WORLD TEAM CUP DAY 3: SOUTH AFRICA SUFFERS THIRD WORLD TEAM CUP DEFEAT IN NETHERLANDS
South African wheelchair tennis quads team lost their final round robin match to Japan at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, Netherlands on Wednesday.
South Africa went down 2-1 to Japan.
The country’s rising quad star Donald Ramphadi was first up in the singles rubber, started strong but struggled to keep up the pace against Japanese Shota Kawano who took the first set 6-4. Refusing to be beaten, Rampahdi staged an impressive game to bag the second set in a clean sweep 6-0. The strong hitting Ramphadi then fought to dominate in the third set winning with a final score of 4-6 6-0 6-4 to give South Africa a 1-0 lead.
But then Japan levelled matters when their world number 6 player, Koji Sugeno outplayed South African world number 5 quad ace Lucas Sithole in a three-set thriller.
Sithole suffered a 6-1 3-6 6-2 defeat at the hands of the 36-year-old Koji which saw the team enter the doubles on uneven ground. From the onset, the Japanese world number 6 dominated, taking the first set 6-1. In the second set, Sithole was on top form proving his superiority with a 6-3 win but struggled to gain any momentum in the third set losing 6-1 3-6 6-2.
In the deciding doubles rubber the South African team came out firing all cylinders. However, Ramphadi and Danny Mohlamonyane could not convert any of their many opportunities. They lost 2-6 3-6 to Japanese duo of Koji Sugeno and Mitsuteru Moroishi.
“Despite the loss, the team really gave their all against Japan today. It was impressive watching our rising player Donald stage such an outstanding performance against an experienced player. It is an invaluable experience for players like Donald to get the chance to play against the best in the world,” commented team coach Holger Losch.
South Africa have now lost all their Pool A round robin matches. On Monday top seeds and defending champions Australia beat South Africa 3-0 and on Tuesday 2017 Silver medalists Israel beat the team 2-1.
South Africa will now play out for positions 7 and 8 on Friday.