POTCHEFSTROOM, February 9, 2021 (TSA Press Release)
South African rising star Zoe Kruger booked a place in the second round of the Ilana Kloss International, an ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event with a hard-fought three-sets victory over Canada’s Carol Zhao on Tuesday at the North-West University Potchefstroom Campus.
The 18-year-old Kruger, who was awarded a wildcard into the tournament, prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 46 minutes to chalk up the win over Zhao in their first meeting.
After out-dueling the big hitter Zhao, Kruger will have another power player awaiting her in the second round – third seed and world number 200 on the ITF World rankings Bibiane Schoofs from the Netherlands.
Schoofs edged out Bloemfontein teen Delien Kleinhans in three sets 6-0, 3-6, 7-5.
“I think it was a really tough match, obviously come back after a big injury. It is my first tournament in almost a year and half, so it is tough coming back to competition again but I think I really just fought until the end,” commented Zoe Kruger following her match.
“It (the match) was a little bit all over the place, but I think the fight just brought me through it.”
South Africa’s leading women’s player Chanel Simmonds was denied a second-round spot by Spanish fifth seed Eva Alvarez. Alvarez defeated the 28-year-old South African 7-6(5), 6-4 to advance to the second round.
Dutch top seed Lesley Kerkhove also booked her place in the second round following a 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over Mariam Kolodziejove of Czech Republic.
Montsi falls in Potch Open ATP Challenger event
In the ATP Challenger event, South African teen sensation Kholo Montsi gave his best against unseeded Belgian Julien Cagnina but went down in straight sets, losing 6-3, 6-1.
“I would say my match went well, obviously I didn’t get the win, but I played well. I could have been a bit more patient and relaxed, so I need to get back to the drawing board and work on that,” said Montsi.
“My opponent played solid, didn’t give me a lot of free points, so I had to fight for it.
“Otherwise, I feel good, and happy that I got the opportunity to compete at an ATP Challenger event, it’s always good to be around some of the best guys in world so I feel good around here.”
Unseeded Bulgarian Dimitar Kuzmanov caused the first upset of the tournament when he eliminated top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.
Round of 32 Results
Potch Open (ATP Challenger 80)
Julien Cagnina (BEL) bt [WC] Khololwam Montsi (RSA) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Mirza Basic (BIH) bt Zdenek Kolar (CZE) 7-6(4) 7-5
[Q] Nick Chappell (USA) bt Nicola Kuhn (ESP) 6-1 2-6 76(3)
Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) bt 1-Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND) 6-3 6-4
Elliot Benchetrit (MAR) bt [Q] Ryan Peniston (GBR) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Ulises Blanch (USA) bt  jay Clarke (GBR) 7-6(5) 6-4
Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (ESP) bt Teymuras Gabashvili (RUS)
Ilana Kloss International (Wpme’s ITF $25,000 World Tour)
 Lesley Kerkhove (NED) bt Miriam Kolodziejova (CZE) 7-6(2) 6-2
 Bibiane Schoofs (NED) bt [WC] Delien Kleinhans (RSA) 6-0 3-6 7-5
 Eva Alvarez (ESP) bt [WC] Chanel Simmonds (RSA) 7-6(5) 6-4
Gabriela Ce (BRA) bt Kathinka von Deichmann (LIE) 4-6 6-3 6-0
Sada Nahimana (BDI) bt Dejana Radanovic (SRB) 6-2 7-6(6)
Zoe Kruger (RSA)bt Carol Zhao (CAN) 4-6 6-4 6-4
Jesika Maleckova (CZE) bt Irina Fetecau (ROU) 7-6(2) 6-2
Anna Bondar (HUN) bt  Victoria Kan (RUS) 6-3 6-4