25 Apr 2014

Peifer and Sanada star in Benoni

Match Report

Photo: Reg CaldecottNicolas Peifer (FRA)

Nicolas Peifer and Takashi Sanada secured the biggest upsets to date on the third day of the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open, beating second seed Gordon Reid and fourth seed Frederic Cattaneo respectively as French and Japanese players reached both the men’s singles semifinals.

While all four seeds moved into the women’s singles semifinals, the first set of finalists were also decided in the quad doubles at the latest ITF 1 Series event on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

After securing an immediate break in both sets, fifth seed Peifer was never behind against world No. 3 Reid and the world No. 10 went on to complete a 64 64 victory.

“Pretty much everything was wrong with my game, but I don’t feel he played particularly well to beat me. I struggled with the altitude and the ball flying off the racquet. That made me a bit hesitant out there,” said Reid.

And even Peifer wasn’t sure how he managed to win this one.

“It was a good win, but a strange one,” said Peifer. “I don’t think either one of us really played our best tennis. There was no rhythm to the match and a lot of unforced errors on both of our parts.”

Peifer will next face world No. 13 Sanada, who ended prospects of a third Frenchman reaching the last four after edging past Cattaneo 62 67(3) 64.

"It was a very good win for me because Frederic is a very tough opponent. We had some long rallies, and my stamina is not as good as his," said seventh seed Sanada. ” He is also very powerful. So I focused a lot on my passing shots and that made the difference for me.”

World No. 2 Stephane Houdet and world No. 8 Takuya Miki will meet in the other semifinal after top seed Houdet held off a strong first set challenge from Dutchman Tom Egberink, coming from 5-4 down in the opening set to win nine straight games and prevail 75 60. Like his compatriot Sanada, third seed Miki also beat a French opponent, coming through his quarterfinal against David Dalmasso with a relatively comfortable 63 61 win.  

Montjane and Ellerbrock prevail to reach women’s semis

South Africa’s defending champion Kgothatso Montjane came up against Charlotte Famin of France for the first time in her career in the women’s singles quarterfinals, and was initially rattled by her opponent’s game.

“It was a tough start. I saw her come to the net so much and it confused me because she was very quick,” she Montjane of her fight to win the first set 7-5.

“I’ve never played her before so it was a matter of me just staying back and watching her game a bit. I took my time and focused on each point. After figuring out her style I was able to play my own game. When I put
pressure on her she started to make a lot of mistakes, and I came back strong in the second set,” added the second seed after completing a 75 62 victory.

Montjane comes up against British third seed Lucy Shuker in the semifinals after Shuker dropped just two games to Russian seventh seed Ludmila Bubnova.

World No. 1 Sabine Ellerbrock also seemed out of sorts early in her 64 61 victory over Francisca Mardones of Chile. 

“I really struggled to get my rhythm going. Only when we were 4-4l in the first set did I start to feel like I was getting in the match a bit,” said Ellerbrock, who has also struggled with the faster game at altitude. “It’s hard because your timing has to be really good and you have to hit the ball early. But it’s the same for everyone.”

Ellerbrock now faces fellow German Katharina Kruger, who dominated her quarterfinal against French eight seed Pauline Helouin to seal a 62 61 win.

Top seeds set for quad doubles final

In the quads doubles, top seeds David Wagner of USA and Canada’s Sarah Hunter overpowered Lucas Sithole and Jamie Burdekin 61 62 to reach the final, where they will face American Greg Hasterok and Brit Antony Cotterill. Second seeds Hasterok and Cotterill claimed a 61 63 win in the other semifinal against South Africa’s Bongani Dlamini and Marc McLean of the United States.  

Houdet and Cattaneo are through to the men’s doubles final after beating South Africa’s Leon Els and Reid 62 63, setting up a clash with Egberink and Peifer after their 62 75 62 victory over Miki and Sanada.

The women’s doubles still has a strong South African presence after Rose van der Meer and Mariska Venter beat fourth seeds Helouin and Tsholofelo Sibanda 64 61. However, van der Meer and Venter now face a tough semi-final against Ellerbrock and Shuker, while Montjane and Mardones take on Kruger and Famin.