Wheelchair Tennis Aces back from down under with 5 Titles in the bag
South African wheelchair tennis players, Kgothatso Montjane, Evans Maripa and Lucas Sithole are back after a successful tour to Australia where they competed in 4 tournaments this past January and returned with 5 titles and trophies.
Montjane and Maripa were the first to clinch titles this tour with both players winning the men's and women's singles titles at the Queensland Open, 7-10 January 2015. Maripa, then world ranked 14, tasted his first win over Japanese Takashi Sanada (world ranked 8) 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 and his second victory over a top ten player to reach a new career high ranking of 13.
Montjane and Shuker (GBR) paired up to win the women's doubles, clinching their decisive round-robin contest against Charlotte Famin (FRA) and Katharina Kruger (GER) 6-3 6-1.
SA Ace and defending champion Lucas Sithole played his first match of 2015 at the Sydney International Wheelchair Tennis Super Series which took place 13-17 January 2015. Sithole finished runner up in the quad's singles after losing to world no.2 Dylan Alcott (AUS) 2-6, 4-6 in the finals. Sithole and doubles partner Alcott won the quad's doubles title beating S Kawano (JPN) + HB Prabhu (IND) 6-2, 6-4. In the same event Montjane reached both the women's singles and doubles quarter finals with Maripa also making it to the men's doubles quarter finals.
At the Melbourne Open, 22-25 January 2015, Montjane and doubles partner Lucy Shuker (GBR) were again triumphant taking the women's doubles title after defeating M Buis (NED) + S Ellerbrock (GER) 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the finals. Montjane also reached the women's singles semi-final losing to world no.2 Aniek van Koot (NED).
Maripa lost in the quarter final to world no.7 Maikel Scheffers (NED) 4-6, 3-6. Sithole finished third in the quads singles.
The first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open was bitter sweet for Sithole. Wagner, Sithole and Lapthorne all finished the round robin format with 2 losses and 1 win. Dylan Alcott, world ranked no.2 ensured himself a place in the final with three wins. It all came down to the knitty gritty in games won vs. games lost and the final was contested between world no.1 David Wagner (USA) and world no.2 Alcott. Alcott won his first Gramd Slam beating Wagner 6-2, 6-3.
General Manager of Wheelchair Tennis SA, Karen Losch said "We are extremely proud of the players. They have taken alot home to work, practise and tweek on. The hardwork and hours of training are definitely showing rewards but in order to make real inroads in 2015 they will need to be focused, dedicated and continue to work hard."
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the sport of wheelchair tennis. Airports Company South Africa has contributed no less than R24-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme.