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The Soweto Open has a new champion – local player Izak van der Merwe beat his compatriot Rik de Voest. The women’s final was won by Russia’s Valeria Savinykh.
AFTER an action-packed week, South African Izak van der Merwe emerged the winner of this year’s Soweto Tennis Open men’s singles, the finals of which were played on Sunday, 17 April.


Izak van der Merwe is the winner of the 2011 Soweto OpenIzak van der Merwe is the winner of the 2011 Soweto Open (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Van der Merwe dismissed fellow countryman Rik de Voest 7-5 6-3 to take home the R105 000 prize money and a trophy.

Scheduled to be played on Saturday, the finals were postponed by the rain, which poured the entire day. The weather cleared enough the next day to allow players on to the court.

Van der Merwe stayed on top of his game by narrowly beating the defending champion, Dustin Brown, 7-5 7-6 (5) in the semi-finals. In 2010, the duo served against each other in the finals. Brown won that game.

But the South African has taken the lead this year, and in the past two months he has shown Brown what he is made of by beating him twice, first at the SA Open and then at the Soweto Open.

De Voest beat Australian Greg Jones 7-5 6-3 in the other semi-final.

Taking the women’s title was Valeria Savinykh from Russia, who thrashed Petra Cetkovska from Czech Republic 6-1 6-3. Her prize purse was also R105 000 and a trophy.

In the men’s doubles final, played on the same day, Michael Kohlmann from Germany and Alexander Peya from Austria trounced German Andre Begemann and Australian Mathew Ebden 6-2 6-2. The women’s doubles were cancelled because of the rain early in the morning.

The Soweto Open began on 11 April at Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Jabavu.

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