South African rising star Kholo Montsi on Thursday cruised into the African Junior Championships final, thrashing Toky Ranaivo of Madagascar 6-3, 6-4 at the TuksTennis, University of Pretoria.
The third seeded Ranaivo fought bravely, but Montsi kept up the pressure with deep shots and quick footwork to fend off any threat.
"I am very happy. This has been a wonderful week for me," said Montsi. "Last year I made the singles semi-finals in Morocco and unfortunately I couldn’t play doubles final due to health issues but to come back and make finals in both singles and doubles, it’s a great feeling."
In the final, the South African top seed will face his Australian Open doubles partner Eliakim Coulibaly of Ivory Coast, who flew past Tunisia’s Wissam Abderrahman 6-0 6-2.
Coulibaly, seeded no.2, produced a scintillating display of attacking tennis to beat the Tunisian to secure a place in the final.
Asked about his opponent in the final, Montsi said, “I look forward to the final with Eliakim (Coulibaly) tomorrow. We have always had fun and tough matches at the same time. We ae probably the only ones that haven’t had enough time to train here as we didn’t play the ITF Grade 3 tournament last week. So, we have both been struggling a lot, we have been talking to each other and laughing. We also had a training session together and it was great.
“From playing at the Australian Open together and both ranked in the top 20 globally, it’s really a motivation for me. I cannot wait for tomorrow’s final, I hope we will be able to give the people what they want,” added Montsi.
Montsi later on joined forces with coutryman Carl Roothman to seal their place in the doubles final after eliminating Van Schalkwyk brothers Codie and Connor from Namibia 6-3 7-6(4).
Devin Badenhorst and Mikaeel Woodman were the second doubles team to advance to the final to set-up an all-South African clash in the boys doubles. Badenhorst and Mikaeel edged out Moroccan second seeds Aissa and Mehdi Benchakroun 6-4 2-6 11-9 to secure their spot.
In the girl’s event, the Algerian seventh seed Ines Bekrak caused the biggest upset of the tournament edging out top seed Yasmine Kabbaj of Morocco in straight sets 6-2 6-3.
Bekrak will square off against unseeded Yasmin Ezzat of Egypt on Friday in the girl’s final to determine who takes the crown home.
Ezzat eliminated compatriot Hania Abouelsaad in a tightly fought match, prevailing 7-6(6) 6-1 to book a spot in the final.
1-Kholo Montsi (RSA) bt 3-Toky Ranaivo (MAD) 6-3 6-4
2-Eliakim Coulibaly (CIV) bt Wissam Abderrahman (TUN) 6-0 6-2
7-Ines Bekrar (ALG) bt 1-Yasmine Kabbay (MAR) 6-2 6-3
Yasmin Ezzat (EGY) bt Hania Abouelsaad (EGY) 7-6(6) 6-1
1-Kholo Montsi / Carl Roothman (RSA) bt Codie Van Schalkwyk / Connor Van Schalkwyk (NAM) 6-3 7-6(4)
Devin Badenhorst / Mikaeel Woodman (RSA) bt 2-Aissa Benchakroun / Mehdi Benchakroun (MAR) 6-4 2-6 11-9
1-Sara Akid / Yasmine Kabbaj (MAR) bt Delien Kleinhans / Isabella Weatherhead (RSA) 7-6(6) 6-4
2-Lemongo Toumbou (CMR) / Barakat Quadre (NGR) bt 3-Maria Charl (EGY) / Angella Okutoyi (KEN) 4-6 6-1 10-5