South African junior tennis star Ilze Hattingh is “on top of the world”. The Pretoria fifteen year old won a double at the African Junior Championships at the North West University in Potchefstroom today (Saturday).
Hattingh seeded five, beat her good friend, doubles partner and roommate Madrie le Roux also of South Africa 6-1 6-1 in the final. “It’s been an amazing week, the week of my life,” said Hattingh after her victory. “I had a great night, woke up with confidence and played a great game and put Madrie under a lot of pressure today.”
In a match that lasted just 55 minutes, Hatting dominated from the start breaking Le Roux in the second game of the opening set. Hatting lost only two games en route to winning the most prestigious junior title on the continent.
“This win has really opened doors for me. My world ranking will shoot up and I will be able to hopefully play in the junior Grand Slams and start making an impact on the junior world tour. I am still young and to make a start like this is great for my future.”
In their last meeting in Zimbabwe, Le Roux beat Hattingh but Hattingh won their earlier encounter at the Nike Junior Tour Masters in Stellenbosch. “We are such good friends. We’ve played each other a bunch of times and we’ve both beaten each other but this win was a real big one and I think I peaked at the right time,” continued Hattingh.
Hattingh then teamed up with Le Roux to capture the doubles title. Seeded two, Hattingh and Le Roux toppled top seeds Lynn Kiro and Theresa van Zyl both of South Africa, 6-4 6-4 in their final.
Team South Africa were named as the best under-18 junior tennis nation in Africa following the tournament by the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), due to their excellent results through the week of the African Junior Championships.
South African team coach, Pietie Norval said he and his fellow coach John Laffnie De Jager were proud of their team. “We had a great group of committed and dedicated juniors on our team. Each player played his and her own part in contributing to South Africa winning the team title. I am very proud today of the players and to be a South African.”