van-tastic run takes izak top

AFTER Izak van der Merwe's success at the Soweto Tennis Open last week, the South African tennis star has jumped 79 positions to a career high of 222 in the world rankings.

AFTER Izak van der Merwe's success at the Soweto Tennis Open last week, the South African tennis star has jumped 79 positions to a career high of 222 in the world rankings.

This, combined with a 78- place drop by Pretoria-based Rik de Voest, has pushed Van der Merwe into the top position for the coming Euro-Africa Zone Group 1 Davis Cup tie against Finland to be played at the Groenkloof Tennis Stadium in Pretoria from May 7 to 9.

The talented Van der Merwe reached the final of the Soweto Open but was not good enough against Jamaican Dustin Brown.

Should the positions remain the way they are, it will mean that De Voest, the more experienced Davis Cup player, could find himself in the position of deciding the tie when he plays the final rubber on Sunday, should the best-of-five-match series be locked at 2-2.

The South African players, who spent time at altitude during last week's Soweto Open, are confident for the tie and are all coming off good form.

The Finnish team is having problems of its own, with No 2 player Henri Kontinen still trying to recover from an abdominal tear he sustained in Finland's previous tie against Poland, where he won the deciding match to put Finland through to this round.

As a result of this injury, Finland have held back their team announcement to ensure Kontinen's fitness for the tie.

The Finnish team is scheduled to be announced on April 27.

Tickets for the Groenkloof showdown are available at Computicket and prices are R50 for May 7, R40 for May 8 and R50 for the final rubber on May 9. - Sowetan

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