Wim­ble­don glory beck­ons SA duo

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE -

ARE you ready for a de­li­cious dou­ble scoop of glory at Wim­ble­don? Be­cause that is the treat that could be in store for South Africans in what is shap­ing to be an ab­so­lute cracker of a sport­ing week­end.

On Wed­nes­day, Kevin An­der­son shocked the ten­nis world by com­ing back from a seem­ingly hope­less po­si­tion to beat Roger Fed­erer, the man who wears the la­bel “great­est of all time” with such ease, to reach the semi­fi­nals.

And yes­ter­day, an­other South African, Capeto­nian Raven Klaasen, stormed into the Wim­ble­don dou­bles fi­nal when he and his part­ner, Kiwi Michael Venus, beat Joe Sal­is­bury of Eng­land and Fred­erik Nielsen of Den­mark.

An­der­son made the fi­nal of the US Open last year, but he will be hop­ing to thrill all South Africans by lift­ing his first ma­jor ti­tle on the hal­lowed green grass of Wim­ble­don.

“I have al­ready have tons of mes­sages from sup­port back home. It’s not easy com­ing from South Africa, it’s very far from the ten­nis scene. I re­ally hope this will be an ex­am­ple for peo­ple of stick­ing to your dreams and keep be­liev­ing in your­self,” said An­der­son.

In con­grat­u­lat­ing An­der­son, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted: “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Kevin An­der­son for reach­ing the men’s sin­gles semi-fi­nals and to Raven Klaasen for reach­ing the men’s dou­bles semi-fi­nals at Wim­ble­don. All the best to Kgothatso Mon­t­jane, who’s go­ing to be­come first SA black woman to play at Wim­ble­don. We are proud of you all.”

An­der­son to­day meets the big-serv­ing Amer­i­can John Is­ner in the semi-fi­nal, who he knows very well from their days to­gether on the Amer­i­can col­lege cir­cuit.

And if An­der­son can get past Is­ner, he will be go­ing eye­ball to eye­ball with an­other ti­tan of ten­nis – ei­ther Rafa Nadal or No­vak Djokovic, who meet in the other semi-fi­nal.

As for dou­bles spe­cial­ist Klaasen, this will be his sec­ond shot at a ma­jor ti­tle. He reached the fi­nal of the Aus­tralian Open in 2014. Can he go all the way this time?

An­der­son and Klaasen may not be the only fairy-tale sto­ries of the week­end. When the Fifa World Cup started in Rus­sia three weeks ago, very few peo­ple would have given Croa­tia a re­al­is­tic chance of mak­ing the fi­nal.

Yet the brave fight­ers of Croa­tia are now geared to square off with tra­di­tional su­per­power France in Sun­day’s show­piece.

With Brazil, Ar­gentina, Ger­many and oth­ers lick­ing their wounds at home, France will be heavy favourites to tri­umph at one of the great oc­ca­sions in all of sport – a World Cup soc­cer fi­nal.

But what a story it would be if Croa­tia scalp yet an­other big name. The coun­try of around 4 mil­lion peo­ple came to a stand­still as Croa­t­ians watched their team. For in­stance, in Za­greb, the cap­i­tal, more than 10 000 peo­ple gath­ered in the cen­tral square to watch the match on gi­ant screens de­spite rainy weather.

Of course, if you want more than just ten­nis and foot­ball, there is also the small mat­ter of the most glam­orous of all cy­cling events, the Tour de France, which is now in its sec­ond week.

And “what about us?” Proteas cap­tain Faf du Plessis might be say­ing. His team are cur­rently do­ing bat­tle with Sri Lanka, where Dale Steyn is push­ing hard to break Shaun Pol­lock’s record for the most Test wickets.

If you don’t have a tele­vi­sion, find a friend who has one. And sit back and en­joy one of the great sport­ing week­ends of the year.

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