SOUTH AFRICAN world-acclaimed doubles player Raven Klaasen and his partner Ruan Roelofse beat Belgian Julien Cagnina and Zdenek Kolar of Czech Republic in straight sets to win the Potch Open doubles title on Saturday for their first ATP Challenger trophy together.
The South African top seeded combination proved too strong for the unseeded Belgian-Czech pair, winning 6-4, 6-4 in just 61 minutes at the North-West University in Potchefstroom.
“We played a really good match. We actually played as a team today, I think it was one of our better matches in the last two weeks,” said Roelofse.
“We got up on a double break earlier in the first set and then early in a second set too and we managed to hold on to that break throughout the match and yeah, we are very pleased with our performance,” added Roelofse.
The victory is a consolation for the 38-year-old Klaasen, who was laid low by COVID-19 and was unable to travel to Australia in time for the year’s first Grand Slam.
“From my side, it’s always exiting to win a title, this is what we practice for and the last two weeks, we’ve gone from strength to strength and to play the best match in the final is very satisfying.
“Ruan (Roelofse) and I combined well, we have a little bit of experience in our buckets so that was nice and fortunately, today things went according to plan and I couldn’t be happier to finish strong.
Next up on the ATP World Tour for Klaasen will be Dubai and then Miami in March.
In the singles tournament, 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby from the United States defeated Lucas Miedler of Austria 7-5, 6-2 to reach his first ATP Challenger final.
The American who stunned former world number 4 Tomas Berdych at the US Open in 2019 will be looking to earn his first career ATP Challenger title when he faces Teymuraz Gabashvili in Sunday’s final.
The Russian former world number 43 Gabashvili defeated British fourth seed Liam Broady 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to claim his spot in the final.
In the women’s event, South Africa’s leading player Chanel Simmonds is out of the Ilana Kloss International after a semifinal loss.
The 28-year-old Simmonds, who was the country’s last hopeful for tennis glory in the ITF $25,000 World Tour event, dropped a 6-4, 6-4 decision to unseeded Canadian Carol Zhao.
The Canadian will face off against last week’s champion Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain in Sunday’s final.
The Spanish sixth seed edged out Kathinka Von Deichmann from Liechtenstein 7-6(4), 6-3.
Image Café / Barco Greef (South African doubles players Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse with their trophies after beating Belgian Julien Cagnina and Zdenek Kolar of Czech Republic in straight sets to win the Potch Open doubles title on Saturday at the North-West University in Potchefstroom).