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South Africa's Rik de Voest got off to an excellent start in the South African Tennis Open, winning his first round match in straight sets at Montecasino yesterday.
Watched by an adoring home crowd, the 28-year-old De Voest - a wildcard entry - defeated Spain's sixth seed Ivan Navarro 6-3 6-4.
Navarro had been the victor the first and only time these two had met previously - triumphing 7-5 6-4 in Newport in the US last year - but De Voest stormed ahead to win the first two games of the first set.
The South African's first serve was impeccable and the breakthrough came early on when he broke the Spaniard's serve to go 3-1 up in the opening set.
After the match, De Voest said he made the important points and kept to a winning strategy when he found it.
"I enjoyed the support from the crowd. I was also able to adjust to the altitude better, having grown up here.
I found my rhythm quite early on and it was a great start for me," he said.
The South African will next meet the winner between Frederico Gil of Portugal and Austria's Daniel Koellerer.
The tournament's opening match on centre court was an all-Argentinian affair, as Leonardo Mayer defeated compatriot Sergio Roitman 6-2 6-4.
Mayer, at 21 the youngest player at the tournament, used his superior serve to undo Roitman.
When he was not hitting aces - there were seven of them throughout the match - Mayer made sure that Roitman found it difficult to get inop his stride.
l Australian Open surprise package Jelena Dokic will be looking to continue her rich vein of form into this week's Fed Cup as Australia looks to progress to the next stage of the tournament with victory at home.
After reaching the quarter-finals of the season-opening grand slam in Melbourne, Dokic returns to the scene of one of her early triumphs to play for her adopted country for the first time since 2000. - additional reporting by Sapa-AFP