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Sithole through to Aussie Open final

Lucas Sithole is the second South African to reach a final at the 2014 Australian Open.

South African quadriplegic tennis star Lucas Sithole. Picture: Facebook.com.

JOHANNESBURG - Lucas Sithole is through to the Australian Open quad wheelchair singles final following a 2-6, 6-2, 8-6 victory over Dylan Alcott in his final round-robin match.

Sithole saved five match points in the final set to advance to his second successive major final.

Speaking on his victory, Sithole says the key to staging a comeback win in the final game was about taking it one ball at a time.

"I didn't really think of anything, I just told myself that I had to hit each and every ball. I had to get each and every ball where I wanted it to go on the court, so that I could put pressure on my opponent."

Australian Alcott understandably received vociferous support from the home crowd, which Sithole used to his advantage in the match.

"All the people that were supporting my opponent, I used their support as energy from outside coming to me. I used it in a positive way so I could play my best game."

Sithole will play David Wagner in the final, a rematch of their US Open final which Sithole won.

Despite his recent success over Wagner, Sithole says history will count for nothing when they face each other on Saturday.

"I can't say that just because I beat him last time means I am going to beat him tomorrow. I will have to work hard. It's not going to be easy. I will play my best. I will go all out for my country because I know they are behind me, and I will have to concentrate on my game."

Sithole is one of two South Africans who will be in final action on Saturday, with Raven Klaasen involved in doubles action with his American partner.

Sithole believes that victory is possible for both players as the whole country is behind them.

"I'm very glad for Raven Klaasen that he's going to the finals. Hopefully he wins it, because it will give me confidence going into the finals."

Sithole, who lost both his legs and part of his right arm in a train accident in 1998 at the age of 12, offered his comments on people who see him as a role model after his achievements.

"I just hope that people are inspired by the positive things I do, and don't look at the negatives. I'm also a human, I can make mistakes. I can't say I'm perfect, because there's no one that's perfect.

"Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka are my role models. The way they play is amazing, and the way they move around the court gives me a real boost. They use one bounce, and in wheelchair tennis we're allowed to use a second bounce. But I try to use the first bounce to take time away from my opponent."

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