Van Heerden Rises to Junior Tennis Title Challenge

In a day of reckoning for tournament top seeds in Stellenbosch, fifth seed Marli van Heerden (South Africa) upset second seed Rikeetha Pereira of India 6-3 6-0 in the quarter-finals of the SAS ITF 2, a junior international tournament being played at the University of Stellenbosch. Van Heerden will play against unseeded Rachel Papavasilopoulos of the USA in the semi-finals on Thursday. Photo: EJ Langer

Marli van Heerden, a learner from Outeniqua High school in George, produced one of her finest career performances when she trounced the second seeded Rikeetha Pereira of India 6-3 6-0 in their quarterfinal clash, to emerge as the last South African still in the SAS Junior ITF 11 tournament in Coetzenburg, Stellenbosch, on Wednesday.

After a shaky start, the fifth-seeded van Heerden decided that attack was the best form of defence, and her aggressive approach in the later first-set games floored her Indian opponent.

Van Heerden ran up a 5-0 lead in the first and then strangely dropped back-to-back two service games, allowing the Indian visitor to get a sniff at 5-3. “I realised at that stage that I needed to adjust and I decided that I’ll play aggressively,” said van Heerden.

“I started banging in the first serves and it took her by surprise. Attacking at every opportunity seemed the way to go and that’s the frame of mind I went into the second set.

“I think the pressure was just too much for her and she double-faulted a few times in the second set. I was returned very well by that time so her serve suffered,” said van Heerden.

Van Heerden has been campaigning at mostly high altitude venues in recent months, and she arrived at the Stellenbosch event a few days earlier to adjust her game.

“It’s always a good idea to get some practise in a few days before the start of an event, when you move from high to coastal altitude. There’s always the danger of over-hitting at the coast, and it was worth coming down a few days earlier.”

On the adjacent court, South African top seed Janet Koch ended up on the also-rans scrapheap after she was shocked by Serbian Vanja Klaric, the eighth seed. Klaric, who was born to Serbian parents in Botswana, won 5-7 6-3 6-3 to reach Thursday’s semifinal round.


Girls Semi-Finals SAS Junior ITF 2 Fixtures on Thursday, 24 October 2013:
5-Marli van Heerden (RSA) vs Rachel Papavasilopoulos (USA)
8-Vanja Klaric (Srb) vs Holly Thompson (GBR)
Singles Quarter-Final Results of the SAS Junior ITF 2 played at the University of Stellenbosch on Wednesday, 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
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 Quarter-Finals Results:
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 Results:
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 Rensbur (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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