Khololwam Montsi, 17, defeated French wildcard Axel Garcian, 18, in their first-round French Open Juniors clash. Picture: Barco Greef/Tennis SA
Khololwam Montsi, 17, defeated French wildcard Axel Garcian, 18, in their first-round French Open Juniors clash. Picture: Barco Greef/Tennis SA

Starlet Khololwam Montsi left to fly SA flag at French Open

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Oct 5, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Now that South Africa’s high-flyers Kevin Anderson, Lloyd Harris and Raven Klaasen have all ended up on the also-rans 2020 French Open scrapheap, it has been left to teen sensation Khololwam Montsi to keep the flag flying at Roland Garros.

Yesterday the 17-year-old Cape Town-based Montsi did so in style as he defeated French wildcard Axel Garcian, 18, in their first-round French Open Juniors clash on Court 13.

Garcian is ranked 68th in junior world tennis.

The 13th-ranked Montsi imposed himself spectacularly on the contest from the outset and ran up a 4-0 lead against the local boy in no time.

Clay has always been the South African’s favourite surface and in no time he struck up cohesion as he took the Frenchman apart.

Montsi was held up briefly after dropping serve in the sixth game (4-2) but thereafter he broke back before closing out for a 6-2 first-set win.

Garcian offered far more resistance in the second set and even managed to break serve in the third game (1-2).

However, that was the last of his heroics because Montsi won the next five games on the trot to wrap up the match 6-2, 6-2.

Montsi will now play unseeded Briton Felix Gill in the second round.

Gill, ranked 38th, defeated Italy’s Leonardo Malgaroli, also unseeded and 58th in the world, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in yesterday’s first-round clash.

South Africa’s wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane is returning to competition after a seven-month lay-off.

The world No will play in the French Open after spending a few days in quarantine in Paris.

Her first-round match is on Wednesday.

“I’m still anxious about Covid-19, so I will just need to make sure that I stay safe. I’m very happy with all the protocols in place,” said the 34-year-old Montjane.

@Herman_Gibbs

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