7 June 2012
South African wheelchair tennis champion Lucas Sithole has added the Korea Open tennis title to his growing list of achievements. It’s a big boost for the world number 10 – now world number 8 – ahead of the Paralympics in London later this year.
After competing in the BNP Paribas 2012 World Team Cup that finished on 27 May it was a short rest for quads star Sithole as the Korean Open started at the Olympic Park Tennis Centre in Seoul just two days later, on 29 May.
He faced 34-year-old Frenchman Stephane Erismann in his first match of the tournament and rolled to a comfortable victory, winning 6-1, 6-0.
The win set up a meeting against top-seed Jamie Burdekin of Great Britain in the semi-finals. Earlier this year, Sithole had lost to Burdekin in the final of the Melbourne Open.
“Although I lost to Jamie earlier this year, I have beaten him twice in 2011 and knew I had to be focused and stick to my game plan if I was going to win the match,” Sithole said ahead of their showdown.
Producing an excellent performance, the South African star, who was ranked 10th in the world heading into the event, outplayed Burdekin 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the final, which was his fourth title-decider of 2012.
Facing Sithole for the title was Anders Hard of Sweden, a player he had beaten in their three previous meetings, including most recently in the Florida Open in April when Sithole prevailed 6-7, 6-1, 6-2.
This time around, Sithole was on top of his game and cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 victory to lift the Korea Open title.
The win has lifted Sithole to eighth in the world rankings, just eight points behind the man he beat in the Korea Open semi-finals, Jamie Burdekin.
Commenting on Sithole’s victory, Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s director and coach Holger Losch said in a statement: “Lucas always plays to win. We are proud of his determination, courage and performance. He has been working hard, and it is so good to see he is reaping the rewards.”
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