SA TENNIS ACES RETURN FROM THE US FOR SA OPEN
South Africa's top wheelchair tennis athletes Lucas Sithole, Kgothatso ‘KG’ Montjane and Evans Maripa return from a two-week tour in the United States today where the trio competed in the Arizona Open and Cajun Classic to warm-up for the highly anticipated South African Open.
World number four quad player Sithole reached the singles semi-final round in both events. The 30-year-old was challenged by world number two David Wagner, who denied him a spot in the final of the Arizona Open. The South African star fell to the American 6-0 6-3. Sithole went head-to-head against Wagner again in the semi-finals of the Cajun Classic, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 1 event. The American once again ended his run, this time wining 6-4 6-4.
Sithole is optimistic about turning lessons learned during his double defeat against Wagner into a successful campaign in the SA Open. “I was out for some time with injury and the two events in the US was my first time back on court. It was a learning curve for me and I’ve seen what I need to work on for next month’s SA Open.”
In the women’s event, the country’s leading player Montjane put up a stiff fight before going down 6-7(5) 6-4 7-6(5) to world number five Aniek Van Koot from the Netherlands in the Arizona Open. She and partner Katharina Kruger from Germany finished as the runners-up in the doubles at the ITF level 2 event in Tuscan. The Limpopo star, who battled with a hand injury, stumbled against Britain’s world number eight Lucy Shuker in the quarter-finals of the Cajun Classic, going down 6-3 6-2.
World number 14 men’s player Evans Maripa crashed out 6-2 6-1 in the opening round of the Arizona Open against former world number five Ha-Gel Lee from Korea, but the 26-year-old joined forces with Daniel Caverzaschi from Spain to reach the doubles final without dropping a set. The pair was denied the title by top seeds Maikel Scheffers (NED) and Ben Weekes (AUS) 6-3 6-3. Maripa staged an incredible fight against world number seven Stefan Olsson from Sweden in the semi-finals of the Cajun Classic before he went down 7-5 6-3.
The two events served as the warm-up tournaments for the country’s aces in preparation for next month's top-flight SA Open tournament to be staged from 10-14 April at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg.
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.