Sun, 31 May 2020

Harris, Klaasen fly SA flag at French Open

27 May 2019, 17:42 GMT+10

Cape Town - With eighth-ranked world player Kevin Anderson out of the French Open with an ongoing elbow injury, South African interest is centred on Raven Klaasen and Lloyd Harris as they seek milestones in their own right.

The inimitable, ageless, 37-year-old Klaasen, whose main successes on the world stage all materialised after his 30th birthday and is currently ranked the 13th world doubles player, will be seeking his first Grand Slam title after previous appearances in Wimbledon and Australian Open finals.

The up-and-coming 22-year-old Harris, in a more modest vein, is an automatic qualifier at a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career by virtue of his now 89th world ranking and he will be seeking his first victory in the main draw of a major event when he faces 138th-ranked Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol in the first round.

The seasoned, 33-year-old Rosol poses no easy task for Harris, but the up-and-coming South African must feel he is in with a fighting chance of forging into the second round, where more than likely he would face a more imposing obstacle in the in-form, 13th seeded Borna Coric.

But whatever happens, Harris is already assured a tidy amount of approximately R750 000 for qualifying for the first round of an event in which the winner will pocket something in the vicinity of R40 million.

As for Klaasen, the South African doubles exponent with New Zealand partner Michael Venus have timeously regained top form, having reached the final of the recent Italian Open.

In the process, Klaasen and Venus dramatically improved their prospects of qualifying for the eight-combination, season-ending ATP Finals from 21st position to ninth - an event in which Klaasen has impressively qualified for the past three years.

At the same time, Anderson's enforced absence from teeming, engagingly traditional Roland Garros will likely be a further blow to his world ranking, with the loss of the 180 ranking points he earned for reaching the fourth round last year - something the big-serving South African has achieved on four occasions.

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