Chani v champion | TeamSA - TeamSA

Chani v champion

Our top ranked women’s player Chani Scheepers had a fine first round win in the Western and Southern Open tournament in Cincinnati on Monday, writes Mark Etheridge.

Scheepers who has battled with her form in recent months and slipped out of the top 100 WTA Tour rankings, overcame Canadian Rebecca Marino in her first round match.

The 27-year-old South African triumphed in straight sets 7-5 6-2 in a match lasting an hour and 12 minutes out on Court Nine, breaking service on four occasions.

Out-aced by a tally of 10-1 Scheepers first service proved the more reliable (73% to 59%) and it was notably her second service that contributed to her success as she won 79% of points on her second service compared to just 39% by Marino.

Scheepers, who came through two qualifying matches to make the main draw, will take huge confidence from this match as she is currently ranked 101st compared to top ranked Canadian Marino’s 39th.

The next task for the South African is a tough one as she plays this year’s Wimbledon champion, the sixth seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, who had a first round draw.

The two have squared off on two occasions thus far, with Scheepers on the wrong end of the result both times, in Memphis three years ago and Madrid earlier this year.

What may count in Scheepers’ favour is that 21-year-old Kvitova hasn’t been in action lately, having withdrawn from tournaments in Bad Gastein and Carlsbad with an adductor injury.

Our top-ranked men’s player, Kevin Anderson is due to play his first round match on Tuesday. He takes on Xavier Malisse. Should he get past the Belgian he faces a second round match-up against Frenchman Richard Gasquet who beat Russian Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets in Monday’s first round action.