PORT ST LUCIE, Florida – The South African challenge at this year's Nike Junior Tour International Masters at Club Med Sandpiper Bay ended on Tuesday.
Richard Thongoana, who scored a superb straight-sets victory over second-seeded Australian Alexei Popyrin to reach the quarterfinals, could not find the same level of intensity against Karlo Divkovic of Croatia and went down 4-6 3-6.
Zani Barnard, who had also caused an upset with a victory over seventh seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine on Monday, had no answer to the power of Swiss player Rebeka Masarova was defeated 6-3 6-1.
Thongoana had chances in both sets as he led 4-2 in the opener and held a 3-1 lead in the second.
He also faced an opponent who had pulled a muscle in his thigh and had the trainer on court several times during the match.
“It didn't really bother me too much,” said Divkovic.
“Sometimes I play better with pain because it makes me go for my shots.”
South African coach Terrey Schweitzer felt Thongoana's forehand had let him down.
“He wasn't as sharp as he was in the earlier round and he was missing a lot on his forehand,” Schweitzer said.
“His opponent saw that and started putting a lot of pressure on that shot.”
Barnard never really got into the match and was beaten by an opponent who was just in better form on the day. – Sapa