Benoni - South Africa’s top wheelchair tennis stars Lucas Sithole and Kgothatso Montjane both succumbed to their world number one-ranked opponents in their respective matches on the final day of the Gauteng Open in Benoni on Sunday.
David Wagner, the top quad singles player in the world, beat Sithole in two sets, 6-2 6-1, while Sabine Ellerbrock came back from a set down to beat Montjane 4-6 6-2 6-2.
Sithole, 27, fought hard to get to the final, but it was tough going against Wagner and he struggled with both his service and his movement on court throughout the match.
Wagner took a 4-0 lead early in the opening set and dropped the next two games , to lead 4-2. He piled on the pressure and rallied to a 6-2 win, in a set which lasted 35 minutes.
The American continued to show fine form and raced to a 6-1 victory in the second and final set to win the Gauteng title.
“I didn’t expect Lucas to lay down and just give up in the second set and I don’t think he did. It was just my day today,” said the 40-year-old who has only suffered two defeats this year.
“It was really windy again today and you've got to really control your shots and that’s what I did.
“It has been an interesting week. All the players here were quality so I prepared and talked to our coaches back home before coming here and had a game plan for the tournament.”
Wagner said he was happy with his performance and looked forward to an improved showing at next week’s SA Open at the Ellis Park tennis stadium in Johannesburg.
“The victory is sweet to take; the whole tournament has been great. But I’m just looking to better my performance on the court. I want to play the best tennis I can play every time I step on the court.
“And next week I just want to win, just like everybody else."
Sithole said he was disappointed with his day's performance.
“I’m happy with tournament but not happy with the way things ended,” Sithole said.
“It shows there are still a lot of areas I need to work on before the SA Open next week.”
Meanwhile in the final of the women’s singles, Montjane earned an opening-set win against Ellerbrock but dropped the following two sets to hand the visitor the title.
“The first set was a tense set and I managed to keep it solid and made sure I wrapped it up,” the SA number one said.
“In the following two sets, I struggled with my serve and made a lot of errors, but I created a lot of opportunities and I just missed out.
“I’m happy with the way I played, because there were chances that I should have converted. These are things I can go back and correct while practising, but overall I’m happy with my performance."
In the women’s doubles final, Ellerbrock and Lucy Shuker outclassed Charlotte Famin and Katherina Kruger 6-4 6-0 to clinch the title.