2 June 2014
South Africa’s Fritz Wolmarans and Michelle Sammons claimed two titles apiece at the Sun City Futures 1 tennis tournament on the weekend.
Futures tournaments are part of the International Tennis Federation’s Pro Circuit and the first level of professional play, just below the ATP Challenger Tour. They’re a crucial stepping stone for many players aiming for careers on the ATP and WTA World Tours.
Wolmarans captured his first title since 2012 when he beat second seed and fellow South African Tucker Vorster 3-6 6-3 7-6 (3) in a fantastic Centre Court thriller.
The pair, the biggest servers in the tournament, battled for over two-and-a-half hours before the top seed won the title on his first match point in the final set tie- breaker.
‘Made the most of the big points’
“I went into the match knowing I had to serve well and give myself the best chance of breaking early in the match. Tucker is a big server and by far he was going to be my biggest challenge all week, but I felt good about my game and made the most of the big points, which made the difference,” Wolmarans said after securing victory.
“It’s great to win a title after so long. I needed it as it came at the right time to give me the confidence I have been looking for,” he added.
In the women’s singles, third seed Michelle Sammons won her first career Futures title by upsetting second seed Natasha Fourouclas, also of South Africa, 2-6 7-5 6-4 after a gruelling two hour and 43 minute battle.
Afterwards, Sammons spoke of her respect for Fourouclas, saying: “Natasha is a good player, and she makes a lot of balls, and makes you work hard.”
Fourouclas started strongly winning by winning the opening set for the loss of only two games in 49 minutes.
At the start of the second set, however, Sammons broke serve early to go up 2-0, but Fourouclas promptly broke back to level. The set then went with serve until the eleventh game when Sammons broke and held serve to win the set 7-5 and level the match at one set all.
In the final set, the third seed raced into a 3-1 lead and maintained her advantage throughout to go on to victory.
Sammons enjoyed good form all week and upset top seed and fellow Fed Cup squad team-mate Madrie le Roux in the semifinals.
Winning the title, she said, meant a lot to her. “I have put a lot of hard work getting to this point. All I want to do is play tournaments and so to finally win my first Futures is a dream come true. I really have had a blessed week and hope to carry my form over to the next two events.”
In the men’s doubles final, Wolmarans teamed up with Davis Cup team mate Ruan Roelofse to upset the top Swedish team of Jacob Adaktusson and Milos Sekulic 6-1 6-4.
The women’s doubles title went to top seeds Michelle Sammons and Chanel Simmonds, who defeated fourth seeds and former African Junior Champions Ilze Hattingh and Madrie le Roux 7-5 6-3.
The second tournament of the Sun City Futures series, The Sun City Futures, starts on Monday, with the finals scheduled for Saturday.