Photo: Reg CaldecottKgothatso Montjane (RSA)
South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane made a remarkable comeback on Thursday’s third day of play at the Airports Company South Africa SA Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, to secure her second win over Dutch world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen in five days to progress to the women’s singles final.
Meanwhile, the men’s singles quarterfinals in Johannesburg threw up another memorable contest as world No. 2 Stephane Houdet edged out his compatriot Michael Jeremiasz after three tiebreaks.
World No. 7 Montjane came from a set and 5-2 down to prevail 26 75 60, reaching her first Super Series final and following up her win over top seed Griffioen in last Sunday’s ACSA Gauteng Open final.
“The first set was nerve-wracking because I made a lot of unforced errors and my first serve just wouldn’t work,” said Montjane. “I was frustrated but I tried to stay patient and focus on coming back in the second set.
“I started hitting it better, but I still couldn’t get a good rhythm going. I realised I was in big trouble when I was 5-2 down, so I regrouped and got aggressive. It was unreal to win five games in a row to win the second set. It’s the first time I’ve been able to come back like that against a top player, and I take a lot of confidence out of that set. I knew I could win after I took the second set, because I could see I was getting to her,” added the South African fourth seed.
Montjane now faces another Dutch player she has not beaten as yet, world No. 4 Marjolein Buis, who defeated Montjane in the South African Open semifinals in 2012. Montjane moved into the final after winning the important points to defeat third seed Lucy Shuker of Great Britain 64 64.
Buis and Montjane will also go head-to-head in the women’s doubles final. Top seeds Buis and Shuker beat South African duo Lethaba Shai and Tsholofelo Sibanda 60 60. They will now face second seeds Katharina Kruger of Germany and Montjane, who eased to a 61 61 win over South Africa’s Mabel Mankgele and Rose van der Meer.
Houdet wins epic quarterfinal against Jeremiasz
Second seed Houdet faced the possibility of a semifinal exit after dropping the opening set of his men’s singles last four contest against his compatriot and world No. 9 Michael Jeremiasz. However, Houdet dominated two more tiebreaks to claim a 67(5) 76(1) 76(1) victory – his second win over Jeremiasz in a closely fought match this season after the world No. 2 beat Jeremiasz 75 76(4) at January’s Australian Open.
Houdet will play third seed Gustavo Fernandez in an enticing semifinal after Fernandez was made to work hard for his quarterfinal win. Fernandez lost an early break against Japanese eighth seed Takuya Miki before Miki took the world No. 3 to a tiebreak. However, Fernandez began to assert himself in the second set and eventually sealed a 76(9) 62 win.
Fourth seed Gordon Reid also faced a strong challenge from seventh seed Frederic Cattaneo, but again clinched the important points to win 64 64 and set up a semifinal against world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda for the second successive tournament. Top seed Kunieda gained the most convincing of the quarterfinal wins, beating Nicolas Peifer of France 62 62.
Jeremiasz and Reid kept themselves firmly on course for a second men’s doubles title in as many weeks after repeating their Gauteng Open semifinal win over fourth seeds Eliphas Maripa of South Africa and Peifer. Jeremiasz and Reid avoided being taken to a second set tiebreak this time, earning a resounding 60 61 victory.
The second seeds will play top seeds Cattaneo and Houdet in the final after Cattaneo and Houdet’s 75 62 win over third seed Kunieda and Miki.
Hasterok joins top seeds in quad singles semifinals
Second seed Andy Lapthorne will play American seventh seed Greg Hasterok for the second week in a row after they both reached the quad singles semifinals, along with top seed David Wagner and fourth seed Lucas Sithole.
Lapthorne made a slow start to his quarterfinal against Canadian sixth seed Sarah Hunter before the world No. 2 ranked Briton dominated the last two sets to seal a 26 60 60 win. Meanwhile, seventh seed Hasterok overcame India’s Harry Boniface Prabhu 61 64.
Both semifinals in the top half of the quad singles draw ended in 60 61 victories as USA’s world No. 1 David Wagner beat eighth seed Adam Field and world No. 4 Sithole also defeated a British opponent, easing past fifth seed Antony Cotterill.
The quad doubles final will be between two unseeded partnerships after Field and American Marc McLean made the most of the early withdrawal of top seeds Jamie Burdekin and Lapthorne. After being given a walkover into the semifinals, Field and McLean beat Hasterok and Prabhu 76(2) 63 to reach the final.
Meanwhile, after beating second seeds Cotterill and Sithole in their opening match, Hunter and Wagner booked their place in the final with a comfortable 60 61 win over South Africa’s Bongani Dlamini and Steven Kekai.