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Hard work but Chani beaten

By Mark Etheridge

Our top-ranked tennis player, Chani Scheepers, got through a tough qualifying round to make the main draw of the Mercury Insurance Open being played in San Diego, United States.

But that’s where her run ended as her reward for making the main draw saw her come up against fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. United States based Scheepers then went down in straight sets 5-7 3-6.

For the privilege of making the main draw, Scheepers had to come through a treble of three-setters, two of them from former East Bloc states. In her first she beat Tetiana Luzhanska of the Ukraine 6-3 4-6 6-0.

That saw her play Uzbekistan giant Akgul Amanmuradova and this was an even bigger struggle as she went through 6-7 7-6 6-4. Her third and final qualifer was up against American Jamie Hampton and she went through after a 1-6 6-0 7-5 battle.

Scheepers’ tournament is not over though because she now finds herself on the same side of the net as the sister of her first round conquerer Radwanska. Scheepers and Urszula team up for the doubles competition where they play Russian siblings Alona and Katryna Bondarenko in the first round.

Earlier this year Scheepers had a fine French Open, where she reached the fourth round in the singles competition.

There was good news for South Africans though in the doubles category as our Natalie Grandin teamed up with American Abigail Spears and the unseeded pair pulled off a giant-killing act by slaying top seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta. The Argentinian/Italian combo went down 6-2 6-4 to Grandin and Spears.

They now play the unseeded but dangerous pair of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the quarter-finals.