Two up and coming junior South African tennis stars scored maiden tournament wins in the ITF NWU-PUKKE 1 on finals day in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
Christiaan Worst of Pretoria and Myah Petchey of Cape Town were first time winners on the international junior circuit when they won the boys and girls singles titles respectively.
Worst, aged 16 and a pupil at Afrikaans Hoer Seunskool in Pretoria beat 10th seed Richardt Bierman also of South Africa 6-0 7-6 (5) in his final.
After winning the opening set 6-0 in a speedy 35 minutes and leading 1-0 in the second set, the 12th seed lost concentration allowing Bierman back into the match.
“Since a younger age I have had this problem where I get into the zone and on top of my opponent and then drop my level of concentration. It’s a problem I am working on but actually on court I felt rather flat, but I kept calm and believed I had the game and game plan to win. I am really happy and completely satisfied having won by first international title” said Worst.
Bierman broke serve in the third game of the second set and held to lead 3-1. The set went with serve until the eighth game when Worst broke back to level the score 4-4. The set continued on serve until the tiebreaker. Worst found momentum and took advantage in the breaker leading 4-2 and then 5-3 and although Bierman put up a fight in the tail end of the breaker, Worst managed to hold on and win the breaker, set, match and title.
Danie Visser, former world number 1 doubles player, uncle and coach of Worst said that he was frustrated that Christiaan lost concentration in the second set. “Christiaan has put a lot of work into his game this year and has realised that to contend at the top he has to put in the effort. We getting there with the on court game now we need to work on Christiaan keeping a consistent mind-set from start to finish in each match he plays.”
In the girls singles, seventh seed Myah Petchey beat compatriot Bianca Koen 7-5 6-1 to win the title. But it wasn’t easy for Petchey, as unseeded Koen was 5-2 up in the opening set and looked in control against an “out of sorts” Petchey. “I was so frustrated in the first set. My mind was all over the show. In the fifth game my string broke and that sparked off unnecessary frustration” admitted Petchey.
Petchey regrouped, relaxed and changed her mind-set which worked. She won five games in a row, to win the set 7-5. “I told myself to relax, keep clam and make Bianca play balls and earn the points” said Petchey.
“I am so happy to have won my first international title at the age of 15. It wasn’t easy though. I had a real tough semi-final where I won in three long sets and was set point down and then today had to come back from 2-5 down. But I am playing well and improving all the time and although I am on 15 yrs. of age I am realising that I am competing well against the older girls.”
Myah Petchey comes from a strong tennis pedigree. Her father Mark was a professional player, represented Great Britain in Davis Cup, coached Andy Murray and is presently a top tennis commentator on Sky Sports. Nicole, Myah’s older sister, was a top junior player and in August will take up a scholarship in the USA at Southern Methodist University in Texas. Although born in Great Britain, Myah was five years old she relocated to South Africa with her family.
“I am inspired my father and sister. So proud at what both have achieved, it makes me realise day in and out that I can also do well” said Petchey.
The boys doubles title went to South African’s Pierre Malan and Charl Morgan. The girls doubles title went to Dutch pair Perla Nieuwboer and Magriet Timmermans.
On Monday the second ITF NWU-PUKKE 2 begins at the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy on the North West University Potchefstroom campus.