LIMPOPO – She reached her semi-final debut after sweeping aside world number six seed, Germany’s Katharina Kruger, in a stunning three-set thriller last Thursday.
The 32-year-old from Seshego in Limpopo sent Kruger crashing to her earliest loss at the All England Lawn Tennis Club with a memorable 6-3 2-6 6-1 triumph in just 80 minutes.
Montjane took the first set in comfortable fashion, winning 6-3 to put Kruger under immediate pressure. Despite losing the second set to Kruger, Montjane never panicked. She upped the pressure and handled
During the semi-final on Friday, 13 July, top seed and defending champion, Diede de Groot from the Netherlands, snuffed out any chance of the first South African wheelchair tennis player to reach the Wimbledon final as she claimed a two-set victory over Montjane.
Even though Montjane gave De Groot a fright, her Wimbledon debut ended in a 6-1 7-5 defeat.
“What a match! I wasn’t playing my best game in the first set due to nerves but I managed to find my rhythm in the second set. That was much better,” said Montjane.
“After losing the opening set 6-1 I knew I had to do something. I knew I had to start fighting. I gathered my momentum and fought for every point which saw me leading 5-4 in the second set but I could not capitalise on my opportunities to push the match to a decider. I will always cherish this moment. It was my first time on a grass court and my first semi-final in a grand slam tournament, so I am super proud and happy.”
De Groot led 5-0 in the opening set before the wildcard Montjane hit back, breaking the top seed as she served to bag her first game in the match to 5-1. However, De Groot steadied herself, using her big serve to great effect and overwhelmed the South African en route to an early lead.
Montjane may be ranked out of the top five in the world but she made the world number one De Groot work for every point in some lengthy, and at times spectacular, rallies in the second set.
She was awarded a wild card entry into the grass-court tournament to become the first African wheelchair tennis player to ever take part in the event.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) General Manager, Karen Losch, said: “We are proud of Montjane’s performance, her heart and her fighting spirit. She is a true champion and great ambassador for South Africa. Well done, you have made us all proud”.