19 Mar 2017

Van Koot wins thriller against Montjane in Arizona


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Photo: Tennis FoundationAniek van Koot (NED)

Top seed Aniek van Koot will face second seed Lucy Shuker in Sunday’s women’s singles final at the Arizona Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, after the Dutch world No. 4 survived a thrilling semifinal against South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane in Tucson.

A Dutch double is a distinct possibility at the ITF 2 Series tournament after Maikel Scheffers booked his place in the men’s singles final against Spain’s Daniel Caverzaschi, while David Wagner will aim to secure a home American victory in the quad singles when he takes on South Africa’s Lucas Sithole.

Rio silver medallist van Koot managed to hold on for a 67(5) 64 76(5) victory over Montjane in the women’s singles semifinals as the two players went to three sets for just the third time in 17 career meetings. With world No. 10 Montjane having beaten van Koot just twice in their previous 16 head-to-heads. The Dutchwoman extended her lead in career meetings against the South African fourth seed in their first final set tiebreak.   

Shuker will aim to leave Tucson with both singles and doubles titles after also being taken to a deciding set for the second time this year by her doubles partner Dana Mathewson.

Shuker eventually wrapped up a 62 67(3) 61 victory to make it nine successive wins against Mathewson. Meanwhile, they were declared women’s doubles champions together after their final opponents Katharina Kruger and Montjane had to withdraw due to injury.

With two unseeded Korea Republic players in the men’s singles semifinals, neither Sung-Bong Han nor Ha-Gel Lee were able to extend their winning sequences as Scheffers and Caverzaschi advanced to the singles title decider, having also ensured they will be on opposite sides of the net in the men’s doubles final.

World No. 8 Scheffers wasted little time in beating Han 61 63, while third seed Caverzaschi held of Lee’s attempt to extend him to three sets when the Spaniard beat Korea Republic’s flagbearer at the Rio 2016 Paralympics 62 75.

Scheffers and Caverzaschi had already booked their places in Sunday’s men’s doubles final, in which Scheffers and Australia’s Ben Weekes will face Caverzaschi and South Africa’s Evans Maripa.

Wagner will have Sithole on the opposite side of the net for the second successive day when they meet in the quad singles final.

Wagner secured a comfortable 60 63 win in his North American semifinal against Canada’s Rob Shaw as the two players went head-to-head for the first time.

World No. 2 and top seed Wagner can expect a tougher time in the final after second seed and world No. 4 Lucas Sithole made it two wins in two matches for 2017 when he beat Sweden’s Anders Hard 75 61.

Wagner already was one title under his belt in Tucson after partnering Bryan Barten to the quad doubles title. With Barten only playing doubles in Tucson has he also contends with tournament director duties, he and Wagner held on in two close sets to beat Australia’s Rio Paralympic doubles gold medallist Heath Davidson and Sithole 64 64.

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