Wanderers Club, Johannesburg.
The top 2 men’s seeds, Gary Wheadon and Rodney Durbach, were unceremoniously bundled out of the GrowthPoint S A Open Squash Championships when the quarterfinals were played on Thursday evening on the all glass court at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg.
In the first match of the evening Central Gautenger, Dylan Groenewald, who had upset the 5/8 seeded JP Brits in straight sets on Wednesday evening, continued on his winning ways when he accounted for second seeded Durbach in four games. Durbach (WP) after trailing 3-5, won the first game 11-6 and led 6-4 in the second. Groenewald’s accurate placings had the Western Province player on the move and the effects of last week’s interprovincial championships in Pretoria clearly started taking their toll as Durbach succumbed to the pressure, allowing Groenewald to scalp 6 consecutive points to lead 10-6.
Durbach edged to 8-10 but a devastating high volley had Groenewald finish the game off on his third game point.
Points seesawed to 5 all in the third game before the 22 year old Groenewald out-manoeuvred his tired opponent and pocketed the game 10-5 to lead by 2 games to 1.
The fourth game was a clever game of cat and mouse with Groenewald and some kamikaze attacking leading 6-2 but ‘never say die’ Durbach, gold medallist in the 2016 World Masters 45-49 section equalled at 6-all and led 9-6. Long exhausting rallies followed and it was the young Turk, who received the Most Improved Player at last week’s interprovincial, who edged through at 12-10 to take his place in the semi-finals.
Winner of the GrowthPoint S A Nationals 3 weeks ago, Gary Wheadon of Cape Town then faced 5/8 seed, Lawrence Kuhn of Bloemfontein, who is presently studying in America.
With both attacking at every opportunity, the match started off evenly with first Wheadon leading 6-2 and 7-5 before the Free Stater equalled at 7-all, eventually holding his first game point at 10-9. Kuhn finally pocketed the game on his third game point at 14-12. Moving well and aided by killing accurate placings which had Wheadon twisting and turning, Kuhn took the second game 11-6 and ran up a 6-3 lead in the third. The score stood at 7-all before a fired up Wheadon bulleted through the next 4 points to annex the game 11-9 and trail by 1 game to 2. A scrappy fourth game with a number of lets ensued but it was the second Young Turk, Kuhn who walked away with the fourth game at 14-12 and a semi finals slot.
Kuhn will now meet ¾ seed Zambian Kelvin Ndhlovu who stroked his way to a straight game victory over 5/8 seed Andrew Martin while Groenewald faces ¾ seed Christo Potgieter.
Potgieter registered a 3-1 win over Tristan Eysele. Eysele held game points in each of the 4 games but was unable to convert them to winning points and faded 10-12 12-14 11-8 10-12.
Semi- finals draws: Friday 21st July:
- Women: 1 – Milnay Louw vs ¾ Alexa Pienaar: 2 – Alexandra Fuller vs ¾ Christine Ferreira.
- Men: 5/8 – Lawrence Kuhn vs ¾ – Kelvin Ndhlovu; ¾ – Christo Potgieter vs 9/16 Dylan Groenewald
- Women: 1 – Milnay Louw bt 5/8 Adel Sammons 11-8 11-4 11-1, 2 – Alexandra Fuller bt Robyn Boy 11-3 11-4 11-1.
- Men: 5/8 Lawrence Kuhn bt 1 Gary Wheadon 14-12 11-7 9-11 12-10; ¾ – Kelvin Ndhlovu bt 5/8 – Andrew Martin 12-10 11-9 11-6, ¾ – Christo Potgieter bt 5/8 Tristan Eysele 2-10 14-12 8-11 12-10