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Lucas, Kgothatso win in England

Two of our top South African wheelchair tennis players returned from the 22nd British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham, each with a victory under their belt.

Lucas Sithole and Kgothatso Montjane were among the group taking part in the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour Event.

The No1 quad in South Africa, Sithole, who hails from Natal, was knocked out in the first round when he came up against Italian Antonio Raffaele. Sithole, known for his fighting spirit, battled and lost the first set but rebounded strongly in the second; the third set was won by Raffaele with a score of 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Sithole’s fortune turned in his favour when he played with heart in the consolation draw and successfully won his first top 10 victory, beating American Bryan Barten 6-4 7-6 (3).

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa director Holger Losch said, ÔÇ£Lucas is a strong player and narrowly missed his chance at winning the third set in the main draw ÔÇô but made an impressive comeback winning the consolation draw.┬áWe are very proud of Lucas!ÔÇØ

In the first round of the women’s competition Montjane, SA’s No 1,┬á faced Pauline Helouin from France and emerged with an inspiring win of 6-0 6-1.┬áUnluckily for Montjane her next opponent was none other than the world’s No 1 player, Ester Vergeer.

Encouragingly enough, Montjane managed to take two games off the champion in the 1-6 1-6 loss.┬áLosch said, ÔÇ£It is good for Kgothatso to come up against the best in the world, it makes her work harder toward her goal of getting to the Paralympics in 2011.┬áTo qualify she has to be ranked within the top 12 players in the world.ÔÇØ

As one of the fastest growing disabled sports around the globe, South Africa is proud to boast over 80 wheelchair tennis players who hold significant positions on the ITF world rankings; this is more than any other nation and a true accomplishment for any country with such a young team.


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