SA trio prepare for SA Open in US | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA trio prepare for SA Open in US


Former US Open champion Lucas Sithole, South Africa’s number one women’s player, KG Montjane, and the country’s top-ranked male player Evans Maripa will begin their warm-up for the SA Open in the United States.

The three South African aces will participate in two tournaments against a strong field at the Arizona Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 2 event from 16-19 March in Tucson. Then they’ll move on to the Cajun Classic, an ITF level 1 event to be staged in Baton Rouge from 22-26 March.

World No 4 quad ace Sithole, who missed the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in London last December and the Australian Open Grand Slam early this year due to a swelling stump, will begin his 2017 season in Tucson. Sithole won the SA Open title in 2015, but only reached the semi-final last year, so the Kwazulu-Natal player will be hoping to go a step further once again in 2017 in the quads division.

‘I’m so excited to come back after months of rest, and look forward to perform my best in these season opening tournaments,’ said Sithole.

The big-serving 30-year-old said he had a great pre-season’s training behind him and hopes to keep the SA Open trophy at home: ‘I have put so much work in on the court for the past few months, I feel very strong and hope to make a repeat of 2015 at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium.’

In the Cajun Classic, all eyes will be on the world No 14 Montjane to see if she can maintain the exceptional heights she achieved last year, and to gauge her form ahead of the second Super Series of the year, the SA Open, which begins at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium on 10-14 April.

The 30-year-old dominated the women’s event last year in Baton Rouge, reaching the singles quarter-finals and sweeping away the women’s doubles with partner Aniek van Koot from the Netherlands.

The 26-year-old Maripa, who produced a master-class performance in upsetting the world No 11 Tom Egberink in the ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in the Netherlands last month, will represent the country in the men’s division.

The world No 14 recently clinched the doubles title together with Stefan Olsson in Great Britain, and will be hoping for a great warm-up to better his results at the SA Open after he stumbled at the first hurdle last year.

Picture of Sithole courtesy of Reg Caldecott

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