Photo: Reg CaldecottShingo Kunieda (JPN)
History will be made on Tuesday when the 2013 Airports Company South Africa SA Open becomes the first ITF Super Series event on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour to be held in Africa.
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda heads an impressive entry for the men’s singles as he bids to add to the Gauteng Open title he won on Sunday. The Japanese top seed plays South African Marshall Marsh in the first round and is again drawn in the same half of the draw as British fourth seed Gordon Reid.
Kunieda’s again in the opposite half of the draw to new world No. 3 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina, who has achieved a career high world ranking this week after finishing runner-up to Kunieda at the Gauteng Open. Fernandez could be on course for a semifinal against world No. 2 Stephane Houdet of France, while Houdet is drawn in the same half of the draw as his compatriot and fifth seed Michael Jeremiasz.
World No. 3 Jiske Griffioen again heads the seedings for the women’s singles, but is joined in the draw this week by fellow Dutch world No. 4 Marjolein Buis, who is second seed. Griffioen is drawn in the same half of the draw as South Africa’s world No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane, who will set out bidding for back-to-back titles after securing her first career win over Griffioen in the final of the Gauteng Open.
David Wagner also goes into the South African Open bidding for back-to-back titles and the American world No. 1 joins the other seven seeds in all having first round byes. Wagner is drawn in the same half of the draw as South Africa’s leading hope, fourth seed Lucas Sithole.
Meanwhile, world No. 6 Jamie Burdekin has arrived in South Africa to being added depth to the draw alongside his fellow Brit and new world No. 2 Andy Lapthorne, who has moved up one place this week after finishing runner-up to Wagner at the Gauteng Open.