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Kevin’s chances improve

It was a good day for the locals at the South African Open tennis tournament at Montecasino, Johannesburg on Wednesday.

There were wins for Rik de Voest, Izak van der Merwe and Fritz Wolmarans and the demise of defending champion Feliciano Lopez will make things a whole lot easier for the South African contingent, writes Mark Etheridge.

More good news is that fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson, who did so well to reach the semi-finals of the Brisbane International in Australia earlier this year, is now left as the highest seed in the tournament.

Now ranked 59th on the ATP rankings, should the top-ranked South African go on to win this event, it would do the world of good to his rankings.

On a rain-interrupted day, top seed Lopez was beaten in three sets, 6-7 6-2 7-6 by Canada’s Frank Dancevic. It certainly was an upset of major proportions as Dancevic is ranked a lowly 234th in the world, compared to Spaniard Lopez’s current 33rd spot.

After Anderson, France’s sixth seeded Adrian Manarino is the highest rank seed to survive.

De Voest saw off Polish eighth-seed Michal Przysiezny 6-3 6-4 and was the the first player into the quarter-finals. “I had double dutey today, singles and doubles, and managed to win both, so a good day at the office,” said De Voest.

“My singles went well. I had played Michal before, in April last year and beat him in the semis of a challenger event. I checked out my notes from that match and took some good pointers into the match. I played with a lot more energy and confidence today and was happy.

In doubles Izak [Van der Merwe] played a really good match to win 6-1 6-2. Izak also won his singles match so we were both feeling confident and hitting the ball well.”

De Voest has good reason to be excited about his next match, against India’s Somdev Devvarman on Friday. “This is the first ATP quarter-finals of my career so I’m really happy and excited about that.”

There was also some history making from Wolmarans as by beating Dutchman Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 4-6 6-3 6-4 it was his first ATP main tier victory.

Results from day three:
Second round

Izak Van der Merwe (South Africa) bt Dustin Brown (Germany) 4-6 7-5 6-3
Somdev Devvarman (India) bt Jesse Huta Galung (Netherlands) 6-3 6-4
Rik De Voest (South Africa) bt *8 Michal Przysiezny (Poland) 6-3 6-4

First round
Frank Dancevic (Canada) bt *1 Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-7(5) 6-2 7-6 (8)
Karol Beck (Slovakia) bt Brian Dabul (Argentina) 7-5 7- 6 (4)
Go Soeda (Japan) bt *7 Rainer Schuettler (Germany) 3-6 6-4 6-4
Fritz Wolmarans (South Africa) bt Igor Sijsling (Netherlands) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Dudi Sela (Israel) bt Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) 1-6 7-5 6-4
Jesse Huta Galung (Netherlands) bt *3 Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) 6-7 (4) 6-4 7-6 (4)