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Successful SA wheelchair tennis trio back in SA
- Updated: February 3, 2015
Three South African wheelchair tennis players – Kgothatso Montjane, Evans Maripa and Lucas Sithole – are back after a successful tour to Australia where they competed in four tournaments last month and returned with five titles and trophies.
Montjane, pictured above, and Maripa were the first to clinch titles on this particular tour with both players winning the men’s and women’s singles titles at the Queensland Open. Maripa, then ranked 14th in the world, tasted his first win over Japanese Takashi Sanada (No8) 1-6 6-3 7-5 and his second victory over a top 10 player to reach a new career high ranking of 13.
Montjane and Shuker (GBR) paired up to win the women’s doubles, clinching their decisive round-robin contest against Charlotte Famin (FRA) and Katharina Kruger (GER), 6-3 6-1.
SA ace and defending champion Lucas Sithole played his first match of the year at the Sydney International Wheelchair Tennis Super Series. He finished runner up in the quad’s singles after losing to world No2 Dylan Alcott (AUS) 2-6 4-6 in the finals. Sithole and doubles partner Alcott won the quad’s doubles title beating S Kawano (JPN) + HB Prabhu (IND) 6-2 6-4. In the same event Montjane reached both the women’s singles and doubles quarter finals with Maripa also making it to the men’s doubles quarter finals.
At the Melbourne Open, Montjane and doubles partner Lucy Shuker (GBR) were again triumphant, taking the women’s doubles title after defeating M Buis (NED) + S Ellerbrock (GER) 6-4 7-6 (6) in the finals. Montjane also reached the women’s singles semi-final losing to world No2 Aniek van Koot (NED).
Maripa lost in the quarter final to world No7 Maikel Scheffers (NED) 4-6 3-6. Sithole finished third in the quads singles.
The first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, was bitter sweet for Sithole. World No1 David Wagner, Sithole and David Lapthorne all finished the round robin format with two losses and one win. Alcott ensured himself a place in the final with three wins. It all came down to a question of games won v games lost and the final was contested betwee Wagner and Alcott. Alcott won his first Gramd Slam, winning 6-2 6-3.
General Manager of Wheelchair Tennis SA, Karen Losch said: ‘We are extremely proud of the players. They have taken a lot home to work, practise and tweak on. The hard work and hours of training are definitely showing rewards but in order to make real inroads in 2015 they will need to be focused, dedicated and continue to work hard.’