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Rik relishing Soweto Open challenge

Johannesburg – South Africa's Davis Cup star, Rik De Voest (204) was optimistic about his chances in the Soweto Open, after drawing Germany's Richard Becker in the opening round.

“Each and every player in the main draw can play ball. I don't know much about Becker but I've heard he is a good player,” said the 32-year-old ahead of next week's tournament to be played at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Jabavu.

Rik de Voest of South Africa. Credit: Gallo Images

“Seeded or not seeded I am taking each match as it comes and hopefully can work my way through to the last eight and then from there it's all bonus for me.”

A losing finalist in 2009 and 2011, De Voest would be hoping to make it third time lucky in a tournament which he said “brings out the best in me.”

The top seed spot went to Slovakian number one, Lucas Lacko (79) with American Rajeev Ram (115) seeded to meet Lacko in the final.

The tournament favourite, Lacko, meets Brazilian Ricardo Hocevar while Ram plays South African Davis Cup player, Ruan Roelofse.

Vasek Pospisil (130) of Canada and Michal Przysiezny of Poland (152) were seeded three and four respectively.

Flamboyant former Soweto Open champion (2010), Dustin Brown (180) of Germany is seeded at number five while Brazilians Thiago Alves (186) and Fabiano De Paula (261) take up the sixth and eighth spots. Brown will come up against a qualifier in round one.

South Africans Roelofse (506) and Jean Andersen (775), who were both originally given wild-cards into the tournament, received welcome news on Monday that their new world rankings had got them directly into the main draw.

As a result, Tennis South Africa awarded up and coming South Africans Keith-Patrick Crowley (775) and Dean O'Brien (1075) the two vacant wild cards.

Crowley was presently on a tennis scholarship at the University of Miami in the USA. O'Brien, who finished studying at Georgia Tech in Atlanta last year, was playing the professional circuit in North and Central America. – Sapa

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