TOP SEEDS CRUISE INTO SECOND ROUND OF ACSA GAUTENG OPEN
It was a comfortable opening day for the top seeds in the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open wheelchair tennis tournament at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre on Wednesday as they all moved easily through their first round matches.
In fact, amongst the top two men's seeds in the singles and the quads they only dropped one game between the four of them. The leading women had it even easier as they all enjoyed first round byes, including defending champion Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa and world number one Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany.
On a cool day in Benoni, world number one and 2013 Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open quads champion David Wagner hardly broke a sweat as he beat Sweden's Petter Edstrom 6-0 6-0.
Wagner flew into South Africa on the back of victories in three of his last four tournaments, including the Australian Open.
"I felt good out there and I'm looking forward to moving on in the tournament," said Wagner. "It's always hard to get that first one under your belt. You always want to play well, and I felt I did that. But the great thing about tennis is that I feel like I can still improve. There are some things I still need to work on in my game. But it's early in the tournament so hopefully they'll come around".
"I'm feeling good and I'm playing good tennis. I feel ready to compete at the highest level that I can, and that's all I hope for every time I step onto the court."
His toughest opponent in the quads draw this week, South African Lucas Sithole, also enjoyed an easy start to his tournament when he beat countryman Steven Kekae 6-0 6-0.
"It was a good start. I just need to work on keeping my focus. When you play a match like that you need to stay focused out there and keep doing your job. There is still a lot of tennis to come so I need to be sharp and prepared for it," he said.
In the men's singles, South African top seed Leon Els took only 44 minutes to beat Simbongile Gobongo 6-0 6-0.
"I couldn't have asked for a better start. It was nice and relaxed and I could focus on the things I wanted to achieve," he said.
Els is looking forward to a big performance this week and in next week's Airports Company South Africa SA Open.
"These are two big events for me. I've trained for six days a week and two to four hours a day for this so I'm feeling as prepared as I can be."
But he'll need to put Wednesday's match behind him as quickly as possible, as on Thursday he faces third seed and world number eight Takuya Miki of Japan.
"The draw this week wasn't too kind to me. There's no real expectation on me in that match, so in that sense all the pressure is on him, which is something I have on my side. So I'm just going to go for it."
Frenchman Stephane Houdet, the top seed in the men's singles and winner of the French and US Open last year, eased into the second round with a 6-1 6-0 victory over South African Similo Basi, while second seed Gordon Reid of Britain beat South Africa's Frank Ramokoatsi 6-0 6-0.
Play will start at 09h00 on Thursday 24 April and entrance is free.