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MONTJANE KNOCKED OUT OF FRENCH OPEN AFTER THREE-SET EPIC

South Africa’s lone representative in the French Open Wheelchair Tennis Grand Slam tournament, Kgothatso Montjane was knocked out from the women’s singles quarter-final round after a three-set battle to the three-time runner-up Aniek Van Koot from the Netherlands at Roland Garros on Thursday.

World number 8 Montjane lost 1-6 6-3 1-6 in nearly two hours but not before giving a tough fight to the Dutch world number 3 Van Koot, making her go the distance on Court number 9.

Van Koot took off well and dominated the start, clinching the first set in 38 minutes, but denying a defeat, the Limpopo-born star Montjane came back strongly firing cylinders to back herself out of a corner in the second set which toggled back and forth.

Montjane was 3-2 down in the set but the world number 8 staged a dramatic fight back and found her legs to seal the second set 6-3 to push the match into the decider.

For a while after the two women split sets, it looked as though the vibrant challenge from Montjane will avenge her 2014 loss to Van Koot, but the world number 3 came back from the brink to keep her quest for a first French Open title alive dominating the deciding set.

The 32-year-old Montjane had reached the semi-final at Roland Garros in 2013 after edging out former world number 2 Sharon Walraven from the Netherlands in the quarter-finals but had not been able to win past Van Koot.

In the third set, the advantages swung back and forth, but Van Koot dominated the set when Montjane went out of steam to lose the match.

“Kgothatso played very well and fought hard to get back in the match by winning the second set. She had numerous opportunities in the third set but failed to convert them. I do believe it is a step in the right direction and hope that she will believe that she actually belongs amongst the top players in the world!” commented Montjane’s Coach Gerald Stoffberg.