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Gloomy day for South African wheelchair tennis stars at ACSA SA Open

As the dark skies hung over Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Tuesday, it was a gloomy day for South African Wheelchair Tennis players at the Airports Company South Africa SA Open. Our countries tennis stars had mixed fortunes on day four of the world ranking event.

Unseeded South African, Evans Maripa’s dream run came to a sad end in the semi-finals of the men’s singles. Twenty one year old Maripa has been enjoying the week of his life. In the rain interrupted event, Maripa upset fourth seed Yoshinobu Fujimoto of Japan 6-2 7-6 on Tuesday morning in the quarter finals before losing to six seed Marc McCarrol of Great Britain in the afternoon semi-finals. McCarrol beat Maripa 6-2 6-2. On Wednesday, McCarrol will play fellow countryman and second seed Gordon Reid who beat fifth seeded Takuya Miki of Japan 6-3 6-1 in his semi-final.

Maripa although disappointed after his loss said he had enjoyed a great week on court. “I don’t like losing but I was unseeded and reached the semi-finals and that means I have scored a bagful of world ranking points which will help me in my aims of qualifying for the Paralympics in London later this year” said Maripa.

In the women’s singles, top seed Marjolein Buis of Netherlands put out South African star, KG Montjane, seeded four 6-3 6-3. The South African started strongly racing to a 3-0 lead in the opening set but Buis fought back the level the set 3-3. Buis then broke the South African to win the set 6-3. In the second set Buis broke early to lead 5-0 but Montjane known for her fighting spirit made a premature come back to trail 3-5. The experience of Buis was too much for Montjane and the world’s fourth best player closed out the match 6-3 6-3. Buis seems to have Montjane’s number as the Dutch ace has beaten the South African in all four of their matches played.

Buis will play second seeded German, Sabine Ellerbrock in tomorrow’s (Wednesday) final. Ellerbrock beat third seeded Sharon Walraven also of the Netherlands 6-4 7-5 in a hard fought match that took 1 hour and 40 minutes.

“It wasn’t that Marjolein won the match, it was more that I lost the match” said Montjane following her loss. “I made too many unforced errors and although I played well at times in the match in order to beat the best you have to be consistently at your best. I’m learning from playing the best.” continued Montjane.

For Quad world number nine, Lucas Sithole it was an unfortunate day as he lost to unseeded Boaz Kramer of Israel 3-6 6-2 0-6 in his semi-final. Second seed Sithole, the highest ranked wheelchair tennis player on the world ranking , went to bed last night locked at set all with Boaz after rain had stopped play. It was unfortunate in the sense that Sithole, a notorious slow starter came out onto court today in cold and damp conditions which did not help matters and Sithole did not win a game losing the final set 6-0. Kramer will play top seeded Andrew Lapthorne of Great Britain in tomorrow’s (Wednesday) final. Lapthorne fought hard to beat fourth seeded Sharga Weinberg of Israel 2-6 6-1 6-4.

The junior final it will be an all South African affair with top seed Mabel Mankgele playing second seed Thabang Lekhanyane.

The finals will be played at 09h00 on Wednesday at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg.

Published by The BLD Group