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Montjane, Griffioen rematch on the cards at ACSA SA Open

Johannesburg, South Africa - Evans Maripa crashed out of the Men’s Singles, but Lucas Sithole will fly the flag for South Africa in the Quads quarterfinals, while compatriot KG Montjane is relishing another go at Dutch player Jiske Griffioen in the Women’s Singles semi-finals in the ACSA SA Open at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Thursday.

South Africa’s number one Montjane battled and made a slow start in the opening games of her quarter-final match against Katharina Kruger from Germany on Wednesday. At 4-all, the 26-year-old took control to win the next two games and wrapped up the first set 6-4. She completely dominated the second set, breaking the German players’ serve twice to win 6-4 6-1.

Montjane went head-to-head with Griffioen in the ACSA Gauteng Open final on Sunday, but the tournament favourite and first seed folded under the South African’s strong all-round game.

Montjane lifted the title in straight sets and now has her sights trained on this week’s final in the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour Super Series event.

“I was so disappointed when I lost to Marjolien Buis in last year’s semi-final,” the world number seven said. “I’m more experienced now, though, and I believe I have the game to back a title chase this year.

“This week is a bit different. The ACSA Gauteng Open was a Grade I event, but this one is a Super Series tournament and there are a lot more world ranking points riding on this one.

“I’ll have to get past Jiske again to make the final, so you can bet I’m going to go all out. I expect Jiske to come at me with everything she’s got, but I took a lot of confidence from the victory on Sunday and ready for her.”

First seed Griffioen is also savouring a re-match with Montjane.

“I had a bye on Tuesday, but had a really good match against Mariska Venter,” said Griffioen, who knocked out the 16-year-old South African in straight sets 6-0 6-0.

“KG is a tough competitor and I am expecting another tough battle between us. I feel a lot stronger this week, though, and I’m confident that I can produce the kind of game to beat her this week.”

Second seed Buis, a finalist last year, dispatched Mabel Mankgele from South Africa 6-0 6-0. The Dutch player is looking forward to her semi-final clash against third seed Lucy Shuker from Britain, who beat local player Thando Hlatswayo 6-0 6-0.

“I think both the semi-final matches are going to be quite tough, because we are all capable of beating each other,” said Buis. “Actually, I’m the smallest player in the top 10 group, but I’m mentally very tough. That’s how I reached the world number four spot. My goal this week is simple; I’m here to win.”

In the Quads Singles, world number seven and fourth seed Sithole hopes to extend his winning run against his quarterfinal opponent, Antony Cotterill from Great Britain.

“Antony and I have met five times and I’ve won each time,” a confident Sithole said courtside after defeating countryman Steven Kekai in straight sets 6-1 6-0.

“I never take anything for granted, but that knowledge does give me some confidence going into the match. Antony is a good opponent; he will test me and I look forward to a tough, challenging match with a positive result for me.”

In the other Quads Singles, world number one and first seed David Wagner got past fellow American Marc McLean 6-2 6-1, second seed Andy Lapthorne knocked out Queen Nhlapo from South Africa in 6-0 6-0, while third seed Jamie Burdekin from Great Britain retired injured and left the door open for unseeded Indian Harry Prabhu to join the other seven seeds in the last eight.

In the Men’s Singles, Maripa fought bravely but the South African number one was just not up to the challenge against former world number one and fifth seed Frenchman, Michael Jeremiasz.

In the first set, the world number 26 fought back from 2-5 down in the first set, but the Frenchman’s experienced proved too much for the 23-year-old Limpopo player.

“It was such a great experience, playing against Michael,” said Maripa, who lost 6-4 6-2. “I’m disappointed and elated. I managed to comeback and I won six games against a former world number one. He was just so much more experienced than me, but I learned a lot from the match. I’m going to throw all my energy into the doubles now.”

Maripa put his words into action when he partnered Frenchman Nicolas Peifer to a 6-2 7-5 victory over Gustavo Fernandez and Yoshinobu Fujimoto to reach the Men’s Doubles Semi-Finals.

All the other seeds advanced to the Men’s Singles Quarterfinals, including newly crowned ACSA Gauteng Men’s Singles champion Shingo Kunieda from Japan, who defeated South Africa’s Patrick Selepe 6-0 6-0.

Kunieda’s closest challenger, Stephane Houdet from France, joined the action at Ellis Park this week and made quick work of his second round match against local player Frank Ramokoatsi, winning in straight sets 6-0 6-0.

Published by The BLD Group