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South Africa make strong start at Wheelchair Tennis International

Last week’s SA Open winner, Sabine Ellerbrock from Germany, may have to withdraw after today’s second round of the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open after a bicep injury flared up again in her match against Australian, Janel Manns.

This could be good news for South Africa’s leading Women’s Singles player, KG Montjane, who is on a direct collision course to meet the German in the semi-finals on Monday.

Although top seeded Ellerbrock won the match in straight sets 6-1 6-3, the world number five said she was in a lot of pain during the match.

“I suffered a bicep rupture three weeks ago and received treatment for it,” Ellerbrock said. “It was absolutely fine last week; didn’t give me any problems, but in the practice yesterday it flared up again. “I would like to continue playing, because I think I have a good chance to win and that will mean 200 important world ranking points, which could be crucial in the seeding for the Paralympics. But I also can’t risk further injury that will keep off the court for longer. It’s a tough position to be in.”

Ellerbrock received physiotherapy, but will only make a decision regarding her future in the tournament before her quarterfinal match against Christine Schoen of France on Sunday.

Meanwhile South Africa impressed on the second day of the tournament being played at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre on the shores of Benoni Lake, east of Johannesburg.

Spearheading the local challenge was women’s fourth seed KG Montjane, who made an early morning start and beat compatriot Rose van den Meer 6-1 6-1.

Montjane looked comfortable on court, despite her claim of “not being a morning person”, and the world number 13 dominated throughout the match.

In fact, Montjane has not lost a single match against a South African player since she began playing competitive tournament tennis in 2006 and plans to continue her dominance of South African wheelchair tennis this week.

“I was happy with my start to this week’s tournament,” she said. “I have yet to lose to a South African player and will work hard at keeping up my dominance.”

Montjane added that she hoped to do better in Benoni than the semi-final she reached at the SA Open in order to improve her world ranking and gain a better Paralympic seeding.

“I need to get higher on the world rankings. If I do that then I have less chance of meeting a top seed early in London. That will be important for me, as I really believe I can win a medal at the Paralympics for South Africa.”

Montjane and Ellerbrock will be joined by second seed Sharon Walraven of Netherlands and third seed Katharina Kruger, also of Germany, in tomorrow (Sunday’s) quarter-finals. The second and third seeds also enjoyed straight sets wins in round two.

In the men’s singles, sixth seed Sydwell Mathonsi of South Africa beat Italian Luca Spano 6-1 6-4 to earn his spot in the last eight.

Mathonsi will now meet top seed Takashi Sanada of Japan in the quarter finals, just a week after Sanada knocked him out in round one of the ACSA SA Open at Ellis Park. The South African will be seeking sweet revenge against the world number 10 ranked player, especially after a good straight sets result against Spano.

The only other seeded South African in the men’s singles, Evans Maripa, also won his second round match when he beat Zimbabwe champion Nyasha Mharakura, 6-3 6-1. The country’s number one ranked Mens Singles player will face fourth seed Daniel Rodrigues of Brazil in the quarter finals.

Meanwhile world number nine Quad Singles player, Lucas Sithole, cruised into the semi-final for a second successive week and will face unseeded Azman Hasan from Malaysia. The top seed here in Benoni, Sithole beat compatriot Bongani Dlamini in straight sets, 6-2 6-0.

Third round action starts from 09h00 at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre in Benoni.

Published by The BLD Group