21 Apr 2012

Maripa defeats eighth seed on home soil

Match Report

Photo: Reg CaldecottEliphas Maripa (RSA)

Three all-South African men's singles matches were among the features on the opening day of the South African Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, in Johannesburg, but it was the host nation's Eliphas Maripa who stole the early headlines.

Maripa knocked out the first seed to exit the ITF 1 Series tournament, beating Brazilian eighth seed Rafael Medeiros 76 75 to set up a second round contest against a second successive Brazilian opponent, Yamanitu da Silva.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Anderson clinched what was arguably the outstanding match on the first day after coming from a set down and narrowly avoiding defeat before going on to beat fellow South African Mzanwele Thentsi 46 76(5) 63.

Thabang Lekhanyane sealed the last two games in his first round match against Tshepo Makwela, edging to a 62 46 75 victory, while Ishmael Tshipuke recorded a 60 36 62 victory over Geoffrey Letsoalo.

Elsewhere, there were comfortable first round victories for the remaining players, with another South African representative, Marshall Marsh, securing one of three 60 60 victories in the men's main draw singles. Marsh beat Xolelani Nyandeni and will face Japanese fourth seed Yoshinobu Fujimoto in the last 16.

Third seed Ben Weeks of Australia and British sixth seed Marc McCarroll also advanced without the loss of a single game.

Mardones wins through in three sets

Francisca Mardones of Chile won the day's only three set match in the women's singles after dominating the closing stages of her contest against South Africa's Celia du Toit to win 63 57 61.

With all eight seeds having first round byes, the other seven first round matches included victories for South Africa's Siphokazi Fuma, Australia's Luba Josevski, Britain's Louise Hunt, Faizatul Thani of Malaysia, Brazil's Rejane Candida and Natalia Mayara, and Pauline Helouin of France.

Top seed Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands will begin her campaign against Josevski, while second seed and defending champion Sabine Ellerbrock takes on Mayara in her first match of the week.

Leading quad players advance

Third seed Marco Innocenti of Italy was given the toughest challenge of any of the top 10 ranked quad players in first round action, but then won eight out of nine games to beat Britain's Adam Field 75 61.

Innocenti's next match against Israel's Boaz Kramer could be the pick of the quarterfinals, while top seed Andrew Lapthorne of Great Britain plays American Marc McLean and Israeli fourth seed Shraga Weinberg plays Malaysia's Hasan Azman.

South African second seed Luca Sithole beat his compatriot Fernando Gallant 62 60 and will now play either David Mathebula, another of his fellow countrymen, or Brazil's Rodrigues Olivieri.