Sithole, Maripa and Els in action on day one – Rio Paralympics
The seventh Paralympic wheelchair tennis event gets underway on Friday, September 9 with three divisions on display; quad’s singles, men’s singles and women’s doubles, as wheelchair tennis prepares to entertain at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Rio de Janeiro.
The day will see three South African aces battle it out on court against respective opponents, with quad ace Lucas Sithole and Leon Els playing first matches at 11:00 Rio de Janeiro time and Evans Maripa later in the day.
Third seed Lucas Sithole missed out on a medal in 2012 after being knocked out in the last 16 stage but the two-time Grand Slam Champion will be looking for a podium spot as he begins his campaign with a match against Shota Kawano of Japan. The 29-year-old is drawn to meet Australian world number one in the semi-finals.
Leon Els will make his Paralympic debut this afternoon as the 28-year-old play first match on court 3 in the men’s singles against Ronald Nemeth from Hungary with world number 17 compatriot Evans Maripa who also participated in the 2012 London Paralympics on court later in the day.
Maripa will meet Suthi Khlongrua from Thailand in his opener and should face a tough challenge against Takuya Miki, seeded number 10 from Japan in the second round. The two have met 8 times, and Miki has taken a commanding lead winning 6 of their 8 encounters.
The Paralympic Tennis Event is from 9 - 18 September at Olympic Tennis Centre, Brazil.