Klaasen and Montjane keep SA flag flying at Wimbledon

10 July 2019 - 11:05 By Craig Ray
World No 5 Kgothatso Montjane reached the semifinals in two of the four Slams this year.
World No 5 Kgothatso Montjane reached the semifinals in two of the four Slams this year.
Image: Takeo Tanuma

South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and New Zealand partner Michael Venus are set for a Wimbledon men’s doubles quarterfinal showdown on Court No 3 on Thursday.

But Klaasen won’t be the only South African in action at SW19 as SA ladies wheelchair champion Kgothatso Montjane starts her campaign today on Thursday.

She has been drawn to meet German world number 6 Sabine Ellerbrock in the opening round.

Klaasen and Venus‚ the No 3 seeds‚ have made serene progress to the last eight where they meet No 8 seeds‚ Australia’s Jonathan Peers and Finland’s Henri Kontinen.

The 36-year-old Klaasen is in search of an elusive first Grand Slam title having lost the Wimbledon final in 2018.

If Venus and Klaasen progress today‚ they will face Colombian No 2 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the semi-finals.

Klaasen and Venus set up the quarterfinal showdown after beating Frederik Nielsen (Denmark) and Robin Haase from Netherlands in straight sets‚ winning 6-2 6-3 7-6 (0) on Monday.

The duo were clinical against Nielsen and Haase (seeded in the 16th place) despite the final set going to a tiebreak.

Klaasen and Venus have seen off Australians‚ Lleyton Hewitt and Jordan Thompson‚ the British pair of Luke Bambridge and Johnny O’Mara in the previous two rounds.

Montjane will be looking to better her chances against Ellerbrock‚ having won only seven of their 23 prior meetings on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

The last time Montjane played Ellerbrock was in the 2017 Bath Indoor Tournament semi-final‚ which the German won in two sets.

Although Ellerbrock has won more often against Montjane‚ the two are used to pushing each other to the limit.

They clashed in a few captivating matches including 2017 SA Open and Swiss Open.

Montjane and Ellerbrock will also partner in doubles competition and will kick off their campaign against second seeds Marjolein Buis (Netherlands) and Giulia Capocci (Italy).

The 33-year-old Montjane will make her second appearance in the grass-court event after reaching the semi-final round at the 2018 event and becoming the first black South African woman to do so.