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SOUTH African tennis star Izak van der Merwe is tipped to beat Alexander Peya of Austria in the Soweto Tennis Open men's single semifinals at Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre today.
Van der Merwe booked a place in the last four after walloping New Zealand's David King-Turner 6-46-1 in an exciting game that lasted less than one hour at the Jabavu, Soweto venue yesterday.
Coach Piet Norval, who is guiding the South African, is adamant that his charge will not slip up, saying they wanted to make the country proud in this tough annual tournament.
"Van der Merwe gave a good account of himself against King-Turner. He has been consistent throughout the tournament and I'm impressed," said Norval.
"We are taking each game as it comes and we will start thinking about the final match once we have dealt with Alexander. I must say, we expect a tough match.
"I am optimistic that he (Van der Merwe) will continue with his magnificent form and please the crowd who have been supportive throughout," added Norval.
In the post-match interview with Sowetan, Van der Merwe said he was looking forward to lifting the trophy in the absence of defending champion Fabrice Santoro of France.
Home advantage and local support should inspire the home boy to book a berth in the final.
In the other semifinal, Dutin Brown from Jamaica comes up against Stephen Bohli from Sweden. Entrance is free.