17 June 2014
Unseeded South African Nic Scholtz captured his second successive Sun City Futures tennis title on the weekend when he came from behind to upset third seeded fellow South African Fritz Wolmarans 4-6 6-2 6-4 in the final.
Futures tournaments are part of the International Tennis Federation’s Pro Circuit and the first level of professional play, just below the ATP Challenger Tour. They’re a crucial stepping stone for many players aiming for careers on the ATP and WTA World Tours.
The 23-year-old, after his best two weeks of tennis ever, ended the tournament on a 10-match winning streak. On his way to the two titles, he defeated seven seeds.
‘A real battle’
“I knew today’s final was going to be a real battle,” Scholtz said after clinching victory.”Fritz is a hell of a player, with a big serve, so I had to pull out all the stops to take the match.”
The contest prove to be a lengthy battle and lasted two hours and 25 minutes long.
Scholtz started strongly breaking Wolmarans in the opening game of the match. However, in the fourth game, Wolmarans broke back to level at 2-2. The set then went with serve until the tenth game when Wolmarans broke to take the opener 6-4.
In the second set, Scholtz regrouped early and broke serve twice to lead 4-0. After winning the second set 6-2, he needed only one break in the final set to clinch the set 6-4, and with it the match and title.
‘I was able to take advantage’
“I was serving well but there were stages throughout the match that Fritz battled with his serve and I was able to take advantage,” said Scholtz. “In fact, Fritz surprisingly served quite a few double faults too, which helped me.
“It was always going to be the battle of the big serves and with me serving better and Fritz struggling with his serve I had the upper hand,” he added.
Wolmarans, despite the loss, said that he had enjoyed a good three weeks at Sun City. “To have won a title, reached a final, and a semifinal in the last three weeks, is more than I expected,” he admitted.
“I came into Sun City without having played a lot of tournaments due to a long layoff from injury, did well here, and can leave with a lot of matches under my belt and added confidence.”
In the women’s singles, top seed Chanel Simmonds showed her class and experience when she outplayed third seed Madrie le Roux 6-2 6-2 to claim the title in one hour and 28 minutes.
Playing her best tennis of the tournament, Simmonds took control of the match in the fifth game of the first set when she broke serve to lead 3-2.
Le Roux had put so much effort into the first four games that she looked like a tired and weary marathon runner on the changeover after the break. In fact, she broke Simmonds’ serve in the first game of the match and looked like a player on a mission.
Simmonds, though, promptly broke back in the second game and both players then held serve until the sixth game when Simmonds broke to lead 4-2. She subsequently closed out the set 6-2.
‘I was very consistent’
“I was very consistent, kept the ball going, yet played with good pace, which tired Madrie,” Simmonds said afterwards. “I was also playing the high ball, which forced Madrie to put in extra effort on her shots.”
Simmonds broke early in the second set and raced into a 3-0 lead. Two further breaks in the sixth and eighth games gave her the set 6-2 and with it the match and title.
Simmonds added the doubles title when she teamed up with fellow Fed Cup squad member Michelle Sammons to beat fourth seeds, Ilze Hattingh and Madrie Le Roux, 6- 3, 6-3, in the final.
The men’s doubles title went to the top seeds Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse. In the all South African final, they beat second seeds Nik Scholtz and Tucker Vorster 7- 6, 6-4.