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Tough test ahead for Montjane, Maripa at ACSA SA Open

Johannesburg, South Africa - South Africa’s top singles players KG Montjane and Evans Maripa cleared the first hurdle at the ACSA SA Open and will join all the top seeds in Wednesday’s second round of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour Super Series event at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

World number seven Montjane beat world number three and first seed Jiske Griffioen to wrap up her second successive ACSA Gauteng Open title two days ago and was in formidable form today (Tuesday) against compatriot Rose van der Meer. The fourth seed beat Van der Meer in straight sets 6-1 6-0 and needed just 53 minutes to wrap up her victory. Her second round challenger, though, needed significantly longer.
Montjane watched with interest as Katharina Kruger from Germany quickly went 3-0 up on Christine Schoenn in the first set, but then had to fight for survival when the French player fought back to level the set. The German world number 11 battled on to take the first set 6-4 and claimed the match with a 6-3 victory in the second after an hour and 31 minutes on centre court.
“You can see why Katharina is such a tough opponent,” Montjane said. “She is such a fighter; she never gives up and you can never assume that you have beaten her until you’ve taken match point.
“She used to beat me all the time when I first started playing international events, but since I broke into the top 10 in the world, the roles have reversed. I’m definitely not over-confident, because on the day, anything can happen. My main focus will be to put her under pressure and to win the match with my service game and returns.”

The Dutch women’s singles top seed Griffioen and second seed Marjolein Buis both enjoyed a first round bye, while British third seed Lucy Shuker defeated Dipuo Molefe 6-0 6-0.
Buis will go up against Mabel Mankgele, Shuker will face Thando Thlatswayo, while Griffioen will play SA top junior Mariska Venter on Wednesday. The 16-year-old Venter is ranked fourth on the world junior rankings and was one of just four top junior girls in the world invited to compete in the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters in France in January.

Meanwhile Maripa will also count on good serving in his second round clash with world number nine, Michael Jeremiasz. The SA number one defeated compatriot Arrie Opperman 6-0 6-0, while Jeremiasz took out South Africa’s Gift Lekhanyane with the same result. Maripa said he is preparing for a huge battle.
“It was good for me to win in straight sets without dropping a game in the first round, but I know exactly what I lies ahead,” Maripa said. “I will have to bring my A-game against Jeremiasz. “I can’t look at him and get hung up on the fact that he is ranked inside the top 10 in the world or that he made the semi-final last week. “I need to see him as just another guy I’m playing. “I have to focus on my own game. I am playing well and if I am serving well and returning well, I have a good chance of beating him.”

Newly crowned ACSA Gauteng Open champion Shingo Kunieda from Japan, second seed Frenchman Stephane Houdet and fourth seed Gordon Reid from Great Britain were among the other top seeds who advanced without dropping a game in each of their respective opening round matches.

Third seed Gustavo Fernandez from Argentina, who lost to Kunieda in the ACSA Gauteng Open final, dropped three games against South Africa’s Nyasha Mharakurwa on his way to a 6-2 6-1 win.

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