Johannesburg Open 2021

Men & Women $3k PSA Challengers, 25-29 May, Parklands Centre …

FINALS : Muller and van Niekerk take the titles

The ladies final started off with both players hitting the ball to a great length and taking advantage of any loose balls with great short shots to the front of the court. Lizelle Muller came into the 2nd game with guns blazing and put Jenny Preece under considerable pressure. Preece just made too many errors to put any pressure on Muller and lost the 2nd fairly quickly. In the 3rd Preece tired really hard and ran for everything but Muller had her tail up and was not giving away her lead. She kept up the pressure to take the 3rd 11-7. Her first JHB Open title.

“I am thrilled with the result and the points will definitely improve my international ranking”. Many thanks to all the sponsors for a great week of squash”, said Muller

Dewald van Niekerk was very focused from the beginning of the men’s final and really put JP Brits under huge pressure from the 1st ball. The rallies were both long and hard with neither player wanting to make the error. In the end it was Brits who could not keep up the pressure and made a few too many errors. Van Niekerk moved exceptionally well and continued this form throughout the match. Brits just seemed to struggle to keep his game plan together and even though he fought back hard in the 3rd game he could not keep up the pace, relinquishing the match 3-1 to van Niekerk.

“I felt that I played very well and I stuck to my game plan even though in the 3rd I lost a bit of focus and played a little short. Playing deep to the back and forcing errors from JP was what I intended to do. It is great that both my sister and I won the same event and I am very proud of her that she managed to keep the nerves out of her matches and secure the title.”

Day FOUR, Semi-Finals :

Another thrilling night of squash here in Johannesburg, South Africa

1st up were the ladies Teagan Roux and Lizelle Muller. Both players started off slow and made a lot of errors. It was definitely a game of who got into the game 1st and this was definitely Muller. She took an early lead in the 2nd and dominated the “T” forcing Roux to make a lot of errors. Roux fought hard to win the 3rd but in the fourth Muller put on the pressure again and hit the better length forcing Roux to make poor returns and then Muller, went in for the short winners, to give her a place in the final.

Next up were JP Brits and Joshua van der Wath. Brits was determined to not have a repeat of last night and focused form the start of the match. He took the ball early and played a great length. In total he only made 1 error the whole match and resulting in a 3-0 win. Van der Wath was under constant pressure and did not get into the game at all.

The 3rd match of the evening was 1st time semi-finalist Shelomi Truter and Jenny Preece. The 1st game see-sawed between the 2 players as both tried to go for early winners. Preece eventually settled down and took control of the game by hitting a better length and forcing weak returns and shots from Truter.

The final match was between experienced Dewald van Niekerk and rookie junior Damian Groenewald. Groenewald fought hard and ran for everything but the experience of van Niekerk was just too much for the junior. It was a good lesson of what is needed for Groenewald to get to the next level.

Matches will be live streamed tomorrow on the Facebook page of Squash SA

Day THREE, Quarter-Finals :

Women’s top seed Teagan Roux started off with being very nervous in the 1st game. Peloakgosi played some wonderful attacking very accurate shots in the beginning but could not keep up with the pace and agility of Roux. Tayla Diepenbroek really struggled to get her length deep enough to put Shelomi Truter under the pressure that she needed to do. Truter fetched everything and put the pressure on by getting everything back. The other 2 seeds Muller and Preece had relatively easy games to get to the semi’s

Once again the men’s section had some thrilling squash. The first match of the evening has us on the edge of our seats right up until the last point. JP Brits took a relatively quick easy 2 -0 lead but Kundanji Kalengo (pic 210928 attached) was not going down without a fight. His athleticism saw him getting to many balls that Brits thought were absolute winners, this forced Brits to take risky chances of which many did not go up. Kalengo did not give up and pushed Brits to the end and after a few contentious rallies in the 5th went down 3-2. “I was very lucky to win this match but knew that I needed to just hang in there” said Brits after the match.

The last game of the evening was between youngster Damian Groenewald and Sipho Ncube. Groenewald played a very mature game of squash and did not get sucked into the hit and run game that Sipho enjoys. The match see-sawed between the two players but the calmness that Groenewald approached the game saw him get to his first ever PSA semi-final.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Day TWO :

There were some very tight competitive matches this evening and once again “squash” was the winner

Reuel Videler put up a very gutsy fight against Joshua van der Wath. His fantastic reach took Joshua by surprise and led 2-1. His fitness eventually let him down and van der Wath fought back hard to win 3-2. Another great effort was put in by Tristan Worth who had Dewald van Niekerk running all over the place with his unorthodox backhand. Van Niekerk eventually started to read the shots and outran Worth in a very close contested match. The match of the night in the men’s section was between Mako Ntuli and Sipho Ncube. After a very close 1st game Ntuli lead 2-1. Ncube kept up the pressure with great length and eventually Ntuli’s legs buckled under the pressure.

The women’s section also saw some great squash. Tayla Diepenbroek struggled with her length in the beginning part of the match but once she settled done dominated her opponent Amy Farrell to take the last 2 games comfortably. Kimberley McDonald had to fight really hard for her win. Mariska Wiese played very attacking squash and really had McDonald against the ropes. Wiese ran out of steam and allowed McDonald into the game by taking off the pressure. Another fine display of touch and accuracy was displayed by Panashe Sithole to take the match 3-2 from her young compatriot Awande Malinga.

We look forward to another round of exciting competitive squash tomorrow evening.

Day ONE :

Tonight saw the 1st round of the Assore/ Balwin Joburg Open commence. It is wonderful to see so Tmany youngsters participating in this event. COVID protocol was observed and spectators lost out on some wonderful squash.

The most entertaining match of the evening was Tristan Worth against John Kuhn. Worth displayed his finesse by diving around the court and chasing down every ball. Eventually he just wore Kuhn down and even after a hard fought 3rd game, Kuhn was exhausted by the 4th and unable to keep up the pace.

It is with regret that the organisers were informed late this afternoon that no.2 seed Christo Potgieter was forced to withdraw after testing positive with COVID. It is very sad that Christo will not be able to participate but all COVID protocol’s need to be adhered to. It did however pose a wonderful opportunity for young Damian Groenewald to proceed to the quarter finals where he will meet the winner of Makho Ntuli and Sipho Ncube.