Wanderers Club, Johannesburg
The top seeds in both the men’s and women’s sections of the S A National Squash Championships – Steve Coppinger, Thoboki Mohohlo, Siyoli Waters and Milnay Louw – moved confidently into the semi-finals when the quarterfinals were completed at the Wanderers Squash Club this evening.
Defending champion Coppinger, seeking his 8th title, raced through the first game 9-2 against Gary Wheadon and took the second fairly comfortably 11-6. In the third game Wheadon found a better length leading 3-1 and 6-3 but Coppinger, ranked 24 in the world, regained control and pocketed the game 11-9 to set up a semi-final clash with his South African coach Rodney Durbach.
Durbach was given the run around by Easterns player Dylan Groenewald, who was celebrating his 21st birthday. Groenewald had caused a minor upset in the second round when he accounted for 5/8 seed JP Brits in 5 tough games. Durbach won the first game 11-9 and led 4-1 in the second before some cleverly placed shots from Groenewald, had him making errors and Groenewald levelled matters at 1 game all. Durbach ran up a 8-3 lead in the third before Groenewald started playing more attacking squash, moving Durbach all around the court and taking the lead at 9-8 and then the game 11-9.
The fourth game followed a similar pattern with Durbach racing to 8-3 but again the talented Groenewald played his way back into the match to trail 5-9 and the 8-9. Durbach was forced to call on all his experience to win the next 2 points and the match at 11-9.
5/8 seed Devon Hendrikse (CG) caused the surprise when a highly entertaining, hard fought encounter he ousted ¾ seed Christo Potgieter in 4 games. Mercurial Potgieter annexed the first game 11-6. Played at a furious pace with both players covering the court at an amazing rate, Hendricks levelled the score at 9-all and won the next 2 points to take the game 11-9. Potgieter took the lead in the third game only to see Hendrikse level at 6-all and rattle off the next 5 points and the game 11-6. Longer slower rallies, tight wall hugging drives dominated the fourth game with Potgieter leading 3-1, 5-3 and 7-5 but Hendrikse equalled the score at each stage eventually clinching the match at 11-9 and take his place for the first time in a senior national semi-final.
The final men’s match of the evening saw second seed Mohohlo in complete control against 5/8 seed Andrew Martin. Mohohlo needed 29 minutes to subdue his opponent 11-9 11-1 11-6.
Waters, winner in 2013 and 2014, registered a straight game win over Makgosi Peloakgosi (Northerns) but not overawed by her first appearance in the Senior quarterfinals, Peloakgosi unleashed some hard tight drives and cunning drops which had Waters on the run.
Waters now meets former UJ student Elani Landman, seeded 5/8, who caused the upset defeating defending champion Alexandra Fuller in a tough four games encounter. Fuller won the first game 11-9 in 9 minutes. Points seesawed in the second game before Landman won it on her first game point also at 11-9. The third game was one way traffic as Landman marched through at 11-4. Returning to the court after the compulsory break a determined Fuller cruised to an 8-1 lead . Landman moved her game up a gear and won 10 consecutive points to pocket the match and a place in her first senior national semi-final.
Landman’s twin Lume, also seeded 5/8 and the winner of a recent tournament in Reunion, had no answers for last year’s runner-up Cheyna Tucker, bowing out in straight games 6-11, 9-11 and 6-11.
Second seed Milnay Louw was always in command in her straight game win over Alexa Pienaar also winning in straight games.
Semifinal line-up : Thursday
- 17h30 : Louw vs Tucker
- 18h15 : Mohohlovs Hendrikse
- 19h00 : Waters vs Landman
- 19h45 : Coppinger vs Durbach