Highs and Lows for South Africa’s Wheelchair Tennis Men's Team

29 Apr 2011 By IPC

South Africa's men's Wheelchair Tennis side made history by reaching the semifinals at the 2011 International Tennis Federation World Team Cup in Pretoria, South Africa.

Sixth-seeded South Africa, playing in the Men's World Group 2 section, achieved the milestone in style with a 2-1 win over third seeds Canada thanks to a brilliant effort by their doubles pairing Evans Maripa and Sydwell Mathonsi who posted a thrilling 5-7, 6-3, 10-2 win over Philippe Bedard and Corey Blatchford. Earlier, South Africa and Canada had each won a singles match, which set up the doubles clash as the rubber-decider.

Mathonsi could not hide his elation after the historic doubles win, which meant that country had reached the semifinals for the first time since their debut nine years ago. "That wasn't the best of matches in terms of entertainment but we ultimately won the match and that was great for Team South Africa," said Mathonsi. "It will boost the confidence in the team ahead of our semifinal match against Japan.

However, South Africa still appeared to be up in the Pretoria clouds when they rolled onto to court for the semifinal against Japan. In the opening singles clash, Japan's Takashi Sanada blew away Evans Maripa, 6-1, 6-2, while Mathonsi, in the after-glow of his doubles win against Canada, found the going uphill against the 7-5, 6-1 winner Satoshi Saida, which saw the Japanese leap ahead, 2-0.

South Africa's Kgothatso Montjane continues to make a name for herself in the world of Wheelchair Tennis and by defeating Chile's Mantonieta Ortiz 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 in a Women's World Group clash. With this victory she made significant moves to a top 10 world ranking.

U.S. Men's World Group 2 campaigners Jon Rydberg and Steve Welch overwhelmed Chile with a dashing display for a 3-0 rubber margin at the 27th ITF World Team Cup in Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday.

On the adjacent courts, the US powerhouse quad twin spearhead of Nick Taylor and David Wagner secured North American bragging rights by taking Canada's best to the cleaners for a 3-0 whitewash.

Taylor disposed of Adrian Dielemang 6-1, 6-0 and Wagner rolled over Hunter with a 6-1, 6-2 scoreline. There was misery in store for the Canadians in the doubles as the Taylor/Wagner duo finally sent them packing 6-0, 6-1 in under an hour.

With this win the top-seeded U.S. secured a final berth against perennial rivals, Great Britain, the second seeds.