SITHOLE, RAMPHADI SURGE INTO FRENCH REVIERA OPEN SEMIS
South African two-time grand slam champion Lucas Sithole and giant-killer Donald Ramphadi surged into the French Reviera Open quads semi-final round in straight sets on Wednesday in France.
Former US Open champion and top seed Sithole thrashed Niels Vink from the Netherlands 6-1 6-3 to reach the semis for a second straight year.
Sithole will play Antony Cotterill from Britain in the semi-final round after the Brit fourth seed defeated Haim Lev from Israel.
The 31-year-old from Newcastle in Kwazulu-Natal is hoping to go a step further in the tournament and win the title after finishing as a runner-up in 2017.
“I am working hard to get back to the top, play aggressive and better my ranking. So, playing well in this tournament really boost my confidence and helps me get my groove back. I reached the final last year, so the aim is to take it home this year,” said former world number 2 Sithole.
“This is also a good preparation for the NEC Singles Masters at the end of the year,” added Sithole.
Wild-card entrant Donald Ramphadi ensured that South Africa will have two players in the semi-final round of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 2 event for the first time after dumping out second seed Shraga Weinberg from Israel.
The 25-year-old Ramphadi continued his ruthless form at Sophia-Antipolis by dispatching the world number 15 Weinberg 6-2 6-1.
The world number 36 who made waves at last week’s Sardinia Open in Italy reaching the finals, has not dropped a set this week as he strives to win his first major tournament.
"I'm happy because Shraga is a very good player and winning against him motivates me to do even better," said Ramphadi.
The Limpopo-born star will next face Sam Schroder from the Netherlands for a spot in the last two after the Dutchman stunned third seed James Shaw from Britain.