Straight sets wins were the order of the day for the main protagonists as the Airports Company South Africa SA Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, got underway on Tuesday in Johannesburg.
The first ITF super Series event to be staged in Africa started with six all-South African men’s main draw matches, the closest of which ended in Xolelani Nyandeni beating Similo Basi 64 67(6) 60 to earn his place in the last 16 against eighth seed Takuya Miki, one of three Japanese players to progress.
Among the Japanese contingent Yoshinobu Fujimoto had the toughest match, earning a 75 63 win over South Africa’s Donald Ramphadi Fujimoto will now play world No. 3 Gustavo Fernandez after the Argentinean 18-year-old started his bid to reach his second final in successive weeks with a 62 61 win over Zimbabwe’s Nyasha Mharakurwa.
Elsewhere, there were a string of 60 60 wins, with world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda, British fourth seed Gordon Reid and French seeds Frederic Cattaneo, Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer all progressing through their first round matches without dropping a game.
The same was true for South Africa’s No. 1 men’s player Eliphas Maripa, with Maripa going on to play Jeremiasz for a place in the quarterfinals.
Kruger holds off Schoenn in women’s singles
With Dutch tops seeds Jiske Griffioen and Marjolein Buis both having first round byes in the women’s singles, the only first round match featuring two world top 20 players ended with German world No. 11 Katharina Kruger gaining the upper hand over Christine Schoenn of France to book her place in the quarterfinals 63 64.
Kruger will now meet world No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane after the South African No. 1 started her campaign to follow up her Gauteng Open victory with a comfortable 61 60 win over her compatriot Rose van der Meer.
Mariska Venter, Mabel Mankgele and Thando Hlatswayo also eased in the quarterfinals after routine wins over fellow countrywomen, with Venter going on to place top seed Griffioen, while Mankgele faces world No. 4 Buis and Hilatswayo plays third seed Lucy Shuker of Great Britain.
Just one match was needed on the opening day to complete the last 16 of the quad singles, American Marc McLean winning his contest against South Africa’s Nkosi Nkosanye 60 60. McLean will now be the first opponent of the week for his fellow American and world No. 1 David Wagner.
Fourth seed Lucas Sithole and Steven Kekai will also go head-to-head to decide which of them will represent the host nation in the quarterfinals.