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Montjane gunning for another Gauteng title

World number seven KG Montjane will be hunting for her second successive Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open title after disposing of Great Britain’s Jordanne Whiley in straight sets in Saturday’s semi-final of the Grade I NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour event in Benoni.

The defending champion will go head-to-head with top seed Jiske Griffioen from the Netherlands in the women’s singles, while men’s singles number one Shingo Kunieda from Japan and Quads Singles first seed American David Wagner will also join the final round action on Sunday.

Montjane won the first set 6-2 and overcame a mid-set stumble losing three games in a row before taking the second set 6-3. The defending champion said she expected more from fifth-seed Whiley, who pulled off the first significant upset of the week when she beat fellow Brit and second seed Lucy Shuker in Friday’s quarter-final.

ÔÇ£I watched that match, so I was looking forward to a tough match because I haven’t really been tested this week,ÔÇØ said SA number one said. ÔÇ£I think she probably used everything she had against Shuker, because she wasn’t playing to the same standard.

ÔÇ£I would have enjoyed a tougher challenge ahead of the final, and I actually started rushing in the second set just to finish the match. I ended up losing three games in a row; so it was a pretty stupid move on my part but I managed to pull it back and win.ÔÇØ

Montjane said she is relishing the final clash against Griffioen. ÔÇ£I’ve been watching Jiske this week and she is in great form. I’m really looking forward to the match, because we haven’t played each other in a long time. It should be a nice battle.ÔÇØ

Although Griffioen struggled with her first serve and had a smattering of double faults, she kept good control of her semi-final against fourth-seed Katharina Kruger from Germany with strong ground strokes to win 6-2 6-1.

ÔÇ£I had a low first serve percentage and made a few double faults, and if I want to beat KG, I will have to improve on my serve,ÔÇØ Griffioen said. ÔÇ£It’s great to be in the final, though, and I look forward to a great match.ÔÇØ

Kunieda knocked out third seed Gordon Reid in straight sets, but the 6-4 6-2 result hardly reflected the battle between the world number one and British world number three.

ÔÇ£I expected a tough match, because Gordon is always a tough opponent,ÔÇØ the world number one said.

ÔÇ£I started to control the match because I stayed patient. It’s one of my strengths and I will need it against Gustavo, because he is a tough opponent, too.ÔÇØ

Kunieda could have his job cut out against world number four and second seed Gustavo Fernandez. The Argentine player, who eliminated fourth-seed Michael Jeremiasz of France in three sets 6-3 2-6 6-3, is also chasing his first victory on South African soil.

ÔÇ£I am really looking forward to the match against Shingo,ÔÇØ said the 19-year-old Fernandez. ÔÇ£He is probably the best wheelchair tennis player in the history of the sport and it’s always great to get the chance to test yourself against him.

ÔÇ£I’ve played him three times, lost three times and I didn’t even win a game in the first two matches. You only learn when you lose, so I will win either way on Sunday.ÔÇØ

In the Quads Single semi-finals, Canadian Sarah Hunter put up a strong challenge in the second set but just couldn’t get past world number one Wagner, who won the match 6-2 6-4.

Second seed Andy Lapthorne had an equally tough battle against defending champion Lucas Sithole.

Lapthorne won the first set 7-5, but the South African triple amputee hit back to win the second 6-0. The third set went to serve until the Brit broke through on Sithole’s serve to keep his winning streak going with a 6-4 result.


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