MARIPA, SITHOLE AND MONTJANE MARCH INTO JOBURG OPEN FINALS
South African wheelchair tennis aces Evans Maripa, Lucas Sithole and Kgothatso Montjane advanced to the men’s, women’s and quads finals respectively of the Joburg Open played at Arthur Ashe Tennis Center in Soweto on Tuesday.
In the semi-final encounters, men’s top seed Maripa worked hard to overcome top junior Alwande Skhosana, while two-time Grand Slam Champion Sithole and women’s leading ace Montjane had a much easier outing against Bongani Dlamini and Mariska Venter respectively to book their spots in the finals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 2 tournament.
Maripa didn't give the 16-year-old a chance to win any game in the opening set but Skhosana brought his fighting spirit in the second set winning two games consecutively to enjoy an early lead against the world number 12.
After Maripa broke back for 3-3, the match toggled back and forth, the two aces trading breaks to 5-5. The world number 12 then found his mojo and had no problem closing it 7-6(5).
Maripa will play against Japanese second seed Yoshinobu Fujimoto in the men’s final who battled past North West’s Leon Els. Fujimoto edged out Els in a thrilling 6-4 4-6 6-4.
In the quads event, top seed Lucas Sithole who started his campaign on Tuesday morning eased into the Joburg Open final after beating compatriot Bongani Dlamini.
Sithole, who is back on court just two weeks after he returned from the French Open brushed aside Dlamini 6-2 6-2 and will face third seed Danny Mohlamonyane in Wednesday's final. The 34-year-old Mohlamonyane was handed a final spot after Ronewa Mudzanani withdrew due to back injury at 2-0 in the opening set.
In the women’s tournament, world number 8 Kgothatso Montjane stormed into the Joburg Open final with emphatic straight sets win over former world number 1 junior Mariska Venter in just 40 minutes.
Montjane was outstanding in her 6-1 6-3 semi-final demolition of the third seed Mariska Venter as the 30-year-old moved just a win closer to her first Joburg Open title in Jabavu.
Montjane next faces Swiss second seed Nalani Boub in Wednesday’s final.
The 16-year-old Buob who is bidding for a third title at Arthur Ashe Tennis Center charged into the finals on Tuesday with a stunning 6-0 6-2 win over Veronica Zvik from Israel.