Global wheelchair tennis stars gear up for SA series


JOHANNESBURG: Lucas Sithole in action against David Wagner (USA) in the quads semifinals during the ACSA SA Wheelchair Tennis Open at Ellis Park.

JOHANNESBURG - Top international wheelchair tennis stars have confirmed their entries for next month&39;s South Africa series to be played in Benoni and Johannesburg, organisers announced on Wednesday.

Women&39;s singles world No 1 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and quads world No 1 American David Wagner are among the world&39;s top 10 ranked players who have entered the series representing 17 countries.

The series kicks off with the Gauteng Open at Benoni Lake from April 23 to 27. All eyes will then shift to the South African Open at Ellis Park, from April 20 to May 3, with each tournament hosting a men&39;s, women&39;s, quads and juniors&39; event.

Other names included in the men&39;s line-up are world number two Stephane Houdet of France, world No 3 Gordon Reid of Great Britain and South Africa&39;s top ranked men&39;s player, Evan Maripa, who will be the country&39;s best hope in the men&39;s singles.

In the women&39;s events, world champion Ellerbrock, who won the Australian Open in January, will be challenged strongly by world Nos 4 and 5 Aniek van Koot and Marjolein Buis, both of the Netherlands.

Van Koot, last year&39;s world No 1, is the defending US Open champion having beaten Ellerbrock in the final. Buis is the defending SA Open champion.

KG Montjane, who is ranked No 7 in the world, will carry the flag for South Africa in the women&39;s event.

South African quad star Lucas Sithole, ranked No 2 in the world, will be Wagner&39;s biggest competition in the quads event.

Wagner, who won the Australian Open earlier this year over Sithole, lost to the South African in the final of last year&39;s US Open.

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