The South African women’s wheelchair tennis team have made history in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, after reaching the semi-finals of the World Team Cup for the first time.
They beat Russia, winner of this year’s European Qualification, to finish top of Pool 4.
Mariska Venter, who combines her wheelchair tennis career with a modelling career, beat Ludmila Bubnova 7-5, 6-4. World No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane then defeated Viktoria Lvova by the same score to round-off South Africa’s victory.
“Looking at the imbalance, (in ranking positions) between myself and Mariska, I think it’s just a really great team effort to get to the semis here. It makes me look forward to future World Team Cups. Most definitely it’s a big one for us and we’re just excited about it,” said Montjane.
South Africa’s semi-finals opponent will be reigning champions Netherlands, who completed Pool 1 with a 3-0 win over USA after world No. 1 Diede de Groot withstood a strong challenge from Dana Mathewson to win 7-5 6-3.
Great Britain beat France 3-0 to top Pool 3 and earned a semi-final berth against second seed Japan, who achieved a 3-0 win over Thailand in Pool 2.
South Africa also advance in the quad
With a 2-1 victory over Canada in Pool 2, the African team qualified for the semi-finals in the quad event, joining hosts Israel, Japan and Great Britain.
Defending champions into semis
France beat Spain 2-1 thanks to singles victories from Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer to finish top of Pool 2 and qualify for the semi-finals.
Their next opponents will be Argentina, who led by world No. 2 Gustavo Fernandez struggled to defeat a strong Dutch team 2-1 in an exciting doubles rubber 4-6, 6-4, 10-4 to win Pool 3.
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda and No. 9 Takashi Sanada helped Japan reach the semi-finals without losing a single match following a 3-0 win over Austria.
Now they will face a tough challenge from the British team headlined by Paralympic medallists Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett, who beat Belgium 2-1.
Full results are available online.