File photo: Marcel Oosterwijk, Flickr.com

Brisbane - Kgothatso Montjane and Evans Maripa, South African wheelchair tennis players, started the year on a high note at the weekend when they both clinched the men's and women's titles respectively at the Queensland Open, in Brisbane, Australia.

The tournament was characterised by extreme heat forcing it to run late into the night at times.

Maripa overcame extreme humidity and heat to bag a first career win over Takashi Sanada, Japan's world Number 8. It was an outstanding duel in which Maripa collapsed to a 1-6 loss in the first set.

The South African, however, strung a few games together in the second set to survive Sanada's grunt in the third set before fending off the challenge from the Japanese seasoned player.

The match ended 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in favour of Maripa and handed the 24-year-old a second victory over a top ten player. This will take him to a new career high ranking of 13th in the world.

Montjane ensured a brace of victories for South Africa in the women's section with less drama.

The singles finals saw the first set being decided on a tie-break against Lucy Shuker of Great Britain (world no 10).

Montjane's confidence soared to new levels in the second set as she rallied her way to the singles title with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2

victory that moved her to a number 8 world ranking.

After their duel Montjane and Shuker ousted Charlotte Famin of France and Katharina Kruger of Germany 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the women's doubles.

Montjane and Maripa will be hoping to continue their winning streak at the next stop of the tour in Sydney, Australia for a Super Series event.

The event, the Sydney Open Wheelchair Tennis Open will take place from 13-17 January.

Sapa