Benoni, South Africa - Rising Limpopo star KG Montjane stepped up the heat in her semi-final match against on top-seed Sabine Ellerbrock from Germany and forced her way into the women’s singles final at the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open on Monday.
Kgothatso Montjane, the 4th seed from South Africa in action against Sabine Ellerbrock (GER) in the women’s semifinals at the Airports Company South Africa 2012 Gauteng Open being played at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre in Benoni.
Picture credit: Reg Caldecott
Montjane will fly the flag for South Africa alongside world number nine, Lucas Sithole, who made the final of the Mens Quads Singles on Sunday.
Montjane won the first set with ease, beating Ellerbrock 6-1 but the feisty German hit back to take the second 6-4.
But the South African turned up the pressure up on Ellerbrock in the third set and the world number five threw the towel in at 3-1 down.
“Playing Sabine Ellerbrock is like playing experience itself,” said Montjane. “She has been on the circuit for a long time and has a lot of experience. She used that today against me in the second set. It’s already tough to play an opponent who is injured, but then she also mixed up overhead and underhand serves. It caught me off guard and I had a tough time staying focussed. But in the third set I knew I had to forget about her injuries, get ruthless and I did what I set out to do.”
It was the first time Montjane beat the German since Ellerbrock won the SA Open title from her 12 months ago in a third set tie-break and the South African was thrilled about the result.
“I’m aiming to get well inside the world top 10 for the Paralympics, so getting past Sabine today means I’ll get a lot of extra points,” she said. “Now I just have to win on Tuesday and I’m definitely looking at world number nine or 10.”
Third seed Montjane expects a tough opponent in second seed Sharon Walraven. The Dutch player beat fifth seed Kanaka Domori in straight sets, 6-3 6-2, to make the final.
“I played Sharon six months ago in the United States,” she explained. However Montjane has an incredible record against top ten players on South African soil and feels “quietly confident” going into Tuesday’s final.
“Sharon also has a lot of experience and she will bring that tomorrow. But I’ve never lost against a top 10 player in South Africa. “I work hard every day to achieve on court and I’ve learned a lot playing the international circuit in the last 12 months.
“It’s great to be in another final at home and I intend to keep my record here at home in tact.”
In the Quads, top seeded Lucas Sithole enjoyed a day’s rest before his final on Tuesday.
The world number nine beat unseeded Azman Hasan of Malaysia 6-3 6-3 in the semi-finals on Sunday and will meet second seed Marco Innocenti in Tuesday’s final.
In the junior final, it will be a repeat of last week ACSA SA Open final between the two top seeds Thabang Lekhanyane and Mabel Mankgele both of South Africa. In last week tournament it was Lekhanyane who triumphed at Ellis Park.
South Africa’s last hope in the men’s singles, Evans Maripa, bowed out in his semi-final to second seed Ben Weekes of Australia.
Weekes beat the 21-year-old seventh seed 6-1 6-3 and will play top seed Takashi Sanada of Japan in the final. Sanada beat compatriot Yoshinobu Fujimoto the third seed 6-3 3-6 6-1.
It’s been a great two weeks for Maripa, ranked 47 on the world rankings, who was also a surprise semi-finalist in last week’s SA Open. When the new world ranking come out, up and coming Maripa will find himself at on all time high on the rankings which will stand him in good stead in the race for a spot at the London Paralympics.