Former All Africa Games player Chanel Simmonds has annexed another title, this time in Argentina, writes Mark Etheridge.
The Kempton Park player won the ITF $10,000 title in Buenos Aires on Sunday, beating Russia’s Yuliya Kalabina in straight sets for victory.
Seeded first for the tournament, 21-year-old SImmonds beat second-seeded Kalabina 6-2 6-2.
“My initial plan was to come to Brazil and play the two WTA tournaments in Rio and Floronapoulous but unfortunately many players with higher rankings than me had entered those so I didn’t get in,” she told Road to Rio 2016 after her victory.
Plan B was to head to Argentina where she is scheduled to play two $10,000 events, the second also in Buenos Aires this week and two $25,000 tournaments in Brazil after that.
“I wouldn’t usually play the 10k tournaments because points that I win are low and wouldn’t do much to my ranking, but seeing as I was in South America anyway I just decided to play them for some extra matches and money. I was seeded one for the tournament and I played many young Argentinians and Brazilians on my way to the final.
“Even though I was more experienced, the youngsters could go into the matches with no pressure and just swing at the ball and play some good games. Also having grown up on red clay, they were more accustomed to the surface, but I found with every match I played, I felt more comfortable. Against Yuliya, she was suffering from a shoulder injury and called the trainer on court twice.
Simmonds, sporting a new-look redhead hairstyle compared to the natural, blonde, is see here during her win in the final.
“But apart from that, I still had to concentrate as she was a great mover on the clay and we had some long rallies.”
There was more success for Simmonds as she also made the doubles semi-finals with another 2011 All Africa Games team-mate, Natasha Fourouclas.
The win saw her move three spots up the WTA rankings to her current mark of 224th.