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There were no real surprises in the first round as the top seeds easily cruised into the quads singles quarter-finals of the Gauteng Open at the Gauteng East Tennis Complex in Benoni on Thursday.

Things went pretty much to plan for world number one Dylan Alcott from Australia, who claimed a straight sets victory 6-1-6-1 over local player Danny Mohlamonyane in his debut on South African soil. Second seed and three-time defending champion David Wagner from the United States dispatched Hiam Lev from Israel 6-3 6-1, while fourth seed Ymanitu Silva from Brazil met with little opposition from South Africa’s Bongani Dlamini to win 6-1 6-1.

But Lucas Sithole was left wanting after American Bryan Barten handed him victory in the second set.

The world number three is due to meet Wagner in the semi-finals on Saturday. The American beat Sithole in the last two editions of the Level 1 International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament, sponsored by the Airports Company South Africa, and Sithole was relishing the opener against the world number 14 to prepare for the pending showdown.

“I was happy to play Bryan in the first round, because he plays a lot like David,” said Sithole, who took the first set 6-0. “I was 3-0 up when Brian retired. I was a little disappointed when he called it a day, but I had enough time on the court to atleast get my rhythm and pace going nicely. I was able to work on my big shots and my serve and I’m pretty happy with how my game is shaping up.”

World number 25 Takahiro Koga needed three sets to get past Ronewa Mudzanani and eventually took the match 4-6 6-0 7-5 (4). Sithole is looking forward to packing in more quality practice when he takes on the Japanese player on Friday.

“Koga likes to come forward, so he will also be a good preparation for the semi-final,” Sithole said.

Alcott watched Sithole in action against Barten and believes he has the ammunition to win this week.

“Lucas is serving incredibly well,” said the Australian first seed. “He hits the ball hard and is moving really well and those are huge benefits. And being used to competing at this altitude also counts in his favour. Wagner is tough and you have to be on your game, but Lucas is in great form. I think it’s going to be very tight contest between those two.”

It took the Australian a few days to adjust to the conditions, but he feels good ahead about his chances, too.

“Luckily I’m not on the tough side of the draw, so I have a bit more time to adjust,” Alcott joked.

“I am quite fit and I couldn’t believe how quickly I tired when I first arrived. I was hitting the ball rubbish the first two days in practice, but I’ve managed to adjust to the flight of the ball. The match against Danny was great, because he has a lethal forearm. I’m looking forward to playing Queen, as well. It’s nice to get the chance to get to know the local players before you get the business end of the tournament.”

Nhlapo beat Lucky Kgwedi 6-2 6-0 to advance, while Australia’s Heath Davidson and American Greg Hasterok also made the quarter-finals of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour event.

Davidson defeated Jeffery Yates from South Africa 6-0 6-0 and Hasterok triumphed 6-0 6-1 against local player Nkosanye Nkosi.


RSA unless stated

1-Dylan Alcott (AUS) bt Danny Mohlamonyane 6-1 6-1

2-David Wagner bt (USA) Haim Lev (ISR) 6-3 6-1

3-Lucas Sithole bt Bryan Barten (USA) 6-0 6-0

4-Ymanitu Silva (BRA) bt Bongani Dlamini 6-1 6-1 

Queen Nlapo bt Lucky Kgwedi 6-2 6-0 

Greg Hasterok (USA) bt Nkosanye Nkosi 6-0 6-0

Heath Davidson (AUS) bt Jeffery Yates 6-0 6-0

Takahiro Koga (JPN) bt Ronewa Mudzanani 4-6 6-0 7-5

Attached pictures;

Sithole26a.jpg – South African quad ace and world number three Lucas Sithole saw off Bryan Barten to reach the quads singles quarterfinals at Gauteng Tennis Complex in Benoni on Thursday. The American retired when Sithole was leading 6-0 3-0.

Alcott25a.jpg – World number one Dylan Alcott from Australia easily disposed of South African Danny Mohlamonyane 6-1 6-1 in round one of the quads singles on Thursday at Gauteng East Tennis Complex in Benoni.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott

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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