Montjane falls to Kamiji in US Open semis

Kgothatso Montjane (Reg Caldecott)
Kgothatso Montjane (Reg Caldecott)

New York - South African top wheelchair tennis ace Kgothatso Montjane saw her hopes of going at least a stage further in the US Open ended by defending champion Yui Kamiji at the USTA National Tennis Centre in New York on Saturday.

The world number 6 fell to Japanese world number 2 Kamiji 6-1 6-0 in 51 minutes in the semifinal round of the last Grand Slam tournament on the 2018 UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

Montjane, looking to reach her first final in Flushing Meadow, was out of sorts from the outset against the Japanese who played high balls on a windy afternoon in New York.

“It was tough out there and the windy conditions didn’t make it any easier,” said Montjane.

"All credits go to Yui Kamiji who was a better player today. There are a lot of lessons learnt from this match and I will go back home to work on a few things to better my game," said 32-year-old Montjane.

The Japanese former world number 1 Kamiji who was by far the more composed in the tricky windy conditions on Court 17, has now extended her winning streak against the Limpopo-born star to 19-4 in their head-to-head series.

Despite the loss, Montjane can be proud following her great performance on Friday dismantling world number 8 Lucy Shuker from Britain 6-4 6-4 to become the first South African wheelchair tennis player to reach the US Open Grand Slam semifinal since Lucas Sithole in 2013.

The 32-year-old has stepped up in the major tournaments by reaching at least semifinals in two of the four slams this year. She wrote her names in the history books in July this year becoming the first South African black woman to play at Wimbledon where she reached the last four stage.

On Friday evening, Montjane and her American partner Dana Mathewson lost to Dutch second seeds Marjolein Buis and Aniek van Koot in straight sets 1-6 1-6 in the doubles semifinal round.

Montjane returns home on Monday evening.

Participation in this tournament was made possible by a generous funding from Makole Group, South African 100% black owned infrastructure, property development and mining group.

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