23 April 2014
South African players received a favorable draw when the official draw procedures for the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open were concluded on Tuesday at the Gauteng East Tennis Complex in Benoni.
Stephane Houdet of France tops the men’s seeds and is scheduled to meet arch rival Gordon Reid of Great Britain in the final. Houdet will open his challenge against Similo Basi of South Africa, while Reid plays another local, Frank Ramokoatsi.
With South Africa’s top men’s player Evans Maripa having withdrawn from the tournament due to the sudden death of his mother, South African hopes in the men’s singles will rest on Leon Els and Patrick Selepe, while another 13 players have also made it into the 32-strong draw.
South Africa’s top woman KG Montjane has been seeded second for the event and if all goes according to plan will meet top seed Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany in the final. However, before Montjane can claim her spot in the title decider on Saturday, she has a possible semi-final clash with third seed Lucy Shuker of Great Britain, who is ranked eighth in the world, one place behind Montjane.
The South African star, who is the defending champion, said in a statement that the next two weeks were very important.
‘A bag full of points to defend’
“I won this tournament last year, so I have a bag full of points to defend. I feel prepared and ready for the week and I am confident of doing myself and my country proud,” she reckoned.
Second seed Lucas Sithole will play compatriot Steven Kekae in the first round of the quads draw. Sithole is set to meet fourth seed Sarah Hunter of Great Britain in the semi-finals.
Top seed in the quads and world number one, David Wagner of the USA, meets Swede Petter Edstrom in round one.
Should Wagner and Sithole make the final, it promises to be a blockbuster. Sithole beat Wagner to capture his first Grand Slam title at the US Open late last year, but Wagner subsequently beat Sithole in the final of this year’s Australian Open in January.
Play in the Acsa Gauteng Open starts at 9am on Wednesday at the Guateng East Tennis Complex. The finals takes place on Saturday, starting from 9am.