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South African rising wheelchair tennis quad player Donald Ramphadi fell at the final hurdle to top seed Andy Lapthorne of Britain on Saturday after delivering a couple of gutsy performances to reach the title decider at the Sardinia Open in Alghero, Italy.

The 25-year-old Ramphadi could not put up a fight in the early stage of the match losing the opening set 2-6 but gathered his momentum to produce a challenge in the second set. But the British word number 3 Lapthorne simply had too much class in the deciding set to record a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory to lift the title.

“I wanted to win the tournament like any other player, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at all especially going up against some of the experienced players on tour like Andy Lapthorne. Although I couldn’t win the title, I am very happy I managed to get to this stage,” said Ramphadi.

Earlier in the week, the big-serving unseeded Ramphadi who hails from Tzaneen in Limpopo had eased past fourth seed and world number 15 James Shaw from Britain in a captivating two-set quarter-final and upset second seed and world number 4 Sugeno Koji of Japan in straight sets 6-4 6-1 in the last four.

Ramphadi admitted he had a good week and already looks forward to next week’s French Riviera Open, an ITF level 2 tournament to be staged in Biot - Sophia-Antipolis, France from September 25-29.

“This week was definitely a highlight of my career, I played some great tennis here and these great performances has boosted my confidence big time ahead of next week’s tournament in France.

Later on Saturday, Ramphadi and partner two-time grand slam champion Lucas Sithole were denied the doubles crown by British top seeds Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotteril with a thrilling 6-4 2-6 10-5 in the quad’s doubles final.

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