SITHOLE TAKES THIRD PLACE AT NEC MASTERS
South African number one wheelchair tennis quad ace Lucas Sithole claimed the third-place spot behind world number 2 Britain’s Andy Lapthorne at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters at Loughborough University in England on Saturday.
In his opening match, Sithole faced a tough challenge from American world number 1 David Wagner. The American, who clinched his tenth NEC Masters title on Sunday when the season-ending elite tournament reached a stunning climax in England defeated Sithole 6-4 6-1.
The South African then went head-to-head against Ymanitu Silva from Brazil in Friday’s pool final which saw Sithole secure a semi-final spot following an incredible 6-4 6-4 victory.
In the semi-final battle, the 27-year-old Andy Lapthorne defeated Sithole in a hard-fought battle that saw the Brit eventually take a 7-5 7-5 triumph against the world number 4.
The Kwazulu-Natal native made a quick work on Saturday demolishing Australian world number 5 Heath Davidson in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to secure the third position.
“This wasn’t the results I had hoped for, but I played my best and hope for a better finish in 2018. Both David Wagner and Andy Lapthorne are good players and it is never an easy battle against them”, said Sithole.
“I learnt a lot again this year, gained more experience and will return home to continue working hard”, added Sithole.
Sithole finished in second place in 2015 after losing to defending champion David Wagner in the finals in London.
In the women’s event, world number 8 Kgothatso Montjane put her 3-6 6-7(8) loss to Marjolein Buis from the Netherlands in her opening match firmly behind her as she produced a masterclass performance demolishing Britain’s Lucy Shuker 6-1 6-2 in her second round-robin match.
The 31-year-old from Limpopo took on Wimbledon champion and world number 2 Diede de Groot from the Netherlands in the third round-robin contest which she lost 5-7 1-6 to finish in 6th position.