South Africa’s women made history by earning their first semi-final place at the International Tennis Federation World Team Cup wheelchair tennis event in Israel.
South Africa, winners of the World Team Cup African Qualification earlier this year, beat Russia, winner of the European qualification tournament, to finish top of Pool 4 in Ramat Hasharon.
They now face the ultimate test in the form of the Netherlands, the defending champions, top seeds and 30-time World Team Cup champions.
Critical to the team’s progress has been world number six Kgothatso Montjane, whose wheelchair tennis journey started when she was 19 and South Africa was one of the first nations to be supported by the ITF’s Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund – then called the ITF Silver Fund.
The victory over Russia began when Mariska Venter beat Ludmila Bubnova 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes in the first singles rubber.
Montjane took nine minutes less to defeat Viktoria Lvova by the same score, with South Africa’s three-player team ultimately taking an overall 2-1 win to conclude the round-robin phase.
The Netherlands completed Pool 1 with a 3-0 win over the United States after world number one Diede de Groot had withstood a strong challenge from Dana Mathewson to win 7-5, 6-3.
After defeating the Chinese team that won the 2017 World Team Cup title and reached the last three women’s finals, Britain’s women beat France 3-0 to top Pool 3.
They thus earned a semi-final against second seeds Japan, who beat Thailand 3-0 in the final tie in Pool 2 after Yui Kamiji had earned a 6-3, 6-2 win over former world number six Sakhorn Khanthasit.