Lock cruises into semi-finals

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ZIMBABWE tennis ace Benjamin Lock cruised into the semi-finals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) F2 Futures tournament with a straight sets victory over fourth seeded American Evan Song at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

Lock, seeded seventh in the competition following his majestic rise on the ITF professional singles ranking in the past couple of weeks, beat his much fancied opponent 7-5 6-4 in front of the cheering home crowd.

“I did very well today (yesterday). I had a tough opponent and he fights very hard. So I am happy that I came out on top. I am really happy about the tennis I played. It’s easily the best tennis that I have played in Zimbabwe in the past two weeks,” he said.

“I created a lot of break points although I failed to convert most of them, but I’m not worried because it only shows that my return game is getting better which is a good thing for me,” he added.

Last week, Lock’s bid for a second ITF Futures title in the month of June was halted in the semi-finals and he clashes with his South African childhood rival Tucker Vorster who happens to be the number one seed at the same venue today.

Vorster seems to be a much tougher proposition for Lock compared to his semi-final conqueror last week and eventual tournament winner Evan King from America.

“I grew up playing a lot of tennis with him. He is a top player and I have a lot of respect for him, but I am just going to give it my best shot and hopefully I can win against him in the semis tomorrow (today),” Lock said of Vorster who is ranked 385 in the world.

Vorster needed three sets to see off battling Argentine sixth seed Matias Franco Descotte 6-7 7-6 6-2 in arguably the most thrilling match up of the week in Court 10.

Of note is the fact that the Pretoria-born Vorster already has two ITF titles to his name this year alone.

But should Lock produce yesterday’s form where his powerful serve and return game helped him dominate his opponent, he could book the ticket to the finals set for tomorrow and possibly the title.

The local favourite beat Anderson Reed of the United States, 6-7(9) 6-3 6-2 in the first round before knocking out South African Phillip Franken 6-2 6-2 in the second round to set up a quarter-finals date with Song.

In the other last eight matches, South African Lloyd Harris booked his semi-final spot with an easy 6-3 6-4 victory over second seeded compatriot Nicolaas Scholtz.

Last week’s winner King beat Portuguese player Vasco Mensurado 6-0 7-5 and meets Harris in the other semi-final.