SA Wheelchair Tennis Players Perform Well in Australia
South Africa’s top wheelchair tennis players are in Australia to compete in 4 international tournaments with the objective of increasing their points to qualify for the Paralympics later this year. In the first tournament, the Queensland Open, Kgothatso Montjane, SA’s No.1 in the women’s division, clinched the doubles title and reached the semifinals in the singles division and as such, Montjane has increased her standing on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ladder to No.10 in the world, positioning her favourably for Paralympic qualification.
In the singles draw, Montjane made light work of Yuka Chokyu from Canada in the second round, as well as Maria-Antonieta Ortiz from Chile in the quarterfinals, to advance to the semifinals. Montjane’s next opponent – Daniela Di Toro, ranked No. 6 in the world, had the upper hand and despite all her fighting efforts, Montjane lost 1-6-1 2-6. In an exciting doubles match, Montjane paired up with Christine Schoenn from France to swiftly defeat the Japanese outfit, Kanako Domori and Yuko Okabe, 6-4 5-7 6-2.
Other great tournament results included SA’s No.1 in the men’s division, Sydwell Mathonsi who reached the semifinals in the consolation draw. Mathonsi, ranked No.36 internationally, faced No.18, Yoshinobu Fujimoto from Japan, and despite a sterling performance and incredible demonstration of strength and agility, Mathonsi lost 2-6 0-6.
SA’s No.2 Evans Maripa, narrowly lost in the finals of the second draw to Alexander Jewitt from Great Britain, in a tough three-setter, 1-6 6-4 6-7(5). In prolific form, the country’s No.4, Leon Els emerged as the winner of the second draw consolation when he defeated Henry De Cure from Australia, 6-4 6-4. In the quads division, Lucas Sithole lost to John Parfitt in the quarterfinals, after showing great promise in the first set, 6-1 1-6 5-7.
The Queensland Open took place between 05 Jan and 08 Jan 2012 and saw competitors from all corners of the globe competing. The South African players will go on to participate in the Adelaide Open, the Melbourne Open, the Sydney International Wheelchair Open and the Australian Open, all to be staged throughout January.
Holger Losch, Director of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) was effusive in his praise for the players: “It is great to see our athletes performing so well and with 4 tournaments to go we have great faith in their abilities. The players are competing for points to qualify for the Paralympics in September, and it is exciting to see that for some, their dreams will come true.”
Participation in local and international tournaments such as these is made possible by the generous sponsorships offered by Airports Company South Africa, the official sponsor of the sport. Airports Company South Africa has contributed no less than R14-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship CSI project.
Published by The BLD Group