Cape Town - South African wheelchair tennis rising star Mariska Venter defeated top-seeded Rebecka Bellander from Sweden 6-1 6-3 to claim the Lithuania Open title in the women’s singles in Vilnius, Lithuania on Sunday.
The 21-year-old former junior world number one Venter stunned the Swede in the round of 16 in the North West Challenge in Britain last year and her latest triumph has given her a 2-0 head-to-head lead against the world number 38 Bellander.
"I feel so great coming back from tour. I'm very excited to have won my first title for the season but moreover I feel proud of my performance, which has geared up," Venter said.
"My team at High Performance Centre (HPC) and coach Gerald Stoffberg have been hard at work for the past few months and it’s all paying off."
Since joining forces in 2015 with Stoffberg, Venter has found a higher gear – or, rather, found a way to build up a higher gear.
The world number 49 Venter showed spirited fight earlier in April during the SA Open at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium when she pushed world number 10 compatriot Kgothatso 'KG' Montjane all the way in the first set of the second round, which eventually went to a tie-breaker. The experienced Montjane however held her nerve to win the match.
Prior to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures Tournament, Venter participated in the Megafon Dreamcup in Russia also an ITF Futures event and reached the women’s singles semi-final and doubles runners-up with partner Polina Shakirova (RUS).