South Africa’s highest world ranked junior, Philip Henning had to fight hard in defending his Gauteng North ITF boys singles title on Saturday. The tournament favourite won the title beating fellow Bloemfontein team mate Joubert Klopper in a titanic battle 6-2 3-6 7-5. It was a long final lasting 2 hours 50 minutes with almost every game going to deuce and all credit to sixth seeded Klopper who gave top seeded Henning a real “run for his money.”
Henning started the match on song leading 4-0. Klopper then finally went onto the scoreboard in the fifth game when he held serve. Henning then held serve for the remainder of the set finally taking the set 6-2 after a one long hour.
In the second set Henning started well breaking the fragile Klopper serve in the opening game. Klopper then lift his game and capitalized on a string of unforced errors by Henning breaking the top seeds serve in the second game to level the score 1-1. In the eighth game of the second set Klopper broke serve to lead 5-3 and then held serve to seal the set 6-3 and level the final at set all.
In the final set the games went with serve and at 4-5 down, Klopper saved two match. In the twelfth game Henning saved two game points and then broke Klopper on the first match point he secured winning the final set 7-5.
“It was a good match, Joubert played really well and he is always a tough opponent I respect enormously” said Henning following victory. “I felt that I didn’t play at my best, and without making any excuses my right shoulder was fragile which didn’t allow me to serve at 100% and make any free points. But obviously I am happy to have won today, defend my title and capture my 9th ITF junior career singles title win.”
In the girls singles, South African Dalien Kleinhans successfully defended her title. The third seed from Bloemfontein dominated her final in five minutes less than an hour upsetting top seed Megan Basson 6-0 6-2.
Basson, also of South Africa, won the ITF Wanderers title last weekend but was stopped short of winning the double by a determined Kleinhans.
“I lost to Megan in the semi-finals last week at the Wanderers ITF and even though I was defending champion here in Pretoria, I felt it important to get revenge over Megan. Megan is a tough competitor and last year when I won my maiden international title here in Pretoria, it was a tough three set win over Megan so I knew today could be rough. I spoke to my dad (Marnus Kleinhans) who is my coach over the phone ahead of the final (he was in Bloemfontein) and we planned a match strategy to play aggressive, go big from the start of the match and hold serve. That strategy worked and I really “zoned” from start to finish and surprised myself with the way I played and score line” said Kleinhans.
Kleinhans, a Eunice High School pupil admitted that after winning the opening set 6-0 in a quick half hour she had to focus even more and play tougher. “I have played Megan a bunch of times before and won the first set easily then lost the match. I was not going to let that happen today so lifted my game going into the third set and kept even greater composure.”
The boys doubles was won by second seeds Gerhardt Becker and Joubert Klopper. The South African team took title honours by walk over when their top seeded opponents Pierre Malan and Charl Morgan (RSA) had to forfeit the final due to Malan being injured.
Marne Dercksen and Linge Steenkamp (RSA) won the girls doubles title. The second seeds beat third seeded Tamsin Hart and Delien Kleinhans (RSA) 6-3 7-5.
RSA unless stated
1-Philip Henning bt 6-Joubert Klopper
3-Delien Kleinhans bt 1-Megan Basson 6-0 6-2
2-Gerhardt Becker/Joubert Klopper bt 1-Pierre Malan/Charl Morgan w/o (Malan withdrew injured)
2-Marne Dercksen/Linge Steenkamp bt 3-Tamsin Hart/Delien Kleinhans 6-3 7-5