TOUGH TEST AWAITS MONTJANE IN SA OPEN
It was smooth sailing for most of the top seeds in the women’s singles on day two of the Super Series SA Open, including South African hope Kgothatso ‘KG’ Montjane and the world’s top ranked players, defending champion Jiske Griffioen and reigning Gauteng Open champion Yui Kamiji.
However, Jordanne Whiley from Great Britain had to draw on all her experience to turn around a first set loss against unheralded Angelica Bernal to make the quarter-finals of the Super Series event at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Montjane started with a clean slate after an early exit at the Gauteng Open.
She made quick work of her second round clash against Francisca Mardonnes from Chile to win in straight sets 6-0 6-1, but the world number eight will face a formidable opponent in Griffioen from the Netherlands on Thursday.
“Jiske is tough to beat on any day,” Montjane said at the second Airports Company South Africa sponsored event.
“If she lets it go somewhere in the match, you have a chance. That’s when you have to hammer her. If you can take advantage, score some points you have a chance; if you don’t, she will destroy you. Of course I want to go all the way, but I’m not putting unnecessary pressure on myself this year.
“My bigger goal is Rio. I am not making excuses. I’m working on a lot of stuff to prepare for the Paralympics. That’s my priority right now. I’ll give the match all I’ve got and let the results just take care of myself.”
Griffioen, who lost the Gauteng Open to Kamiji, disposed of Macarena Cabrillana from Chile 6-2 6-0 to keep her title defence on track, while second seed Kamiji from Japan beat Russia’s Ludmila Bubnova 6-0 6-2.
Third seed Aniek van Koot from the Netherlands ousted Emmanuelle Morch from France 6-0 6-2 and 2013 champion and fifth seed Dutch player Marjolein Buis, defeated Miho Nijo from Japan 6-2 6-1.
Whiley, meanwhile, had to claw her way back into the match against Bernal to win 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Their first meeting on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour was at the BNP Paribas Open de France in June last year.
“I beat her in three sets and I expected another match after last year, but she was a lot harder to beat this time,” said the 23-year-old world number four.
“I was actually shocked when she won that first set. I knew I needed to fight back with everything I had. She played really great in the third set, but I managed to take it. I was feeling quite confident before the match, but I didn’t play well and I didn’t bring a good game to her.
“I think the only reason I won was because I was fighting for everything. If it wasn’t for that, I think she would have done me today.”
Whiley will face another tough test when she goes up against fellow Brit and sixth seed Lucy Shuker in Thursday’s quarter-finals. The seventh seed knocked out Katharina Kruger from Germany 6-1 6-1.
“It’s always tough to play a team mate, and Lucy is my doubles partner as well,” Whiley said.
“You have to put the personal stuff out of your mind, otherwise it gets in the way of the tennis. I am still frustrated, because I know I can play so much better than I showed against Angelica. But I guess a win is a win. I just need to recap and start over.”
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.