Team SA results at World Team Cup
The South African wheelchair tennis teams put up a strong fight in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, which ended on Sunday in Portugal. The quad team, made up of Donald Ramphadi, Lucas Sithole, and Danny Mohlamonyane, who won silver at the 2022 ITF’s flagship wheelchair tennis event, narrowly missed out on a spot in the semifinals after losing 2-0 to the United States in their last round-robin match in Group A. In the 5th to 6th playoffs, the team lost 2-1 to Brazil, resulting in a 6th place finish out of the 8 participating teams.
During the match against the United States, Lucas Sithole played first against Leandro Pena but lost 6-2, 6-1. However, Donald Ramphadi kept South Africa’s hopes alive by defeating Ymanitu Silva 6-3, 6-3 to even the score. In the doubles match, Ramphadi and Sithole were unable to overcome Silva and Leandro Pena, which led to the South African quad team finishing in 6th place overall.
In the men’s event, the team consisting of Alwande Sikhosana, Leon Els, and Mpho Mhlongo aimed to finish in the top 10 but narrowly missed out on a spot in the semifinals after losing 2-1 to Spain in their final group match. In the 11th to 12th playoffs, the team defeated Malaysia to secure 11th place.
In the first singles match, Leon Els fought hard against Mohamad Yusshazwan Bin Yusuf but lost in three sets, 6-3, 2-6, 11-9. In the second singles match, South Africa's top-ranked player, Alwande Sikhosana, won the first set 6-1 against Abu Samah Borhan, who later retired due to injury, handing Sikhosana the win. Sikhosana and Mhlongo were also awarded the doubles victory after the Malaysian pair of Bin Yusuf and Borhan retired.
Despite not achieving the results they had hoped for, Team Coach Patrick Selepe reflected on the team's performance, saying that both teams played with heart and determination. "I'm happy with the way the players performed. Although we obtained 6th place for the quads, which was not the position we were aiming for, we are satisfied with their performance."
"In the men's tournament, we missed the World Group position by a narrow margin, and as a result, we now have to qualify because we came 11th in the overall standings. It's not the ideal outcome, but the players played very well. We need to go back to the drawing board and work on our strategies as we still have next year to come back stronger, and it's a year for the Paralympics," added Selepe.
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