SA Contenders Out of Junior ITF in Stellenbosch

Unseeded Rachel Papavasilopoulos of the USA upset fifth-seed Marli van Heerden (South Africa) 6-4 6-4 in the semi-finals of the SAS Junior ITF 2 on Thursday. Papavasilopoulos will face eighth-seed Vanja Klaric, of Serbia, at the University of Stellenbosch courts in Coetzenburg in the finals on Friday. Photo: EJ Langer

Serbian Vanja, Serbia, and Rachel Papavasilopoulos, Greece, have ensured that South Africa will enjoy only half the spoils on offer at the SAS Junior ITF 11 tournament when it ends with Friday’s finals at the University of Stellenbosch courts in Coetzenburg.

On Thursday, Vanja and Papavasilopoulos, won through to the Girls Under-18 after disposing of their South African opponents.

The 14-year-old Papavasilopoulos, the USA qualifier, saw off fifth seeded Marli van Heerden 6-4 6-4. In the previous rounds she defeated the seventh seeded Katie Poluta and fourth seeded Huibre-Mare Botes. After four main-draw matches, Papavasilopoulos one of the youngest players in the main draw, has yet to drop a set.

Papavasilopoulos is based in Boca Raton, Florida, and arrived in Stellenbosch just over three weeks ago to play in the SAS Junior ITF 1 tournament. She has had a long period of inactivity because of a wrist (left hand) injury and last played two months ago. In last week’s event her ‘rustiness’ showed but this week she qualified and went all the way to reach the final.

Papavasilopoulos has a South African mother and been impressed with the way the Stellenbosch events had played out.

“I’ve been to ITF events (in the USA) before but none of them have been as well run as was the case in Stellenbosch,” said Papavasilopoulos. “I would say these are probably the best run junior tournaments in the world.”

The Papavasilopoulos-Van Heerden contest started off on a rather hectic note as the first five games produced two service breaks for each of the players. Papavasilopoulos leveled in the sixth and finished strongly to take the set 6-4.

As the second set wore on, Papavasilopoulos managed to impose herself on the game as Van Heerden seemingly grew tired towards the end.

“In the first set I double-faulted a few time mainly because I was nervous,” said Papavasilopoulos. “I realised she (Van Heerden) would be tough to beat and I figured it out that I just had to be consistent.

“I feeling stronger after winning the first set and I could see she was a bit down in spirit towards the end. IT also looked as if she was tired.”

The eighth-seeded Vanja, who was born in neighbouring Botswana to Serbian nationals, defeated Holly Thompson of Great Britain 6-3 7-5.

One keen spectator at Thursday’s play was Professor Julian Smith, the Stellenbosch University vice-rector and head of sport. He was pleased to the university’s facilities was being put to use.

“As an university, we like to play a role in the development and promotion of sport by offering our facilities,” said Smith. “We have attained world ranking as an academic institution and it’s fitting that we are hosting an international event on our courts.

“We have a world-class facility and we have world-class personnel at hand. It’s wonderful that players here can compete in ideal surroundings and become part of the global picture here at this international event.

“We are able to offer all the supporting services necessary for the event and it good see so many foreigners competing here. We will be looking to increase the profile of tennis whenever the opportunity affords itself.”

The play on Friday’s finals day gets under way at 8.30am at Coetzenburg Tennis Courts.


Girls Final at the SAS Junior ITF 2, at the University of Stellenbosch on Friday, 25 October 2013:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos vs 8-Vanja Klaric
Girls Doubles:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA)/Holly Thompson (GBR) vs 2-Vanja Klaric (Srb)/Rikeetha Pereira (Ind)
Singles Semi-Finals Results on 24 October 2013:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA) bt 5-Marli van Heerden (RSA) 6-4 6-4
8-Vanja Klaric (Srb) bt Holly Thompson (GBR) 6-3 7-5
Singles Quarter-Final Results on 23 October 2013:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA) bt 7-Katie Poluta (RSA) 6-4 7-5
Holly Thompson (GBR) bt 6-Louise-Mare Botes (RSA) 6-1 6-2
5-Marli van Heerden (RSA) bt 2-Rikeetha Pereira (Ind) 6-3 6-0
8-Vanja Klaric (Srb) bt 1-Janet Koch (RSA) bt 5-7 6-3 6-3
Singles Second Round Results on Tuesday, 22 October 2013:
1-Janet Koch (RSA) bt Louise Ronaldson (GBR) 7-5 6-3
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA) bt 4-Huibre-Mare Botes (RSA) 6-3 6-1
Holly Thompson (GBR) bt Maxine Bateman (RSA) 7-5 6-2
7-Katie Poluta (RSA) bt Bianca Birkenstock (RSA) 7-5 7-6 (4)
5-Marli van Heerden (RSA) bt Olivia Horn (GBR) 6-0 6-1
8-Vanja Klaric (Srb) bt Nadine de Villiers (RSA) 6-2 7-5
6-Louise-Mare Botes (RSA) bt Barbara Huyskes (Ned) 6-3 6-4
2-Rikeetha Pereira (Ind) bt Juliane Schuckmann (Nam) 6-0 6-1
First Round Results on Monday, 21 October:
1-Janet Koch (RSA) bt Alana Smith (USA) 6-2 6-1
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA) bt Joane Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 6-0 6-1
Holly Thompson (GBR) bt Cindy Dorrington (RSA) 6-0 6-1
7-Katie Poluta (RSA) bt Nicole Petchey (GBR) 6-4 6-3
Barbara Huyskes (Ned) bt Danielle du Plooy (RSA) 6-0 6-1
Maxine Bateman (RSA) bt 3-Nicole Dzenga (Zim) 6-4 7-5
5-Marli van Heerden (RSA) bt Rouxanne Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 6-0 4-6 6-4
8-Vanja Klaric (Srb) bt Minette van Vreden (RSA) 6-7 (1) 6-0 6-1
Juliane Schuckmann (Nam) bt Chandre Janeke (RSA) 3-6 6-4 7-6 (3)
Bianca Birkenstock (RSA) bt Eva Vedder (Ned) 7-5 6-4
4-Huibre-Mare Botes (RSA) bt Sian-Frances Crowder (GBR) 6-0 6-0
Nadine de Villiers (RSA) bt Jessica Bruyns (RSA) 6-1 6-1
6-Louise-Mare Botes (RSA) bt Lindsay Truscott (RSA) 6-1 6-2
Louise Ronaldson (GBR) bt Ciney Bekker (RSA) 7-5 6-0
2-Rikeetha Pereira (Ind) bt Lucy Stofberg (RSA) 6-1 6-0
Olivia Horn (GBR) bt Corin De Waal (RSA) 6-1 3-0 (De Waal retired pulled a leg muscle)
Doubles Semi-Finals:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA)/Holly Thompson (GBR) bt Nadine De Villiers/Katie Poluta (RSA) 6-2 6-4
2-Vanja Klaric (Srb)/Rikeetha Pereira (Ind) bt Barbara Huyskes/Eva Vedder (Ned) 6-3 6-3
Doubles Quarter-Finals:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA)/Holly Thompson (GBR) bt 1-Nicole Dzenga (Zim)/Marli van Heerden (RSA) 6-4 6-4
Barbara Huyskes/Eva Vedder (Ned) bt 4-Huibre-Mare Botes/Louise-Mare Botes (RSA) 6-4 6-4
2-Vanja Klaric (Srb)/Rikeetha Pereira (Ind) bt Danielle du Plooy/Minette van Vreden (RSA) 6-4 5-7 10-7
Nadine de Villiers/Katie Poluta (RSA) bt 3-Janet Koch (RSA)/Louise Ronaldson (GBR) 1-6 6-4 10-5
Doubles First Round:
Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA)/Holly Thompson (GBR) bt Maxine Bateman/Nicole Petchey (RSA) 6-3 6-2
3-Janet Koch (RSA)/Louise Ronaldson (GBR) bt Jessica Bruyns/Joane Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 6-0 6-0
4-Huibre-Mare Botes/Louise-Mare Botes (RSA) bt Sian-Frances Crowder (GBR)/Chandre Janeke (RSA) 6-1 6-2
Danielle du Plooy/Minette van Vreden (RSA) bt Juliane Schuckmann (Nam)/Lucy Stofberg (RSA) 7-6 (4) 6-4
Barbara Huyskes/Eva Vedder (Ned) bt Olivia Horn (GBR)/Jana-Mari Wolfaardt (RSA) 6-3 7-6 (4)
2-Vanja Klaric (Srb)/Rikeetha Pereira (Ind) bt Rouxanne Janse van Rensburg/Lindsay Truscott (RSA) 6-3 6-4
1-Nicole Dzenga (Zim)/Marli van Heerden (RSA) bt Ciney Bekker/Bianca Birkenstock (RSA) 6-4 6-0
Nadine de Villiers/Katie Poluta (RSA) bt Cindy Dorrington (RSA)/Kirsty Venter (GBR) 6-1 6-2

(With editing by gsport)


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