London Paralympian tennis ace Evans Maripa ended a superb year on the court with a top drawer performance at the ACSA Eastern Cape Open in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
He beat second seeded Nyasha Mharakurwa 6-2 6-1 to claim his second title in so many months. The biggest upset, as well as excitement, came in the women’s draw second seeded Mabel Mankgele claimed the scalp of top seed Mariska Venter 5-7 6-4 6-3.
Maripa’s game has been on the rise this season and he convincingly confirmed his status as South Africa’s number one in fending off the experienced and wily Zimbabwean in Mharakurwa.┬á ÔÇ£Such performances are hard to come by and surely show how much work and talent Maripa possesses to take over the worldÔÇØ, commented coach, Kgotso Matshego.
Mankgele showed total domination in the opening set, taking a 5-2 lead and dropped a set point before Venter captured the set 7-5.┬áIt was however Mankgele who shook off the memories of the preceding set to claim the next two sets 6-4 6-3 to not only take the title but also avenger her previous defeat against Venter. The head to head score for these two in 2012 is 4-1.
Gift Lekhanyane cemented his junior division winning spree by picking up his sixth title of the year via a 6-1 6-2 scoreline over Thato Tsomole.┬áThe victory will see Lekhanyane move into the top five on the world junior rankings and bodes well for his upcoming appearance at the Tarbes Junior Masters in France early next year.
The ACSA Strand Open is a Future Level Event and seeks to give local players an opportunity to gain world ranking points and experience in their own backyard.┬á It also serves as a perfect environment to introduce new talent to international competitions, and provides them with valuable competitive experience. Participation in local and international tournaments such as these is made possible by the generous sponsorships offered by Airports Company South Africa, the official sponsor of the sport.