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Polokwane local loses to Japanese counterpart at wheelchair tennis finals

Sunday, 03 July, 2011 The finals of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s (WTSA) prestigious Airports Company South Africa Polokwane Open was jam-packed with action today (Sunday, 3 July) but disappointingly for Sydwell Mathonsi who lost on his home turf to Japanese competitor Yoshinobu Fujimoto. Players from five countries, Japan, Austria, Great Britain, Zimbabwe and South Africa, battled it out over the last five days. Polokwane born and bred Mathonsi, SA’s No.1 and 3rd, seed faced the No.1 seed Fujimoto from Japan.

The local crowd cheered with great enthusiasm but the Japanese contender was the two set hero of the day. In the first set, Mathonsi went down 1-6, but seemed to gain momentum showing great promise in the second set. It was a case of too little too late and Mathonsi lost 6-7. Commenting on his performance, Mathonsi said, “Unfortunately I was not on form today but I gave it my best. In the end Fujimoto played the stronger game.”

In the women’s final another Polokwane local, 1st seed, Kgothatso Montjane, faced 2nd seed, Pretoria resident, Celia du Toit. Montjane has remained undefeated for the past six years at the Polokwane Open and her hopes were met with a seventh tournament title to her name. Montjane made quick work of her opponent winning, 6-0 6-3 The quads division saw SA’s No.1 and recently titled Gauteng’s Disabled Athlete of the Year, Lucas Sithole, come up against the 2nd seed Steven Kekai. Kekai was no match for Sithole and although he showed promise during the match he failed to gain traction.

Sithole won 6-1 6-0 WTSA’s tournament director and coach, Holger Losch said: “The South African players did exceptionally well against their international counterparts and without exception, we’re really proud of their guts, determination and courage. It was a great platform for our players fight for a better international standing to qualify for the 2012 Paralympics.”

The Polokwane Open is sponsored by Airports Company South Africa which has contributed no less than R14-million to the sport since 2005.