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Maripa wheels himself into Gauteng Open semi-finals

Rising Limpopo star Evans Maripa is through to the semi-finals of the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open in Benoni, marking his second successive semi-final in two weeks.

The 21-year-old “rallied himself” to a upset win over fourth seeded Daniel Rodrigues of Brazil 3-6 6-4 6-3 in a tough quarter final on Sunday.

Seeded seventh this week, Maripa hopes to go one better than last week’s ACSA SA Open when he comes up against second seeded Ben Weekes. The Australian needed less than an hour to beat another Brazilian, fifth seed Rafael Medeiros, in straight sets 6-1 6-1.

“I had to rally and be patient out there today,” said a delighted Maripa. “I like playing fast and I don’t like long rallies. Daniel tested my patience, especially in the first two sets. My coach told me to hang in there and put pressure on Daniel when it mattered. I did that in the final set and the game plan worked perfectly for me.”

Unfortunately luck was not on the side of Maripa’s doubles partner, Sydwell Mathonsi today. Mathonsi lost his quarter final to the tournament top seed Takashi Sanada of Japan.

The Japanese world number 10 beat Mathonsi 6-1 6-4 and will now play fellow countryman Youshinobu Fujimoto in Monday’s other semi-final.

In the women’s singles, South Africa’s KG Montjane was far too strong for seventh seeded Francisca Mardones of Chile. The fourth seed wrapped up her quarterfinal in straight sets, 6-0 6-3.

Lady luck could be on Montjane’s side as her scheduled semi-final opponent, ACSA SA Open champion and top seed Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany, appears to be injured.

The German was forced to serve underhand in her 6-1 6-1 quarterfinal match over Christine Schoenn of France and the tournament favourite battled at times in the match.

“I really struggled out there today,” Ellerbrock said. “My bicep injury was better, but I could not move backwards and so had to serve underarm. I am going to have medical treatment and see how it goes overnight. If things don’t improve, I may be forced to quit.”

Montjane, who will have to wait to see what happens in her semi-final, said she will focus purely on her own game and not on Ellerbrock’s injury.

“It’s been a year since I played Sabine and it is a bit of a grudge match,” Montjane said. “I had four match points against her at the SA Open and I let my nerves get to me and she won. I haven’t played her since, but I’ve seen her on the circuit. She always struggles with injuries but she always plays great tennis. So, if she plays tomorrow, I’ll be ruthless.

“I need to improve my world ranking after last week and my goal is to make the final. If that means picking out her weaknesses, so be it.”

In the other women’s semi-final, second seed Sharon Walvaren of Netherlands will come up against fifth seed Kanaka Domori of Japan.

In the Quads, Paralympic bound Lucas Sithole of South Africa is through to the final on Tuesday. The top seed beat unseeded Azman Hasan of Malaysia 6-3 6-3 to set up a final against second seed Marco Innocenti, who beat fellow Italian Antony Cotterill 7-5 6-3.

Published by The BLD Group