It was a good week for South African junior tennis players when they dominated the Wanderers Junior ITF international tournament which ended at the Wanderers Sporting Club in Illovo, Johannesburg this weekend.
South Africans made a clean title sweep winning the boys and girls singles and doubles titles in the first of two back to back Gauteng hosted international junior events.
Bloemfontein junior, Joubert Klopper (Free State) seeded 6 upset top seeded Pierre Malan (Western Cape) also of South Africa to win his maiden international junior title. In a marathon final that took 3 hrs. 44 minutes, Klopper beat Malan 5-7 6-4 7-6 (1).
Klopper saved a match point when serving 4-5 down in the second set delivering a big first serve which Malan returned long.
“I am hugely excited to have won my first international singles title. I’ve been a runner up twice and now I can say I am an international champion” said Klopper after victory. “It wasn’t easy, Pierre played well and is always a tough competitor. After losing the first set I said to myself forget that set and let’s start the match over, a mental toughness tip I got from my coach Ruan Botha. That helped me regroup and I was able to remain mentally strong for the remainder of the match which I think was the key to my success.”
In the Girls singles final, top seed “comeback kid” Megan Basson (Gauteng Central) of South Africa came from behind to beat her compatriot, Linge Steenkamp (Fee State) the fourth seed 3-6 7-5 6-1 in a 2 hr. 30 min thriller to lift the title.
Basson, 16 years old from Fairlands, west of Johannesburg, saved six match points in the second set before winning the title.
“I had not lost a set all week going into the finals so when I lost that first set against Linge it was quite a shock. I then found myself 3-5 down in the second set and said to myself I had worked and played so hard getting to the final I wasn’t going to let it slip” said Basson.
Basson was serving with her “back against the wall” at 3-6 3-5 and saved six match points in that mammoth ninth game that took nearly 15 minutes to complete
“I was in all sorts of trouble in that ninth game. Match points down on serve but I maintained my composure. Winning that game gave me so much confidence and I was able to break serve in the next game and hold on to win the set. In the third set the momentum was with me and I managed to dominate and secure the win. I am very happy with my efforts and feel my game is in good space” said Basson.
The Wanderers title was Basson’s fifth international junior title.
Joubert Klopper won the double when he captured the boys doubles title with fellow South African Gerhardt Bekker. Second seeded Klopper and Becker upset top seeds Pierre Malan and Charl Morgan 6-3 6-2.
In the girls doubles there was consolation for singles finalist Linge Steenkamp when she teamed up with Marne Derckson to win the title. Second seeded Dercksen and Steenkamp bt third seeded Tamsin Hart and Delien Kleinhans 6-4 6-3 in the all South African final.
RSA unless stated
4-Joubert Klopper bt Pierre Malan 5-7 6-4 7-6 (1)
1-Megan Basson bt 4-Linge Steenkamp 3-6 7-5 6-1
2-Gerhardt Becker/Joubert Klopper bt 1-Pierre Malan/Charl Morgan 6-3 6-2
2-Marne Dercksen/Linge Steenkamp bt 3-Tamsin Hart/Delien Kleinhans 6-4 6-3