Anderson, Scheepers carry SA hopes
South Africa's slim hopes of French Open singles glory will rest on the country's top-ranked men's and women's players when the Grand Slam tournament begins at Roland Garros on Sunday.
With 20-year-old Chanel Simmonds eliminated in the qualifying rounds, Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers will be the only two SA players in the main singles draw.
Anderson, the number 23 seed, will face Illya Marchenko of the Ukraine, who sneaked in as a lucky loser, in the first round of the men's competition.
The 27-year-old South African has been in fine form, reaching the third round of the ATP Masters tournaments in Madrid and Rome earlier this month, and climbing to a career-best 25th in the world rankings.
He reached the third round at Roland Garros last season – his best performance thus far in three previous turnouts at the clay court event.
Scheepers squares up against Mathilde Johansson of France, who reached the third round of last year's French Open, in the opening round of the women's draw.
Ranked 61st in the world, the 29-year-old, playing at Roland Garros for tne fifth time, will hope to benefit from her experience. Scheepers produced her best ever Grand Slam effort in the French capital in 2010, when she reached the fourth round.
Simmonds lost in straight sets to Paula Kania of Poland earlier in the week in the first round of women's singles qualifying.