Wednesday, 05 July 2017, Soweto, South Africa. – Home favourites Kgothatso Montjane, Lucas Sithole and Evans Maripa won their first Joburg Open singles titles at Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto on Wednesday.
South African world number 8 Montjane edged out second seed Nalani Buob from Switzerland in the women’s final, while two-time Grand Slam Champion Lucas Sithole and the country’s leading men’s player Evans Maripa eased by Danny Mohlamonyane and Japanese Yoshinobu Fujimoto respectively.
The 31-year-old Montjane dominated Buob from the start as the Swiss never managed to steady her erratic serve. Montjane ended the Swiss top ace’s hope of a fourth title in Jabavu in just less than an hour.
Montjane enjoyed a double triumph after she clinched the doubles title with Israel’s Veronica Zvik. The second seeds got the better of Mariska Venter and Nalani Boub from Switzerland, winning 4-6 6-1 [10-8].
The South African-Israeli pair recovered from a first set meltdown to claim the title in a hard-fought match.
In the men’s final, world number 12 Evans Maripa staged a finest performance of all, stunning second seed Japanese Fujimoto 6-3 6-2 to capture the men’s title at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 2 tournament.
In an electrifying final, the 26-year-old showed some of the fiery tennis that helped him dominate throughout the match. Maripa frequently encouraged the crowd to back him, lifting his arms and pumping his fist while staring into the stands.
“I played my best match of the week. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to stand here with the trophy,” said Maripa following his match.
“The best thing about playing a tournament at home is the great support and today I wanted to do it for them,” added Maripa.
Following his sterling performance in the singles final, Maripa joined forces with Fujimoto in the doubles competition. The pair defeated second seeds Alwande Skhosana and Leon Els 6-3 4-6 [10-8].
In the quads event, Lucas Sithole eased to his fifth title of 2017 with a comfortable win over compatriot Mohlamonyane in the quads final.
The world number 4 didn’t have to be at his best against the 34-year-old, who struggled to find any rhythm throughout.
The triple amputee from Kwazulu-Natal, 30, prevailed 6-1 6-2 in one hour and 5 minutes.
Picture credit: Reg Caldecott