15 June 2012
After recording an emotional victory in the Korea Open at the beginning of June, South African quads wheelchair tennis star Lucas Sithole continued his good form with a runner-up finish at the Daegu Open this past weekend.
Sithole, who is preparing for the Paralympics for the first time, cruised through his quarter-finals clash against Korean Young-Mok Yu, winning 6-0, 6-0.
In the semi-finals, he faced Frenchman Stephane Erismann and came close to repeating his whitewash victory of the previous round, running out a 6-1, 6-0 winner. It was the same result he had achieved against Erismann in the Korea Open.
That victory booked him a place against the top seed, Sweden’s Anders Hard, in the final. The two had previously met in the final of the Korea Open, with Sithole claiming a 6-4, 6-3 win.
This time around, however, Hard exacted a measure of revenge by outlasting the South African star 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.
It was, nonetheless, another successful tournament for Sithole, who has risen to seventh in the world rankings.
‘We are so proud of Lucas’
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s director and coach Holger Losch commented in a statement: “We are so proud of Lucas and his achievements, and look forward to watching this inspirational athlete at the Paralympics.”
In the men’s division, Evans Maripa, currently ranked 31st in the world, defeated world number 32 Lahcen Majdi of France 7-6, 6-2 in his first match.
He next faced world number 11 Takashi Sanada, whose experience proved the difference, as the Japanese player recorded a 6-2, 6-2 win.
World number 40 Sydwell Mathonsi scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over Israel’s Gamini Dissanayake in his opening match.
He was beaten 7-6, 6-4 by David Dalmasso of France, ranked 14 places above him, in his second match.
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