Sithole slips up in French Open semi-final


South African wheelchair tennis quad ace Lucas Sithole is out of the French Open, following a straight-sets defeat by American world number two David Wagner in Friday’s semi-final round.
The third seed fought, but struggled throughout against the powerful-hitting American top seed, 6-0 6-4 in Paris.
Wagner took charge in the opening set and made it a quick and clean work to win the set. In the second set the world No 4, Sithole, seemed to have gained his momentum, which saw the match swing one way, then the other and finally back again.
The 30-year-old fought back to level the score in the sixth game at 3-3 and looked like he would run with it, but the 2014 French Open champion retaliated and won the next three games, to clinch the match in 68 minutes.
‘I struggled a bit with my focus and energy in the beginning of the match,’ commented Sithole. ‘I had to get my focus back in the second set, I started playing well, but I made too many errors and handed Wagner an opportunity to win games,’ added Sithole.
‘I am very disappointed with my performance as this was far from the best I can give, but I will return home to work on the basics,’ added Sithole.
Sithole’s coach, Holger Losch, said: ‘Lucas battled to get his energy and fighting spirit going and made a lot of unforced errors in the first set and a half. The last few games were much better and it looked like he nearly managed to turn the match over, but he had left it a bit too late’.
This is the third time the Kwazulu-Natal player has lost in the semi-final round of the French Open and the second time falling to the American world number two.
Sithole and doubles partner Sam Schroder from the Netherlands lost their doubles semi-final match on Thursday to the American duo of Wagner and Bryan Barten 6-1 6-1.
Picture of Sithole courtesy of Reg Caldecott