Lucas Sithole Wins Korea Open

South Africa’s Lucas Sithole, the world number quad player, claimed his third Korea Open title, an ITF 1 Series tournament on Saturday with a 6-2 6-1 clean sweep against fourth-seeded Great Britain’s Anthony Cotterill.  After a successful prestigious BNP Paribas World Team in Turkey, it was a short rest for the country’s champion.  Sithole started off well with a strong performance eliminating Kyu-Seung Kim 6-0 6-3 in the opening round.

It was a mentally strong Sithole who destroyed Anders Hard in straight sets 6-1 6-0 to make his way to the semi-final round.  The 28-year old Kwa-Zulu Natal ace was made to work hard for his games yesterday to dispatch Japan’s Shota Kawano in straight sets 6-4 6-2.  Sithole says:  ‘I came to Seoul to win and the only way I could achieve that was to stay focused and stick to my game plan.  I am very delighted for my third title here in Korea.’

An unstoppable Sithole was in devastating form in the finals defeating Cotterill 6-2 6-1 to lift the 2015 Korea Open quads singles title.  In the women’s tournament, the country’s top player Kgothatso ‘KG’ Montjane withdrew before her final match on Saturday morning with a severe throat infection.  Montjane was to play top-seeded Lucy Shuker of Great Britain. Despite the illness, Montjane fought hard to book a spot in the final round against Francisca Mardones of Chile and prevailed with 3-6 6-2 6-1.

South African top mens player Evans Maripa crashed out in the quarter-final round.  The 25-year-old Maripa, seeded third in the tournament pressed and fought but ultimately failed to escape the Korea Open quarter-final round against seventh seed Ben Weekes.  Weekes eliminated Maripa in three sets 3-6 7-6 6-1 to book a place in the semi-final round.

The players will now get rested before the start of the Daegu Open, another ITF 1 series event from 9-13 June in Daegu, Korea Republic.  Wheelchair Tennis South Africa Director and performance coach Holger Losch says:  ‘Our players have been working very hard, and it is so good to see them reaping the rewards.  We are thrilled to see Lucas Sithole claiming another title.  It was unfortunate that KG Montjane couldn’t play due to illness, but despite that she performed extremely well.  Participation in local and international tournaments is made possible by a munificent support by Airports Company South Africa, the official sponsor of the sport.’

Photo by Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images