South African world number 8 wheelchair tennis ace and wildcard entry Kgothatso Montjane swept aside doubles partner Germany’s Katharina Kruger in a stunning three-set thriller on Thursday evening, to reach her first semi-final round at Wimbledon in London.
Montjane was awarded a wild card into the grass-court tournament to become the first African wheelchair tennis player to ever take part in the event.
The 32-year-old from Seshego in Limpopo sent the German world number 6 crashing to her earliest loss at The All England Lawn Tennis Club with a memorable 6-3 2-6 6-1 triumph in just 80 minutes.
Montjane took the first set in comfortable fashion, winning 6-3 to put the 28-year-old Kruger under immediate pressure. But the German came back strong to enjoy an early lead 3-1 in the second set and it looked as though Montjane was battling as she spent the set letting Kruger push her around the court.
Montjane then tried to stage a fight back to bring the score at 3-2 but Kruger responded in style to take the second set 6-2.
Despite losing the second set to Kruger, Montjane never panicked. She upped the pressure and handled the big points better to seal the third seed with a stunning 6-1 win to advance to the last four.
“I am very happy that I won today’s match against Katharina Kruger, it was a nerve-racking match and got me very shaky when I lost the second set,” said Montjane.
“After the second set loss, I managed to get my momentum back and dominated the set to finally close it 6-1. I am extremely excited about the way I am playing at the moment and I am just letting this sink in then will focus on the next match,” added Montjane.
The wild card entry and Wimbledon debutante Montjane faces world number 1 and reigning champion Diede de Groot from the Netherlands on Friday for a place in the final. De Groot edged out Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock in straight sets 6-4 6-3.
Montjane said the next match won’t be easy but she will just go into it to compete and give it her best, “The semi-final match against Diede de Groot won’t be easy, no match is ever easy here because it is the best in world competing.
“I will just go into the match to play my tennis and compete, it will be an interesting match playing the number 1 seed and I look forward to it,” added Montjane.
Picture credit: Reg Caldecott