Saturday, March 2, 2024

Steve Coppinger wins sixth South African title

Trophy time for Steve Coppinger and Alexandra Fuller
Trophy time for Steve Coppinger and Alexandra Fuller

First title for Alex as Copp makes it the joy of six
By LIZ ADDISON – Squash Mad Reporter in Johannesburg


Steve Coppinger collected his sixth National squash championships in eight appearances after he coasted though in straight games when the final was played at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg on Friday evening.

Western Province’s Alexandra Fuller won her first senior National title ousting top seeded Cheyna Tucker 3-11 11-4 12-10 11-2 .

As often happens, after the excitement of the penultimate day, when all four semi-finalists were firing on all cylinders, the final programme fizzled into two quiet scrappy encounters.

Tucker, who had a hard hitting encounter with Elani Landman in her semi-final, edging through 14-12 in the decider too control in the first game running up a 8-2 lead and clinching it 11-2. But thereafter the spark fizzled as she lost the second 4-11 . From 5-all in the third game some long rallies ensued but unforced errors by Tucker allowed Fuller to take the game 12-10 and thereafter it was one way traffic for Fuller who dropped only a further 2 points winning the game 11-2.

Ranked 17 in the world Coppinger was man on a mission and Le Roux , the defending champion seemed slow off the mark. Coppinger race through the first two games 11-3 11-5 It was in the third game that some spark appeared in Le Roux’s game as he save 3 match points . Coppinger gained the hand in and rattled off the next 2 points for the match and the title.


Top seeds Steve Coppinger and Shaun le Roux will clash in the finals of the Laser S A National Squash Championships on the All Glass Court at the Wanderers Club Johannesburg on Friday evening.

The semi-finals played on Thursday evening was a case of deja vu! In 2012 Coppinger played Clinton Leeuw, winning through 11-2 12-10 11-5. In 2015 Coppinger played Leeuw and advanced to his ninth national final as he registered a straight game victory 11-8 11-2 11-6 in 31 minutes.

Since 2007 Coppinger has engraved his name on the trophy 6 times while being runner up to his coach Rodney Durbach in 2009 and losing to Shaun le Roux in last year’s final.

In a 71 minute bruising encounter Shaun le Roux the second seed eventually got the upperhand over North West’s Christo Potgieter winning through in four games as he also did in 2012.

In the first game le Roux ranked 41 in the world raced to a 7-1 and 9-3 lead taking the game at 11-5 and. Potgieter turned the tables in the second game aided by some unforced errors from le Roux and lead 8-1. Le Roux regained the hand in and played his way back into the game to level at 8-all and hold game point at 10-8. Potgieter in his own inimitable fashion had been diving around the court retrieving some impossible returns had to leave the court as his hand was bleeding. On his return numerous lets followed, however Potgieter won the game on his first game point at 12-10.
Some fast and furious exchanges delighted the crowd but Le Roux the defending champion took control of the match and his place in his fourth national final .

A new women’s champion will be crowned when the top seeds Cheyna Tucker (CG) and Alexandra Fuller (WP) face each other.

Fuller who reached the final in 2013 where she lost to Siyoli Waters needed 42 minutes to subdue third seeded Milnay Louw . Accurate placings by Fuller which put Louw under pressure saw Fuller win the first game 11-9. A similar pattern followed in the second game but Louw got the upperhand taking it 11-8. Gaining in confidence and making use of deeper attacking drives Fuller after levelling the points at 5-all raced through the game 11-5. Louw saved 3 match points but Fuller clinched the match on her fourth match point at 11-9.

Sixty minutes of positive, attacking squash was dished up by the top seed Tucker and fourth seeded Elani Landman a student at UJ. Tucker, using her volley to good effect, won the first game 11-7 and led 5-1 in the second.

Dominating play with hard deep drives and short shots, Landman levelled at 5-all and then led 10-5. Hard, low cross courts saw Tucker back into the game and the score stood at 10-all. Both players had two games ponts each with the UJ student evenually winning the game on a stroke at 14-12.

Tucker returned to the court and showed little latitude as she raced though the third game 11-4 in eight minutes. Landman returned the favour in the fourth game, needing only six minutes to return an 11-2 score.

The stage was set – with both players looking positive and attacking, with long rallies, desperate retrieving, tight drops, hard drives, and accurately placed volleys – the score changing hands nearly every point. Landman held a match point at 11-10 but it was Tucker who snatched the match on her thrid match point at 14-12 to enter her first senior national final.

Ranked 17 in the world, Steve Coppinger, six times winner of the Men’s national title, wasted no time in making his way into the semi-finals disposing of Tristan Eysele (Border) in 20 minutes when the quarterfinals were played at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.

Defending champion Shaun Le Roux, presently ranked 41 in the world, also only needed 20 minutes as he raced though in straight games against Michael Wood.

Christo Potgieter (NW) the third seed, took the first game 11-8 against 4th seeded JP Brits of Limpopo before Brits took control winning the second game 11-3. Potgieter’s agility and recovering ability allowed him to aassert control , applying the necessary pressure to win the next two games 11-5 11-6 and a place in the semi-finals.

Match of the evening was the 77 minute clash between Young Turk, fourth seeded Thoboki Mohohlo and experienced National player, Clinton Leeuw of Western Province, who is now coaching in America. Mohohlo drew first blood leading 6-2 but Leeuw fought back to lead 7-6 . Mohohlo making good use of accurate placings and volleys moved to hold game ball at 10-7 but only managed to clinch the game 12-10 on his third game ball. Both players, moving easily, making adept use of deep drives , killing drops and attacking volleys punctuated by incredible retrieving fenced physically and mentally with each other.

After 34 minutes physically demanding play Leeuw levelled games at one all and then witnessed Mohohlo winning the third game 11-9. Points seesawed in the fourth game which again went to the experienced Leeuw.

The decider saw an increasingly confident Leeuw taking command as he led 5-2 and 8-4. With Mohohlo appearing to wilt under the pressure, Leeuw needed only one match point to put him in the semi finals and set up a clash with Coppinger.

Semi final schedule Thursday 11th June: 18h15 Shaun le Roux vs Christo Potgieter; 19h45 Steve Coppinger vs Clinton Leeuw


Defending champion Shaun le Roux, seeded 2, made his way to the quarterfinals of the Laser S A National Squash Championships being played at the Wanderers Club, Johannesburg when he accounted for Ruan Olivier in four games on Tuesday evening.

Ranked 17 in the world, top seed Steve Coppinger took his allotted place after defeating Jimmy Schlebusch (NW) in straight games.

3rd Seeded Thoboki Mohohlo (CG) after losing the first game 5-11 to national player Rodney Durbach (WP) gradually gained control in their encounter taking the next 3 games 11-7 11-7 11-3 while 4th seed North West’s Christo Potgieter also needed 4 games to get past Central Gautenger Kyle Maree

The only upset in the men’s championship was caused by 9-16 seed Tristan Eysele of Border who in a 71 minute titanic struggle gained the better of 5-8 seed Gary Wheadon (KZN) winning 11- 5 12-14 10-12 12-10 12-10.

In the women’s section the top three seeds Cheyna Tucker (CG), Alexandra Fuller (WP) and Milnay Louw (WP) had little trouble in moving through to the quarter finals dropping less than 20 points between them.

4th Seeded Elani Landman took her allotted place in the quarters after accounting for Western Province’s Danielle van Niekerk 13-11 11-8 11-6.

But it was 5th seed Lume Landman (CG), 6th seed Kacey Leigh Dodd (E), 7th seed Makgosi Peloakgosi (N) and 8th seeded Adel Weir (CG) who all tumbled out.

In a closely contested match Landman lost to fellow UJ Student 9-16 seed, Alexia Pienaar in 4 games. Former National champion, Farrah Sterne of Northerns, seeded 9-16 ,had too much experience for 2014 under 19 champion Dodd, a student at UJ, winning through 11-9 15-13 12-10. Sonica Fritz , another 9-16 seed subdued a determined fight by fellow Northerns team mate Peloakgosi edging through to the quarters in 4 games 11-8 12-10 10-12 11-8.

In the longest women’s quarterfinal last week’s newly crowned Wanderers Open champion, Michelle Kohne, a 9-16 seed, edged through in five games to upset 8th seeded Weir.

Line-up for Quarterfinals: Wednesday 10th June on Glass Court
16h00 Milnay Louw vs Alexia Pienaar: 16h30 : Michelle Kohne vs Elani Landman:
17h00 Sonica Fritz vs Alexandra Fuller: 17h30 Clinton Leeuw vs Thoboki Mohohlo: 18h15 Cheyna Tucker vs Farrah Sterne: 18h45 Christo Potgieter vs J P Brits: 19h15 Steven Coppinger vs Tristan Eysele: 20h00 Michael Wood vs Shaun le Roux.


Laser South Africa National Squash Championships, Wanderers Club, Johannesburg

Finals :
Men 1-Steve Coppinger bt 2- Shaun le Roux 11-3 11-5 12-10, Plate : A Martin bt L Kuhn 11-6 11-4 11-13 11-2, Qualifying Plate 2: M Spagnoletti bt C Ndbele 7-11 11-7 11-6 4-11 11-7..
Women: 2-Alexandra Fuller bt 1- Cheyna Tucker 3-11 11-4 12-10 11-2: 2nd Plate : Lume Landman bt Danielle van Niekerk 111-6 11-4 11-3,: 1st Plate : Tayla Diepenbroek bt Metja Mohohlo 11-4 11-4 11-6 



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