BRAVE RAMPHADI FALLS SHORT IN SARDINIA OPEN FINAL
South African rising wheelchair tennis quad player Donald Ramphadi fell at the final hurdle to top seed Andy Lapthorne of Britain on Saturday after delivering a couple of gutsy performances to reach the title decider at the Sardinia Open in Alghero, Italy.
The 25-year-old Ramphadi could not put up a fight in the early stage of the match losing the opening set 2-6 but gathered his momentum to produce a challenge in the second set. But the British word number 3 Lapthorne simply had too much class in the deciding set to record a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory to lift the title.
“I wanted to win the tournament like any other player, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy at all especially going up against some of the experienced players on tour like Andy Lapthorne. Although I couldn’t win the title, I am very happy I managed to get to this stage,” said Ramphadi.
Earlier in the week, the big-serving unseeded Ramphadi who hails from Tzaneen in Limpopo had eased past fourth seed and world number 15 James Shaw from Britain in a captivating two-set quarter-final and upset second seed and world number 4 Sugeno Koji of Japan in straight sets 6-4 6-1 in the last four.
Ramphadi admitted he had a good week and already looks forward to next week’s French Riviera Open, an ITF level 2 tournament to be staged in Biot - Sophia-Antipolis, France from September 25-29.
“This week was definitely a highlight of my career, I played some great tennis here and these great performances has boosted my confidence big time ahead of next week’s tournament in France.
Later on Saturday, Ramphadi and partner two-time grand slam champion Lucas Sithole were denied the doubles crown by British top seeds Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotteril with a thrilling 6-4 2-6 10-5 in the quad’s doubles final.