South African No1 wheelchair tennis quad ace Lucas Sithole claimed third spot behind world No2 Britain’s Andy Lapthorne at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters at Loughborough University in England on Saturday.
In his opening match, Sithole faced a tough challenge from American world No1 David Wagner. The American, who clinched his tenth NEC Masters title on Sunday when the season-ending elite tournament reached a stunning climax in England defeated Sithole 6-4 6-1.
The South African then went head-to-head against Ymanitu Silva from Brazil in Friday’s pool final which saw Sithole secure a semi-final spot following an incredible 6-4 6-4 victory.
In the semi-final battle, the 27-year-old Andy Lapthorne defeated Sithole in a hard-fought battle that saw the Brit eventually take a 7-5 7-5 triumph against the world No4.
The Kwazulu-Natal player made quick work of demolishing Australian world No5 Heath Davidson in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to secure the third position.
‘These weren’t the results I had hoped for, but I played my best and hope for a better finish in 2018. Both David and Andy are good players and it’s never an easy battle against them,’ said Sithole.
‘I learnt a lot again this year, gained more experience and will return home to continue working hard,’ added Sithole.
Sithole finished in second place in 2015 after losing to defending champion David Wagner in the finals in London.
In the women’s event, world No8 Kgothatso Montjane put her 3-6 6-7 (8) loss to Marjolein Buis from the Netherlands in her opening match firmly behind her as she produced a masterclass performance in demolishing Britain’s Lucy Shuker 6-1 6-2 in her second round-robin match.
The 31-year-old from Limpopo then took on Wimbledon champion and world No2 Diede de Groot from the Netherlands in the third round-robin contest which she lost 5-7 1-6 to finish in sixth position.