Leading Port Elizabeth squash players Rudi van Niekerk and Lizelle Muller will head a contingent of local competitors who will be eager to make an impact when the Londt Park PSA Closed Satellite tournament takes place in Port Elizabeth next weekend.
The Stella Londt club will be the venue for one of the most high-profile tournaments the region has hosted for several years, with a number of leading players from across the country in the draw.
The event will take place from June 7-9 and will coincide with the second-tier Londt Park Open, which offers an opportunity for local players from all leagues to play alongside some of South Africa’s best players.
An indication of the strength of the men’s field of 16 is that only Van Niekerk and EP Closed champion Jason le Roux could earn places in the draw.
This is a wonderful opportunity for them to test themselves at a level of squash they only experience sporadically and it will be interesting to see what sort of impact they can make.
Players such Rodney Durbach, Gary Wheadon, Ruan Olivier and Lawrence Kuhn will certainly ensure a high standard of play and the weekend promises to provide a brand of squash not often seen by local fans.
The women’s draw does not have similar depth and includes 10 local players, but there is sure to be some serious competition for the title.
Muller, who earned her national colours last year, is playing exceptional squash at the moment and will certainly be among the title contenders, if not the outright favourite.
Her main opposition could come from University of Johannesburg’s Alexa Pienaar, who won the University Sport South Africa title last year and was runner-up in the World University Squash Championships in Birmingham.
Another local player, Madibaz No 1 Hayley Ward, could also come into the reckoning as her game continues to mature. She was seventh in the World University Champs last year and earlier this year won her second straight EP Closed title.
The entrants for the PSA tournament are:
- Women: Tayla Diepenbroek, Robyn Lodge, Lizelle Muller, Alexa Pienaar, Caitlin Scorgie, Bongi Seroto, Michele van Zyl, Hayley Ward, Anlen Murray, Bianca Brown, Bianka la Mude, Dani Shone, Alison Oshry, Inge Loftie-Eaton, Tayla Victor, Michelle Bailey.
- Men: Tyrone Dial, Rodney Durbach, Robert Howarth, Lawrence Kuhn, Jason le Roux, Zwelakhe Makgalemele, Kyle Maree, Tremayne McDonald, Gary Naidoo, Makhosonke Ntuli, Ruan Olivier, Wayne Sithole, Rudi van Niekerk, Dewald van Niekerk, Gary Wheadon, Hayden Worth.
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