Photo: Reg CaldecottEliphas Maripa (RSA)
South African players featured strongly on the first day of the Belgian Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, as Sydwell Mathonsi beat an opponent ranked almost 20 places higher than he and Eliphas Maripa recovered to win his men’s singles match in three sets after losing the first set without winning a game.
Mathonsi edged past world No. 1 ranked junior and world No. 19 ranked men’s singles player Agustin Ledesma of Argentina in 63 76(3) and with all eight seeds having first round byes Mathonsi will now face Ledesma’s countryman Gustavo Fernandez, who has equalled his career best of No. 6 in this week’s rankings.
The comeback of the day belonged to Maripa, who went a set down to Lahcen Majdi of France without getting a game on the scoreboard. However, Maripa came back strongly to secured a 06 63 62 victory.
Elsewhere, it was a tough day for the Belgian players. While seventh seed Joachim Gerard will again head the home entry, Australia’s Adam Kellerman and Ben Weekes, Austria’s Dan Kleckner and Wolfgang Stieg, Laurent Fischer of France and Daniel Caverzaschi of Spain all beat Belgian players in straight sets.
Weekes will play Gerard and Kellerman will take on eighth seed Martin Legner of Austria in two of the most intriguing second round matches.
While the quad singles has yet to start, the winners of the first three matches in the women’s singles included former leading quad division player Dorrie Timmermans, who beat Belgium’s Sofie Cox without dropping a game.
The was also one all-Dutch match, in which Kitty Schulpen defeated Natascha Hoefhamer 61 60, and one all-French contest, which ended with Pauline Helouin Emmanuelle Morch 60 64.
The quad singles will start on Wednesday’s second day of play, when the seeded players in both the men’s and women’s singles also begin their challenges.
Belgian Open Draws
Order of Play: Wednesday, 25 July 2012