Following a successful SA Tennis Open at Montecasino earlier this month, the focus in South African tennis now shifts to the international junior tour and Potchefstroom will play host to two grade 2 ITF international junior tennis events.
The first event, NWU/Pukke Riaan Venter Open, runs from 28 February-4 March followed by the NWU/Pukke Riaan Venter Championships, running from 7-11 March.
Both events, grade 2 ITF, will take place at the North West University courts and will comprise of a boys and girls, 32 main draw singles event with qualifying round and a 16 main draw doubles event.
The boys draw will be spearheaded by world number 11 Filip Horansky of Slovakia. Horanksy, who will be in South Africa for the first time, boasts an impressive junior career to date with his most recent success coming from a semi-final berth at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Late last year, Horansky had a quarter-final showing at the Junior US Open.
The Slovakian will be the top seed, followed by Kimmer Coppejans and Jeroen Vanneste, both of Belgium, who will be seeded two and three respectively, with Bar Tzuf Botzer of Israel seeded four.
The SA challenge will be led by Warren Kuhn (Gauteng Central), Wayne Montgomery (Western Province) and Matthew Rossouw (Gauteng North).
Top seed in the girls draw is Zarah Razafimahatratra of Madagascar, who is currently ranked 25 on the international rankings. Razafimahatratra, the reigning African closed champion of 2010, will be returning to South Africa to defend her title in Potchefstroom.
Second seed in the girls tournament will be Klara Fabikova of the Czech Republic, with Donna Vekic of Croatia seeded three. The only South African with direct acceptance into the main draw, Natasha Fouroclas is seeded four. Fouroclas, who reached the semi-finals of the same tournament last year, will be looking to keep the title in South Africa.
Tournament Director, Riaan Venter, said he was extremely happy with the high level of entries both tournaments had received. ÔÇ£It is great that we have such a large international interest in the two Junior ITF tournaments that are taking place here in Potchefstroom. Our facilities are world class and if Potchefstroom was good enough for FIFA World Cup champion’s Spain, then there is no reason why Potchefstroom should not be the preferred host for tournaments of this nature.ÔÇØ
1 Filip Horanksy (Slovakia)
2 Kimmer Coppejans (Belgium)
3 Jeroen Vanneste (Belgium)
4 Bar Tzuf Botzer (Israel)
5 Jonas Merckx (Belgium)
6 Benjamin Lock (Zimbabwe)
7 Tim Srkala (Switzerland)
8 Vullnet Tashi (Switzerland)
1 Zarah Razafimahatratra (Madagascar)
2 Klara Fabikova (Czech Republic)
3 Donna Vekic (Croatia)
4 Natasha Fourouclas (South Africa)
5 Reka Muller (Hungary)
6 Diana Bogoliy (Ukraine)
7 Sabina Lupu (Romania)
8 Katy Dunne (Great Britain)