Top tennis players set to rumble

South Africa's top locally-based tennis players will descend on Cape Town this weekend for one of the country's premier provincial tournaments, the 2008 Vodacom Western Province Open.

South Africa's top locally-based tennis players will descend on Cape Town this weekend for one of the country's premier provincial tournaments, the 2008 Vodacom Western Province Open.

Carrying prize money of R35 000, the tournament is again hosted by the Western Province Cricket Club and features Belville-born Ruan Roelofse and the ever-green Michele Gough as the top seeds in the men's and women's singles respectively.

Big things are expected from Roelofse, who ended 2007 as the top ranked junior player in South Africa. The 18-year-old enjoyed a scintillating start to the year by reaching the final of the prestigious Cape Classic.

This earned him a wildcard into the main draw of the South African Open where he went down in three close sets to a player ranked inside the world's top 200.

Roelofse is expected to face a stiff challenge from KwaZulu-Natal's big-hitting left-hander Gareth Greenwood and Nikala Scholtz, South Africa's current No 1 junior player.

Scholtz, the highly promising son of former Western Province rugby star Calla, recently won the International Junior Championships of Botswana, before reaching the semifinals of the African Junior Championships.

In the women's event Gough will look to fend off the challenge of defending champion Tamsin Staples. The two recently met in a club league championship decider with Gough edging her. But the veterans would do well to keep an eye on Cape Classic Champion Anna Simons and 2007 South African junior champion, Abigail Olivier. - Sapa

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