Photo: Reg CaldecottAndy Lapthorne (GBR)
Marjolein Buis (NED) and Andy Lapthorne (GBR) won the first women’s singles and quad singles Super Series titles of their careers on Saturday at the 2013 Airports Company South Africa SA Open. The event is part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour and came to an end at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg with Stephane Houdet also winning his second men’s singles title in the last three Super Series tournaments.
With this week’s tournament making history as the first ITF Super Series event to be staged in Africa, there were two South African finalists in the singles finals, with world No. 7 Lucas Sithole looking like he might be the player to post a home victory in the quad singles.
A day after securing his first career win over world No. 1 David Wagner, Sithole won five games in row to clinch the opening set against world No. 2 Andy Lapthorne. However, Lapthorne sped through the second set without dropping a game and then came from 4-1 down and 5-3 down to force a final set tiebreak.
The second seed earned three match points at 6-3 ahead in the tiebreak, but Sithole dug deep in front of his home supporters before Lapthorne finally wrapped up a 36 60 76(9) in a thrilling final to repeat his win in Johannesburg in 2012.
"I am very pleased to have won my first singles Super Series title,” said Lapthorne. “In doing so I have defended my title from the ITF 1 event at the same venue last year so I look forward to coming back next year to try and defend it again and will use this trophy to push on and enjoy more success in 2013.”
Buis beats Montjane to women’s singles title
Second seed Buis went into the women’s singles final against South African fourth seed Kgothatso Montjane leading the world No. 7 8-0 in previous career head-to-head meetings and the Dutchwoman demonstrated that she was in no mood to end that sequence, despite the expectant South African crowd.
Buis established a 3-0 first set lead and although Montjane closed the gap to 4-3 as she attempted to win her second title on home soil in successive weekends, the world No. 4 won the last two games of the set.
Montjane hinted at a comeback as she held a narrow 3-2 lead in the second set, but again Buis held firm to complete a 63 63 victory and add the women’s singles title to the women’s doubles title she had won on the penultimate day of play with Brit Lucy Shuker.
Houdet battles back to beat Reid
A day after securing his first career win over Japan’s world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda, world No. 7 Gordon Reid made a fine start to the men’s singles final against world No. 2 Houdet, the Briton coming from 2-0 down to take the opening set 62.
After earning his first ever win over Houdet in February, Reid continued his quest for a second win over the 2012 ITF World Champion by earning an immediate break at the start of the second set, but this time it was Houdet who came back from 2-0 down before claiming the last four games of the set to level the match.
Houdet subsequently established a 3-1 lead in the final set and despite Reid levelling proceedings the Frenchman finished much the stronger to close out a 36 64 63 victory and clinch his first Super Series title of 2013 after winning the USTA Championships, the last Super Series event of 2012, last October.
Houdet left Ellis Park with two titles to his name after partnering his compatriot Frederic Cattaneo to justify top seeding and win the men’s doubles final in the last contest of the tournament.
With Reid and the third Frenchman on court, Michael Jeremiasz, earning an immediate break in the final, the second seeds went on to comfortably take the opening set. However, Cattaneo and Houdet maintained a cushion throughout the second set and claimed the last two games of a tense final set to seal the title 26 63 64.