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Tennis | Ndungane and Kruger stay in the hunt for WIPHOLD International trophy

Two local players kept their title hopes alive on Tuesday, with teenager Lilitha Ndungane and SA No 1 Isabella Kruger progressing beyond the opening round of the WIPHOLD International, an ITF World Tennis Tour W50 event being played in Pretoria.

Ndungane outplayed compatriot Kaitlyn Ramduth, racing to a 6-0 6-1 victory to book her place in round two.

Kruger progressed after her opponent, Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands, was forced to retire from the match while trailing 3-6 3-0 in the second set.

The other two South Africans in the main draw put up fights in their matches but were ultimately eliminated.

Zoe Kruger lost to No 8 seed Manon Leonard of France (6-3 6-4) and Danielle Dai Champion fell to Dutch opponent Demi Tran (6-3 6-1).

After coasting into the second round, Ndungane was delighted with her result, though she admitted she was nervous going into the match against Ramduth, an opponent she knows well.

"It was really tough to prepare for the match mentally because I've played her before and she's a tough player who doesn't give up easily," Ndungane said.

"So going in, it was difficult, and I'm really proud of myself for being able to play well, keep my nerves down and just focus on what I wanted to achieve in the match. I'm glad to be able to go through to the last 16."

The top five seeds all made it safely through their first matches, but tournament favourite Laura Pagossi of Brazil had to dig deep against Belgium's Amelie van Impe.

Pagossi lost the first set but clawed her way back to earn a 4-6 6-0 6-2 win.

In the biggest surprises of the day, No. 6 seed Sofia Costoulos of Belgium fell to Australian player Kyla Mcphee (6-3 6-2), and Russia's Ekaterina Shalimova beat No 7 seed Hanne Vandewinkel of Belgium (5-7 7-5 7-6) in a hard-fought battle.

In the second round on Wednesday, Ndungane will hope to punch above her weight against fancied opponent Guiomar Maristany Zuleto De Reales of Spain.

South Africa's other hope, Kruger, is up against Shalimova for a place in the quarterfinals.

FIRST ROUND RESULTS

SINGLES

[1] Laura Pigossi (BRA) bt Amelie Van Impe (BEL) 4-6, 6-0, 6-2

[2] Gabriela Knutson (CZE) bt Amelia Waligora (BEL) 6-1, 6-4

[3] Xiaodi You (CHN) bt Nahia Berecoechea (FRA) 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(3)

[4] Maristany Zuleta de Reales Guiomar (ESP) bt Paris Corley 6-1, 6-4

[5] Isabela Shinikova (BUL) bt Alexandra Osborne (AUS) 6-2, 7-5

[8] Manon Leonard (FRA) bt Zoe Kruger (RSA) 6-3, 6-4

Ekaterina Shalimova bt [7] Hanne Vandewinkel (BEL) 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(4)

Isabella Kruger (RSA) bt Indy De Vroome (NED) RETIREMENT

Demi Tran (NED) bt Danielle Dai Chapman (RSA) 6-0, 6-1

Alina Charaeva bt Polina Iatcenko 7-5, 2-6, 6-3

Clervie Ngounoue (USA) bt Jaeda Daniel (USA) 6-3, 6-2

Anastasia Kovaleva bt Savanna Ly-Nguyen (VIE) 7-5,6-3

Ekaterina Reyngold bt Rina Saigo (JPN) 6-1, 6-1

Lilitha Sithenkosi Ndungane (RSA) bt Kaitlyn Leigh Ramduth (RSA) 6-0, 6-1

Kylah Mcphee (AUS) bt [6] Sofia Costoulas (BEL) 6-3, 6-2

Tennis, 2024, WIPHOLD International

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