Lleyton Cronje of Gauteng North and Jessica Kahts of Gauteng Central were crowned the 2018 Wilson R100 000 Challenge Champions on Sunday.
The tournament in its sixth year, is the richest national tournament on the Tennis South Africa (TSA) calendar.
In the junior under 14 tournament, Lwazi Ngwenya of Gauteng Central and Kagiso Ledwaba of Gauteng North won the boys and girls singles titles respectively
Cronje, who is a joint Growthpoint Junior National Under 18 boys’ singles champion (shared the title last month with Philip Henning of Free State due to the final being rained out), was stretched in his final on Sunday by Zimbabwe’s Mehluli Sibanda. Top seeded Cronje won a hard fought final battle with seventh seeded Sibanda, winning 4-6 6-4 6-2 in two and a half hours. For his efforts, Cronje pockets R20 000.00 which he will put towards his tennis travel expenses.
“I feel great to have won the tournament and obviously the cash as I leave soon for Europe – so the money will come in handy to pay expenses for the five week trip. It was the first time in seven attempts I beat Mehluli so the win was extra special. I felt I played well throughout the tournament, losing only one set in five matches” said Cronje.
In the women’s singles, Kahts of the Pirates Club in Johannesburg had a dream tournament. Unseeded, Kahts upset Joburg’s Neo Mafuyeka in the second round and then dropped only one set en route to the final. In the final, Kahts beat unseeded Samantha Muller 6-3 7-5 in their first ever meeting.
“I’m very excited to have won the title. This is the second tournament I have played in two and a half years since returning back to the country after completing my USA NCAA scholarship at Texas State University and it’s great to be on the winning podium again” said a clearly excited Kahts following victory.
In the boys under 14 singles, third seeded Ngwenya of Greenside High School in Johannesburg beat fourth seed, Benjamin Scott 6-2 6-4 to lift the title.
Third seeded Kagiso Ledwaba needed three sets to dispose of Tayla Wilmot, seeded eight of Gauteng East 6-7 (10) 6-2 6-3 in her under 14 girls final.