S A National Squash Championships – draws for semis

Wanderers Club, Johannesburg

Top seeded Steve Coppinger, ranked 16 in the world, advanced to his seventh consecutive S A National semi-final when he ran rings around a game Zuko Kubukeli of Western Province in the quarterfinal clash played at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

In the first game the lanky top seed dominated the proceedings from the centre of the court dropping only 4 points. Coppinger raced to a 5-0 lead in the second game before making an unforced error to allow Kubukeli one point and then killing placings had him take the game at 10-3 and again run up a 5-0 lead in the third.  Like a fox terrier, Kubukeli kept on retrieving and started moving Coppinger around the court, clawing his way into the match, he trailed 8-9 before Coppinger clinched the match at 11-9.

In an entertaining duel lasting an hour between SACD’s Christo Potgieter seeded 5/8 and Devon Hendricks (CG), Potgieter scraped his way into the semi finals where he will meet Coppinger.

Hendricks calmly took the first game 11-5. Points oscillated in the second until 7-all when Potgieter turned up the pressure to race though the next 4 points and level the match at one game all. The third game was a repeat of the second with the score reaching 6-all between the two very evenly matched players. Potgieter led 9-6 with Hendricks fighting back to 9-all before Potgieter snatched the game on his first game point at 11-9. Lengthy rallies, particularly on the backhand, interspersed with some lightning quick retrieving and again the points flowed evenly until 6-all. Potgieter edged ahead to his first match point at 10-6 but Hendricks lengthened the rallies again; had Potgieter flinging himself around the court in his inimical way to level at 10-all. Potgieter had another match point at 11-10:  Hendricks had game point at 12-11: Potgieter a match point at 13-12: Hendricks levelled again. The crowd was fascinated as fortunes changed but it was the SACD player, who ran out winner at 15-13 after a magic display of exciting attacking squash.

The women’s quarters sadly faded like a damp squib. In the first match between two of the Universities top 6 players, Alex Fuller (UCT) and Robyn Baptiste (Tukkies) injury struck after 3 points

Baptiste seemed to go over on her ankle with Fuller leading 2-1 and was unable to move at all although she tried to return serve, she could not play a  rally and conceded the match.

In the second encounter second seeded Cheyna Tucker, a student at UJ carried too many guns for a game Karen Schultz of Western Province with Tucker winning 11-6 11-1 12-10.

SEMI FINAL LINEUP : Friday 9th : 10h00  Women : C Tucker vs A Fuller: 10h45: Men : C Leeuw vs T Mohohlo : 11h45  : Women: S Waters vs M Louw: 12h30 Men: S Coppinger vs C Potgieter.

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