by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – AFTER early exits in the first international tennis tournament since the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, the focus for South African stars shifts to the United States (US) Open at the end of this month.
The exit of Raven Klaasen and his Austrian partner, Oliver Marach, brought to an end South Africa’s presence at the Western and Southern Open.
They suffered a surprise second round defeat in the doubles competition on Monday evening at the US Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York, US.
Klaasen and Marach, who were the seventh seeds, lost 6-3, 6-4 to unseeded duo, Romania’s Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands, in 1 hour and 12 minutes.
Klaasen was the last South African player in the singles or doubles draw after Kevin Anderson and Lloyd Harris suffered second round and first round defeats, respectively.
Anderson, the two-time Grand Slam finalist, suffered defeat against fourth seed Stephanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-1, 6-3 in the second round on Sunday evening.
Harris, the world number 97 and second time ATP Masters 1000 event qualifier, lost in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 to American world number 24, Taylor Fritz, in the opening round on Saturday.
The Western and Southern Open, traditionally played in Cincinnati, is ongoing behind closed doors at the venue of the upcoming US Open this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Open will run until September 13.
Wheelchair tennis ace and world number 7, Kgothatso Montjane, recently pulled out of the event citing COVID-19 concerns.
– CAJ News