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Early exit for Maripa at SA Open

South Africa's top men's singles player Evans Maripa was knocked out of the wheelchair tennis South Africa Open in the first round after losing to Gordon Reid (GBR) in straight sets, on Tuesday in Johannesburg.

Maripa, who is was still mourning his late mother who was buried at the weekend, bowed out against the tournament’s number two seed 6-1, 6-3, on a day where top seeds dominated play at the Ellis Park Tennis complex.

“It was tough and I didn’t expect to play that way. He (Gordon Reid) is a good guy, a good player and tough opponent,” Maripa said after the match.

“I was not happy with the way I played. Personally it’s not a good feeling for me, I lost my mom a week ago so I haven’t trained very well and I actually did not get time to train. For sure next time I’ll do better.

“My second set was a bit better, I was building my confidence a little bit there and it was getting better and better but I just couldn’t stick with it for a long time. Somehow I lost my mind and started thinking of private things and then it changed the whole match and I lost.”

Maripa, who is ranked 15th in the world, enjoyed a relatively good 2013 season where he won the men’s singles title and the men’s doubles title with partner Daniel Caverzaschi (ESP) at the Ath Open in Belgium. He also reached the semi-final in the men’s singles at the Australian Open and finished as runner up in the men’s singles at the Daegu Open in Korea in June.

After Tuesday’s early exit, the 23-year-old said he was confident the rest of the year would go better for him.

“I’m confident that I can break into the top ten this year. It will all come from the hard work that I’ll put in during my training and from taking care of my health.”

Seven other seeded players were in action and all prevailed against their opponents.

Winner of the Gauteng Open and number one seed, Stephane Houdet (FRA) carried over his fine form, from last week’s tournament and cruised to the next round of the SA Open after beating fellow countryman David Dalmasso 6-1, 6-0.

Houdet said he was happy with his victory in Johannesburg, but was challenged by the altitude, which made things a bit tough for him on the court.

“It was really tough out there today, I didn’t expect the balls to fly that much.

“It was so hard to control the ball, for both of us out there, but I managed to keep it going and I was happy to win today.

Japan’s Takuya Miki, who is seeded number three in the tournament, outclassedfellow countryman Yoshinobu 6-3, 6-3 to reach the next round of the Open.

Fourth seed Frederic Cattaneo (FRA) gave a stellar performance on court two, dropping only two games in his match against South Africa’™s Frank Ramokoatsi to win 6-1, 6-1.


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