South African wheelchair tennis rising star Mariska Venter successfully defended her doubles title at the Memorial Jens Open by clinching her second doubles crown at the Royal Ter Rivieren Tennis Club in Antwerp, Belgium on Sunday.
Venter put the icing on the cake with another magnificent Memorial Jens Open campaign, teaming up with Donna Jansen from the Netherlands for a second doubles crown. The duo defeated Dutch pair Marlise Peters and Ilse van de Burgwal in straight sets, 6-3 6-2.
‘It feels great defending our title and being unbeaten for two years, a big thank-you to my partner Donna from the Netherlands,’ commented Venter.
‘The Memorial Jens Open is very close to my heart and every match we play is in honor of Jens Vanherck, a former junior tennis player who passed away seven years ago,’ added Venter.
The Memorial Jens Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures tournament forms part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and celebrates Vanherck, who passed away at the age of 15 in 2011.
In the singles event, the 22-year-old Venter was focused and determined, posting a confident win over Zoe Maras from France 6-2 6-2 in the opening round, before going on to outplay Ilse van De Burgwal (NED) 6-2 6-0 in the last eight. Venter also impressed in dismantling world No46 Polina Shakirova from Russia 6-2 7-5.
Although she could not make it a double after coming short in the final against her doubles partner Donna Jansen (NED), she played with passion to win the title of the singles runner-up after losing to Jansen 4-6 6-1 3-6.
Venter said she was disappointed at not winning the title, but ] was happy with her performance, ‘Obviously I’m disappointed for not winning the title, but I had a good run up to the final and played great tennis,’ said the world No58.
In the men’s tournament, North West’s Leon Els (pictured above) reached the semi-final round in both singles and doubles events losing to Dermot Bailey (GBR) 4-6 1-6 and to French pair of Jasaik/ Laget 2-6 6-7(7) with partner Mitchel Graauw (NED) respectively.
Photos: Venter and Els, by Reg Caldecott