Latvia star takes Soweto tennis title

CHAMP: Anastasija Sevastova. 03/05/09. © Unknown.
CHAMP: Anastasija Sevastova. 03/05/09. © Unknown.

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Latvia star Anastasija Sevastova beat Eva Hrdinova of Czech Republic 6-2 6-2 to lift the International Tennis Federation Soweto Women's Tennis Open at Central Western Jabavu's Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex yesterday.

Sevastova, who was seeded fourth in the tournament, pocketed about R150 000 for her effort.

While many were convinced South Africans will take advantage of playing in their country and fare well in the event, they failed to go beyond the Round Two stage. Christi Potgieter was beaten by eventual champion, Sevastova 6-1 6-4.

South Africa was represented by six players in this event that attracted 32 competitors from across the world.

Sevastova beat sixth-seeded Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 6-4 6-3 on Saturday to reach the final.

Hrdinova, on the other hand, beat Katie O'Brien of the United Kingdom 6-4 6-2 to reach the decider. O'Brien was a top seed for this tournament that played in front of a poor crowd.

But aspiring Soweto tennis players benefitted through coaching clinics by FED Cup captain Greer Leo-Smith.

The tournament will be held at the same venue for a further two years and the organisers will step up their marketing to bring more spectators to the courts next time round.

Naomi Cavaday of Great Britain and Lesya Tsurenko of Ukraine beat Kristina Kucova of Slovakia) and Sevastova 6-2 2-6 11-9 to win the doubles on Saturday.