Ramphadi upsets Wagner at Melbourne

South African wheelchair tennis player, Donald Ramphadi, produced a stunning victory to upset David Wagner and storm into the semi-finals of the Melbourne Open, an ITF Super Series event in Melbourne. The unseeded Limpopo-born star, ranked 18th globally, defeated the American number four seed and former world number one Wagner, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the last four stage.

It was Ramphadi’s third win over Wagner in their career head-to-head. The 28-year-old South African won all three of their meetings, upsetting the American in the 2021 BNP Paribas World Team Cup and last week’s Victorian Open consolation event.

“I am excited that I won today, obviously, because I was playing one of the best players, a former world number one who has won several Grand Slam titles,” said Ramphadi.

“He (David Wagner) is an experienced player and has been in the game for a long time. So going into the match I knew it was not going to be easy, so I told myself I should stay focused and play it point by point and not worry about what he has achieved or how experienced he is. I went into the match with a winning mentality, and I am very excited with the victory today.”

Ramphadi played Ducth second seed, Niels Vink, in the semi-final. The Melbourne Open was the last warm-up event ahead of the wheelchair tennis Australian Open Grand Slam that kicked off on January 23.

Asked about his preparations for his Grand Slam debut in Melbourne, Ramphadi stated that he is ready to make his mark on the world’s biggest stage.

“My approach to the Grand Slam is going to be the same as the first two tournaments, I left home to go out there and compete. So, I am going into the Grand Slam with a positive mind and will just go on court and do what I do best, it doesn’t matter who I play, I will give it my utmost best. I am physically fit, and I feel ready to compete at the Grand Slam level,” he concluded.

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