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Star-studded SA Wheelchair Open

South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane and Lucas Sithole together with other players will be in action.

WHEELCHAIR Tennis South Africa confirmed the entries for the 2017 SA Open tournament to be staged at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg from April 10 to 14.

World No. 1 and SA Open reigning champion, Stephane Houdet, from France, will defend his title against an all-star men’s line-up, including world No. 2 Gerard Joachim from Belgium and world No. 3 and reigning Paralympic Games Champion, Brit’s Gordon Reid.

The South African men’s field will be headed by world No. 14 Evans Maripa with world No. 38 Leon Els behind him as the country’s second hope.

“I am really looking forward to returning to South Africa again. It is always a buzz to return to a venue where you have won titles. I really enjoy the tournament in South Africa. The people are friendly and the weather is always welcoming,” said Houdet.

Heading up the women’s field will be 2016 Wimbledon champion and world No. 1 Jiske Griffioen, who will be back at the ‘old lady of tennis’, Ellis Park, to defend her title.

Behind Griffioen will be 20-year-old world No. 3 Diede De Groot, from the Netherlands, world No.4 Sabine Ellerbrock, from Germany, and world No. 5 and world No. 6 Aniek van Koot and Marjolein Buis, respectively, both from the Netherlands.

IN THE MIX: SA Open quads champion South Africa’s Lucas Sithole will alos be in action.
Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk

The top five aces will be the strongest opposition for South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane, who will run amok and stop any foreigners’ hopes of running away with the points during the event.

2015 SA Open quads champion, South Africa’s Lucas Sithole, will be hoping to retain his crown this year, after he lost the title to world No. 2 David Wagner, from America, last year.

Sithole will face strong opposition from his biggest rival, Wagner, who edged him out at the weekend at the Arizona Open in Tuscan, USA, to take the quads title.

The 30-year-old Sithole will also have to pit himself against world No .3 Andy Lapthorne, who is among the three top-ranked quads players set to contest this year’s tourney.

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