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South African top seeds Thando Hlatswayo, Lucas Sithole and Evans Maripa eased into the Airports Company South Africa Joburg Open finals on Wednesday at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg but women’s top seed Mariska Venter was unable to complete a clean-sweep of the semi-finals by the top four when she was knocked out by third seed Busra Un of Turkey.

It was a day of big upsets on the women’s side when Mariska Venter and Christine Schoenn were denied a place in the final.

Fourth seed Thando Hlatswayo produced a masterclass performance in the semi-final clash against second seed Christine Schoenn and will fight for a place in the final on Thursday after sealing a 7-6 0-6 6-3 victory over the French-lady.

Hlatswayo squashed any possibility of Schoenn making the final, she started confidently, but for some reason had a very bad second set before she upped her game again in the third and deciding set. “I am very excited and proud of myself for putting up such a game. My performance has improved a lot and it feels good to finally beat Schoenn after the three encounters I lost to her”, said overwhelmed Hlatswayo following her win. “I look forward to take on Busra Un tomorrow”, Hlatswayo added.

Women’s top seed Mariska Venter suffered a straight games defeat at the hands of third seed Busra Un in the semi-finals. Un dished out a superb game to see off the former world no.1 junior 6-1 6-4. Venter was hoping for a sweet revenge, after she lost the Bucharest Open final in Romania early this year to the Turkish star.

In the other semi-finals, Sithole defeated compatriot Danny Mohlamonyane, while Maripa edged past Brazil’s Rafael Medeiros.

Second seed Evans Maripa will take on top seed Japanese Takuya Miki for the title after beating Rafael Medeiros of Brazil. The world no.14 saw off the Brazilian 6-2 6-1 to reach the final. On the other side, Miki easily disposed of Potchefstroom’s Leon Els 6-1 6-1 to advance to the last two.

World no.3 quad ace Lucas Sithole celebrated his 1-year wedding anniversary on Wednesday in style with a 6-0 6-1 victory over countryman Danny Mohlamonyane. The top seed will next meet Hiam Lev of Israel in Thursday’s final who knocked out South African no.2 Bongani Dlamini 6-1 6-3. It will be the first time the two play each other.

Top junior Alwande Skhosana continued his winning streak after he dismantled compatriot Mpho Mhlongo 6-0 6-0 to claim the boys title. Meanwhile girls’ top seed Nokwanda Hlongwane was knocked out in the semi-finals by Aysegul Zirarsiz of Turkey. Zirarsiz will meet third seed Wendy Hlongwane in tomorrow’s final who defeated Lerato Mathonsi 6-4 6-4.

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 R36-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme.

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