Stern test for De Voest at Open

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

After the furious thunderstorm that interrupted the first round of the South African Airways Open on Monday, fans were treated to one of the best tennis displays at the Selborne Park courts in East London yesterday.

They came in good numbers to watch South African Rik de Voest play Daniel Brands from Germany in a game that had tennis lovers on the edge of their seats.

De Voest, the fifth seed, did not have it easy against the unseeded German and from the word go it was difficult to predict the outcome.

Brands was a constant threat to the South African and often caught De Voest unawares but the South African stood his ground.

Though the experienced De Voest was playing on home soil, Brands forced home into a tie-break in the first set, which De Voest 7-6 (8-6).

De Voest made less mistakes than Brands in the second and the German paid dearly for that. He made a crucial mistake in the second set tie-break. Serving for the set, Brands foot-faulted, allowing De Voest to steal the set and the match.

De Voest conceded that it was a titanic battle and that it was not easy for him.

He added that he was playing overseas because there were less tournaments staged in South Africa .

"But if there are tournaments here I will come and play," he said.

In another game Sweden's Marcus Sarstrand beat Heinrich Heyl from South Africa 6-1 6-1. There was better luck for another local player ,Izak van der Merwe, who beat Denys Molchanov of Ukraine 7-6 7-5.