Two South Africans are through to the semi-finals of the South African Open tennis tournament at Monte Casino, Johannesburg.
Fourth seeded Kevin Anderson and Izak van der Merwe went through on Friday but Davis Cup veteran Rik van der Voest fell by the wayside after yet another marathon clash.
Anderson had the easier of victories, blitzing past Slovakia’s Karol Beck in straight sets 6-3 6-1 in a match that lasted two minutes shy of an hour.
Van der Merwe wasn’t far behind as the 170th ranked South African beat Simon Greul, also in straight sets 7-6 (5) 6-2 to make his first ATP Tour semi-final.
Sadly De Voest was on the wrong end of yet another lengthy match, this time losing out to India’s Somdev Devvarman in three sets, 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1 in a 2hr 25min encounter.
“Scaling a new level is certainly a boost for my future plans,” said the 27 year-old, 170th-ranked Van der Merwe told Sapa afterwards. “So far I’ve beaten three players in this tournament who are all ranked higher than me and it is a good feeling to know I can cope with opponents at that level.”
Van der Merwe and Devvarman now cross swords in Saturday’s first semi-final. Anderson, the highest ranked player in the tournament, comes up against France’s “dark horse” sixth seed, Adrian Mannarino in the other semi-final.
“I know Mannarino’s game pretty well,” said Anderson after producing what he termed his best tennis of the tournament. “We’ve played three times and I’ve gained two three- set victories and lost once in three sets.”
And confirming the Frenchman’s mettle was the way the wily Mannarino disposed Frank Dancevic, the conquerer of defending champion Feliciano Lopez, by a 6- 6-2 margin in the remaining quarter-final.
Anderson, however, was equally impressive against Beck, who, to be true, was not the formidable player who almost a dozen years ago accounted for Wayne Ferreira in a Davis Cup tie at the Wanderers Cricket Stadium.