MONTJANE, SITHOLE FALL SHORT IN BATH INDOOR FINAL
South African top ranked wheelchair tennis players, Kgothatso Montjane and Lucas Sithole both fell at the final hurdle on Saturday after delivering a couple of gusty performances to reach the women and quads titles deciders respectively in Great Britain.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Sithole reached the final round without dropping a set but his Dutch opponent Sam Schroder simply had too much class in the final.
Nineteen-year-old Schroder defeated second seed Sithole 6-3 6-2 for his first International Tennis Federation (ITF) 1 Series title.
Schroder ended Sithole’s hopes of leaving Bath with both the quad singles and doubles titles. On Friday’s penultimate day of play Sithole partnered fellow South African Donald Ramphadi to beat Britain’s Antony Cotterill and Schroder 64 67(3) (10-5) after a match tiebreak in the double’s final.
World number 6 Schroder had a memorable week after arriving in Bath without a seeding and completed the tournament having beaten the top three seeds, the highlight arguably being his first career victory over world No. 1 David Wagner in Friday’s semi-final round.
“It was a good week for me, I never played so freely in a long time despite the loss, I really played well, and I am happy with the progress I am making in my game. I feel ready for next week’s Doubles Masters,” said Sithole.
In the women’s event, US Open semi-finalist Kgothatso Montjane had also reached the final round without dropping a set.
But the top seed Montjane fell to second seed Giulia Capocci, losing 6-3 6-2 to the world number 6 who wrapped up the second ITF 1 Series title of her career on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, the big-serving South African world number 5 had defeated former world number 6 Katharina Kruger of Germany in an impressive 6-1 6-1 and edged out Britain’s Lucy Shuker 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour.
Montjane and Sithole will now move to the Netherlands for the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters starting from 14-18 November in Bemmel.