Rolling Sport - SA tennis stars riding a wave of success in Australia
South African wheelchair tennis players, Kgothatso Montjane and Evans Maripa ransacked the season’s opening event, the Queensland Open in Brisbane, Australia where they both clinched the men’s and women’s singles titles. The tournament, an ITF 2 Series event, on the 2015 UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour was characterised by extreme heat thus forcing the event to run late into the night at times, something the South Africans cherished based on the current heat wave in South Africa.
Maripa overcame extreme humidity and heat to bag a first career win over Japan’s world no. 8, Takashi Sanada after an outstanding duel in which Maripa collapsed to a 1-6 loss in the first set. The South African, however, strung a few games together in the second set to elongate Sanada’s grunt in the third set before fending off the challenge from the Japanese seasoned player. It ended 1-6 6-3 7-5 in favour of Maripa and handed the 24-year-old a second victory over a top ten player, and a new career high ranking of world no. 13.
Montjane ensured a brace of victories for the SA contingency in the women’s albeit with less turbulence and drama. The finals saw the first set being decided in a tiebreaker against the world no. 10, Lucy Shuker (GBR). Montjane’s confidence soared to new levels in the second set as she rallied her way to the singles title Down Under with a 7-6(4) 6-2 score line and in the process moved her to a number 8 world ranking.
Montjane and Shuker buried the hatchet after their singles duel to oust Charlotte Famin of France and Katharina Kruger of Germany 6-3 6-1 in the women’s doubles, decisive round-robin contest.