17 April 2012
South Africa’s status as the best junior tennis nation in Africa was confirmed on the weekend when the country dominated the African Junior Tennis Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
The tournament, which catered for the under-14 and under- 16 age groups, was played in conjunction with the under-18 African Junior Championships, which were played in Potchefstroom last month.
South African Fed cup debutant Ilze Hattingh was the star of the show, winning the singles and doubles title in both the under-16 and under-18 age groups.
On Sunday, Hattingh defeated second seat Sandra Samir of Egypt 6-4 7-6 (7-2) to win the under-16 girls’ singles title. Hattingh then teamed up with fellow countrywoman Theresa Van Zyl to win the girls’ under-16 doubles title.
Previously, in Potchefstroom, Hattingh won both the singles and doubles titles in the under-18 tournament with ease. She defeated her good friend and doubles partner Madrie Le Roux 6-1, 6-1 in the final of the singles and then teamed up with Le Roux to capture the doubles crown from fellow South Africans Lynn Kiro and Theresa Van Zyl.
In the boys’ under 14 event, singles’ top-seed Calvin Jordaan from Cape Town captured the title after coming back from one set down to beat third seed Mohamed Aboulkassem of Egypt 2-6 7-5 6-3.
Most successful country
The dominance of Hattingh, plus the singles victory by Jordaan, and the doubles’ win in Potchefstroom by Wayne Montgomery and Matthew Rossouw (under-18) gave team South Africa the required points to ensure that they were named the most successful tennis country on the continent.
The South African Fed Cup team, under the captaincy of John-Laffnie De Jager, who arrived in Cairo for this week’s Fed Cup tournament there, watched the South African Juniors’ victory.
De Jager said that the country’s juniors had performed well in the Potchefstroom and Cairo tournaments, which was encouraging for the future of tennis in South Africa.
“The dominance of our juniors in the African Junior Championships is exciting for the development of tennis in our country.
“Our juniors dominated on hard and clay courts which gives hope that the future stars will be able to compete on any given surface, which will stand them in good stead for their future professional tennis careers.”
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