure at the start of the tournament, but now I feel more confident," he said.

Nel, meanwhile, reached the final by default after the top-seeded Devin Badenhorst withdrew due to ill health.

Badenhorst won the first set 6-4, but started complaining of dizziness and a lack of breath and eventually gave up with Nel leading 5-2 in the second set.

Nel said he was happy with his form.

"Devin was suffering from flu so he couldn't continue, but I was happy with my game and my serve was very good," he said.

Nel, however, said it would be difficult to beat Van Schalkwyk.

"Connor beat me the last time we played so it will be difficult to beat him. He will also have the crowd on his side so that will be tough and I will have to work on my mental preparation," he said.

The u16 girls final will be contested between the top-seeded Leigh van Zyl of South Africa and her second-seeded compatriot Suzanie Pretorius.

In the semifinals on Monday, Van Zyl beat her third-seeded compatriot Naledi Manyube 6-2, 6-3, while Pretorius beat the fourth-seeded Safidisoa Nomenjanahary of Madagascar 6-3, 6-1.

The Boys u14 final will be contested between the top-seeded Takura Mhwandagara of Zimbabwe and the second-seeded Leo Matthysen of South Africa.

In the semifinals, Mhwandagara beat Willem de Waal of South Africa 6-4, 6-3, while Matthysen beat Thomu Thompson of Zimbabwe 6-2, 6-2.

The girls u14 final will be contested between the top-seeded Midzi Tanyarazwa of Zimbabwe and Jani Steyn of South Africa.

In the semifinals, Tanyarazwa beat Kaitlyn Ramduth of South Africa 6-2, 6-3, while Steyn beat compatriot Mari Louise van Zyl 6-4, 6-3.

The boys and girls u14 and u16 finals take place at the Central Tennis Courts in Olympia on Tuesday morning, starting at 09h00.

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