Photo: Reg CaldecottJiske Griffioen (NED)
World No. 3 Jiske Griffioen and world No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane go head-to-head in Thursday’s women’s singles semifinals at the Airports Company South Africa SA Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, in Johannesburg.
The mouth-watering clash comes just four days after Montjane upset her Dutch opponent in the final of the Gauteng Open.
Montjane clinched her first career win over Griffioen in the final of the Gauteng Open and South Africa’s No. 1 will hope to back up that victory after beating her doubles partner, Germany’s Katharina Kruger, 64 61 on Wednesday. After a first round bye at this week’s ITF Super Series tournament, top seed Griffioen made the best possible start after beating 16-year-old South African Mariska Venter 60 60.
“I was so disappointed when I lost to Marjolein Buis in last year’s semifinal,” said Montjane. “I’m more experienced now, though, and I believe I have the game to back a title chase this year.
“This week is a bit different. The ACSA Gauteng Open was a Grade I event, but this one is a Super Series tournament and there are a lot more world ranking points riding on this one. I’ll have to get past Jiske again to make the final, so you can bet I’m going to go all out. I expect Jiske to come at me with everything she’s got, but I took a lot of confidence from the victory on Sunday and I’m ready for her.”
Griffioen is also savouring a re-match with Montjane. “I had a bye on Tuesday, but had a really good match against Mariska Venter,” said Griffioen. “KG is a tough competitor and I am expecting another tough battle between us. I feel a lot stronger this week, though, and I’m confident that I can produce the kind of game to beat her this week.”
Elsewhere, Griffioen's fellow Dutch second seed Buis and third seed Lucy Shuker of Great Britain both claimed 60 60 wins over South African opponents Mabel Mankgele and Thando Hlatswayo respectively and will meet each other in the other semifinal.
Houdet to play Jeremiasz in men’s quarterfinals
All four second round matches in the top half of the men’s singles draw were won 60 60, as Japanese top seed Shingo Kunieda and French sixth seed Ncolas Peifer and seventh seed Frederic Cattaneo all beat South African opponents. Fourth seed Gordon Reid of Great Britain outplayed Austria’s Wolfgang Stieg and will now play Cattaneo for a place in the semifinals, while Peifer will bid to end world No. 1 Kunieda’s sequence of 42 matches unbeaten.
In the bottom half of the men’s draw there is guaranteed to be a Frenchman in the semifinals after world No. 2 Stephane Houdet eased past Frank Ramokoatsi 61 60, while fifth seed Michael Jeremiasz defeated another South African, the country’s No. 1 ranked men’s player s Eliphas Maripa, 64 62.
There were mixed fortunes for the two Japanese players in the other two second round matches as eighth seed Takuya Miki beat Xolelani Nyandeni of South Africa 60 61, while third seed Gustavo Fernandez beat Yoshinobu Fujimoto 61 64.
Seeds eased through to quad quarterfinals
Seven of the eight seeded players will contest the quad singles quarterfinals after British third seed Jamie Burdekin was forced to withdraw from his opening match with injury. Burdekin’s misfortune has resulted in India’s Harry Boniface Prabhui taking his place in his first Super Series quarterfinal, in which he will now place American seventh seed Greg Hasterok.
Hasterok was one of four quarterfinalists to begin their quad singles campaigns with 60 60 wins. Elsewhere, top seed David Wagner beat fellow American Marc McLean 62 60 and South African fourth seed Lucas Sithole beat his compatriot Steven Kekai 61 61 Fifth seed Antony Cotterill also eased past South Africa’s Bongani Dlamini 61 60.
Wagner plays eighth seed Adam Field in the last eight, with Sithole taking on Cotterill and second seed Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain playing Canadian sixth seed Sarah Hunter.
Mixed doubles event gets underway
While all four seeded partnerships reached the men’s double semifinals, the ACSA SA Open becomes the first tournament to host a mixed doubles event being trialled by the ITF at some of this year’s Super Series events on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
Ten of the 12 partnerships who have signed up for the mixed doubles in Johannesburg are made up of South African players, while Britain’s Reid and Shuker are top seeds and had a first round bye along with the other three seeded pairings.
Of the duos that got the mixed doubles underway, Ayoub Ettali of Morocco is partnering Christine Schoeen of France and they got their challenge of to the best start after beating South Africa’s Luwie Mabelane and Queen Nhlapo 60 60.
Maripa and Montjane are second seeds for the mixed doubles.