Photo: Reg CaldecottKgothatso Montjane (RSA)
World No. 10 Kgothatso Montjane made headlines for the second successive day at the ACSA SA Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, as Sabine Ellerbrock became the first seeded player to exit the second Super Series tournament of 2017 in Johannesburg.
A day on from recovering from a slow start and needing a first set tiebreak to spark her first round victory over her compatriot Mariska Venter, it was Montjane’s second set against fourth seed Ellerbrock that was the standout feature of a 75 75 victory,
The South African No. 1 clawed her way back from 5-1 down in the second set for her fourth win over Ellerbrock in their last five matches and she now goes on to play Dutch second seed Marjolein Buis for a place in the final. Buis, returning to the scene of her first Super Series singles title in 2013, beat South Africa’s Nokwanda Hlongwane 60 60 in her opening match of the week at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium.
“Great tennis and an impressive performance – I’m so impressed with how I played today and didn’t even make a single silly mistake today. I’m just excited how I handled this match,” said Montjane.
“One thing I’ve realised when I was 5-1 down was that I was losing myself but I was losing it closely – so that gave me hope that I could actually bounce back. I started to win my serve and I saw her starting to tremble so I just went for the returns. She started throwing in doubles (faults) and I just had to push her hard.
“I need to control my excitement right now because by the time I play the next match I need to be in a good state of mind. This match is over. I need to focus on the next one. I don’t like expectations. I don’t have any expectations. She’s (Buis) a great player, I’m a great player. It’s going to be a competitive match and I’m ready for it.”
There will be a Dutch finalist in the women’s singles. Top seed Diede de Groot had to recover from a set down to quash any prospects of another upset, the world No. 3 eventually beating world No. 8-ranked Brit Lucy Shuker 46 62 62. Buis next plays her compatriot Aniek van Koot after the third seed’s 62 64 win over Charlotte Famin of France.
Cotterill battles through to quad singles semifinals
The first day of quad singles matches ended in 60 60 wins for South African duo Lucas Sithole and Ronewa Mudxanani, who will now meet in the semifinals.
Danny Mohlamonyane made a creditable attempt at making it three South African semifinalists, but ultimately world No. 10 Antony Cotterill found a way to book his place in the last four, winning 76(4) 75. Cotterill will now attempt to upset second seed and new world No. 4 Itay Erenlib, who opened his challenge in Johannesburg by beating South Africa’s Bongani Dlamini 62 61.
As the top seven seeds began their men’s singles challenges, top seed Stephane Houdet, second seed Joachim Gerard and seventh seed Evans Maripa all registered 60 60 victories, while eighth seed Yoshinobu Fujimoto clinched another 60 60 victory to follow up his first round 61 60 victory. Reigning champion Houdet meets Maripa next, with Gerard facing Fujimoto.
There were also comfortable straight sets wins for Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett as the Rio Paralympic finalists set up an all-British quarterfinal. The remaining last eight match will be between Wimbledon finalist Stefan Olsson and 2015 SA Open champion Nicolas Peifer, whose last three meetings, all last season, each went to three sets.