TOP SEEDS DOMINATE ON DAY ONE OF JOBURG OPEN
All seeded players dominated the opening rounds of both the men's and women's events at the Joburg Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 2 tournament which got underway at Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto on Sunday.
South Africa’s top wheelchair tennis ace Evans Maripa and the country’s number 2 Leon Els cleared the first hurdle with straight set victories in the first round in Jabavu, while Japanese world number 28 Yoshinobu Fujimoto and Veronica Zvik from Israel also enjoyed success on the first day of the UNQLO International Wheelchair Tennis Tour event.
Top seed Maripa from Limpopo made a quick work to defeat compatriot Nicolaas Otto 6-1 6-0 in the men’s singles, while Els beat Nyasha Mharakurwa from Zimbabwe 6-1 6-1 to advance to the last eight in Soweto.
“I'm very happy with my result today. I played an amazing game against Nicolaas Otto and dominated throughout the match. It is always the best to start a tournament with a good performance,” said Maripa.
Maripa will next go head-to-head against Thato Tsomole, while Els face Ishmael Tshipuke.
South African top junior Alwande Skhosana, seeded number 4, hammered Vuyisani Mantshula 6-1 6-1 to set-up a quarter-final clash against 8th seeded Mayenzeke Gwija who saw off Ewald Lamprecht 6-2 6-0.
In the women’s event, while top seed Kgothatso Montjane enjoyed a bye in the opening round, former world number 1 junior Mariska Venter and the country’s number 3 Nokwanda Hlongwane advanced to the next round.
Venter defeated country-girl Lerato Mathosi 6-0 6-0 and will next face Nonkanyiso Nyosi, while Nokwanda, who knocked out Wendy Hlongwane 6-2 6-3, will play second seed Nalani Buob from Switzerland.
Israel's fourth seed Veronica Zvik enjoyed her victory on her first visit to South Africa. The world number 42 ousted Dipuo Molefe 6-0 6-0 and will take the court against unseeded Simpiwe Manqele on Monday.
Top seed Montjane will begin her Joburg Open campaign on Monday against former world number 27 Mabel Mankgele.