Photo: Reg CaldecottSabine Ellerbrock (GER)
The top seeds won each of the men’s singles, women’s singles and quad singles titles on Sunday’s final day of the Aiports Company South Africa Gauteng Open as Frenchman Stephane Houdet claimed the men’s title, Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock won the women’s final and USA’s David Wagner retained his quad singles title at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre, Benoni.
Ellerbrock claimed her second title of the day when partnering Britain’s Lucy Shuker to victory in the women’s doubles final at the latest ITF 1 Series event on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
World No. 2 Houdet beat Japanese seventh seed Takashi Sanada 62 62 after racing into a 4-0 first set lead against the world No. 13 and winning the last five games of the men’s singles final.
“It was very tricky with the wind, but experience has taught me to use the elements,” said Houdet. "You focus not on playing your best tennis, but rather on making each shot. It’s been a great week, better than I could’ve imagined with my wins in the doubles and the singles.”
Local South African favourite Kgotahtso Montjane looked like she might be on course for a successful defence of the women’s singles title after the world No. 7 and second seed gained the initiative against world No. 1 Ellerbrock after claiming the last two games of the opening set.
However, successive breaks gave Ellerbrock a 4-1 second set lead and she went on to win the last four games of the match to wrap up a 46 62 62 vicotry.
“I’m really happy that I came through a tough match against KG. Our last few matches have been close so I expected a tough match,” said Ellerbrock. “After losing the first set I tried to be a bit more aggressive. That made the difference.
“It’s a very emotional win for me because I won my first ITF title in South Africa. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I’m looking forward to the SA Open.
"This was great preparation and next week we’ll have two more Top 10 players in the draw. So you’ll need a bit of luck as well. It’s a very open game at the moment," added Ellerbrock, whose first ITF 1 Series title came at the South African Open in 2011.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match. It was great to take the first set but Sabine came back hard in the second set and I made a lot of mistakes. There are a lot of things to take from this tournament and I’m leaving here with a lot of confidence for next week’s Airports Company South Africa SA Open," said Montjane.
World No. 1 Wagner, who went through 2013 undefeated apart from just four losses to South Africa’s Lucas Sithole, defeated the current world No. 2 62 61 in an hour and three minutes.
“I had a gameplan for these two weeks and so far it's working. Both sets were a little up and down. It was very windy and you had to really control your shots. I jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set. Lucas came back to 4-2 and then I took the set 6-2. I didn’t expect him to lay down in the second set, and he didn't. It was just my day today,” said Wagner, who has now won all three of his matches against Sithole to date this season.
“I want to play the best tennis I can play every time I get on the court. I obviously want to win next week’s SA Open as well. But most importantly I want to play the best tennis I can every time I get onto the court,” added Wagner.
“I’ve seen what I need to work on for next week’s SA Open," said Sithole.
While Houdet and Wagner both completed the tournament with singles and doubles titles, Ellerbrock did, too, after she and Shuker justified top seeding in the women’s doubles.
Shuker has now won back-to-back Gauteng Open doubles titles after partnering Ellerbrock to claim the last nine games of their final against third seeds Charlotte Famin of France and Katharina Kruger of Germany to seal a 64 60 victory.