Kgothatso Montjane. Picture: REG CALDECOTT/GALLO IMAGES
Kgothatso Montjane. Picture: REG CALDECOTT/GALLO IMAGES

Kgothatso Montjane may not have won the Wimbledon wheelchair singles final on Sunday but the Limpopo-born player’s star shone brightly as she battled top seed and world
No 1 Diede de Groot in the championship-deciding match.

It was the 35-year-old Montjane’s first appearance in a Grand Slam singles final.

She had South Africans on the edge of their seats as she went up against the Dutch star.

De Groot quickly raced into the lead and wrapped up the first set 6-2 inside 30 minutes.

The Dutch player did not let up in the second set and continued to exert her dominance‚ racing to a 3-0 lead in 12 minutes.

Montjane dug deep in the next game and eventually broke serve to end a run of nine games for De Groot. But the brave recovery was short-lived as the Dutchwoman eventually wrapped up the match to win 6-2 6-2.

The fifth-ranked Montjane reached the final after beating Japan’s Momoko Ohtani 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 on Friday to become the first SA black woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

It was the first time a South African has reached a Wimbledon singles final since Kevin Anderson’s loss to Novak Djokovic in 2018.

Montjane had the backing of the nation before the decider and even President Cyril Ramaphosa wished her well.

The Limpopo star also played in the Wimbledon ladies’ doubles wheelchair final with partner Lucy Shuker of England at the weekend.

They fell to Brit Jordanne Whiley and her Japanese partner Yui Kamiji in a 6-0 7-6(0) defeat.

Montjane aims to represent SA at the Paralympics in Tokyo, scheduled from August 24 to September 5.

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