Wheelchair Tennis Masters: Daily updates from Orlando
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Photo Credit: Shanaz Maharaj, USTA Florida
Alfie Hewett’s excellent week in Orlando ended with runners-up honours in the NEC Wheelchair Singles Master men’s final, while Jordanne Whiley’s equally impressive week ended on a winning note as she took home the bronze medal in the women’s singles. Another medal eluded Andy Lapthorne, who finished fourth in the quad singles.
World No.6 Hewett was unable to produce the kind of performance that brought his semi-final victory over world No.2 Shingo Kunieda and he lost out to defending champion Joachim Gerard of Belgium 6-3, 6-2 in his second Masters men’s singles final in three years. Hewett said:
“I wasn’t quite executing my shots this time and I struggled on my serve a little bit. Meanwhile he was coming up the court and was being quite aggressive and was the better player on the day, so he deserved to win. But I’m still happy with the week, in general. It will be nice to get bac home now and have a small amount of down time before I prep for Australia.”
World No.6 Whiley’s first Singles Masters since 2016 ended with her fourth victory in four matches against world No.4 Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands this season as the British No.1 powered to a 6-2, 6-2 win in the third and fourth place play-off, earning Whiley a bronze medal to go with the silver medal she won in the women’s doubles alongside fellow Brit Lucy Shuker.
“I’ve had an amazing week and I’m very pleased to come home with silver and bronze. And especially the singles after coming back this year. My aim was to make the semi-finals here and so I did that and then did one more. So yes, I’m really pleased with the week and it’s great to finish on a high with another win after bowing out in the semi-finals.”
Lapthorne completed the year-end championships with fourth place in the quad singles as a second bronze medal eluded him. After partnering Dutchman Sam Schroder to third place in the quad doubles, Lapthorne faced his doubles partner in the bronze medal play-off in the quad singles, with Schroder prevailing 6-3, 6-4.
Ahead of Alfie Hewett facing Joachim Gerard in men’s final at the NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters, the penultimate day of play in Orlando brought doubles silver medals for Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whley and a bronze medal for Andy Lapthorne.
Shuker and Whiley’s first UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters final together ended with them finishing runners-up to Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot. After a 6-1, 6-1 loss in the pool phase of the competition, Shuker and Whiley put up a markedly improved performance against this year’s calendar Grand Slam-winning partnership, with De Groot and Van Koot ultimately taking the title 6-2, 6-2.
Andy Lapthorne’s first ever tournament partnering Dutchman Sam Schroder ended on a winning note, Lapthorne and Schroder beating 11-time Doubles Masters champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner of the USA 6-1, 6-1.
Back the Brits!
Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett will contest his second NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters men’s singles final in a row on Tuesday after a tremendous fightback to beat world No.2 Shingo Kunieda of Japan 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday’s semi-finals at the International Tennis Federation’s year-end championships.
A fine tournament for players on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme also sees Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley through to Monday’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters final in Orlando.
Hewett became the youngest winner of the year-end men’s singles championship on home soil in Loughborough in 2017 before missing last year’s event in the wake of winning the first of his two US Open titles.
However, after beating two-time champion Stefan Olsson of Sweden 6-4, 6-2 in his must-win third and final round-robin pool match in Orlando, world No. 6 Hewett went on to level his career head-to-head against 22-time Grand Slam singles champion Kunieda at eight wins apiece.
Hewett, who will play defending champion Joachim Gerard of Belgium in Tuesday’s final in Orlando, said:
“Shingo came out and played some unbelievable tennis in that first set. He returned so strong and I couldn’t really get a look in on my service game and that was the difference, but I still felt like I was playing well, I just wasn’t taking my chances.
“I hoped his level would come down a peg or two and thankfully it happened. Once I noticed midway through the second set that his balls were coming short and he wasn’t so attacking, I knew that’s where I wanted the match to be and I stopped up a level after that.”
Hewett, whose only loss at the 2017 NEC Masters was to Kunieda in the round-robin phase of the competition, added: “To turn it around shows great mentality and courage not to give up. To be in the final is really pleasing, not just for myself, but for my team and everyone around me that’s supported me. It gives you good confidence going into Paralympic year in 2020.
“To get to final two times in a row is great. It’s going to be a tough match, but whatever happens I’m so proud of myself for coming through the group stage and for that performance today.”
Shuker and Whiley will play Dutch top seeds Diede De Groot and Aniek van Koot in Monday’s women’s doubles final after reaching the title decider at the year-end championships for the first time as a partnership.
Shuker said: “This week’s been really nice to be back on court with Jordy. We feel like a good, fresh doubles pairing since her comeback (from maternity leave). We’re trying some new things and if we can execute them well I think we can do some damage. It’s exciting to get through to the final and let’s see what we can do.”
Whiley put up a fine performance against world No.1 and defending champion De Groot in the women’s singles semi-finals and had a game point to go 5-2 up in the opening set. However, the Dutchwoman just had the edge to prevail 6-4, 7-5.
World No.6 Whiley said: “I didn’t have my A-game today and you have to have your A-game to beat Diede. I was physically a bit tired and I’ve been playing so well all week that I think it’s just taken it’s toll a bit, but it’s all to play for in the doubles final.”
Meanwhile, US Open champion Andy Lapthorne also missed out on a place in the quad singles final after a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 semi-final loss to world No.3 David Wagner of the USA.
Another tough day for the British contingent brought losses in quad singles for Andy Lapthorne and in men’s and women’s doubles for the combinations of Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley.
However, earlier wins for Lapthorne and for Shuker and Whiley mean that they still advance to the quad singles and women’s doubles semi-finals.
US Open champion and top seed Lapthorne slipped to a 6-4, 6-3 loss to British Open champion Niels Vink, which means that Lapthorne goes through to the quad singles semi-finals as runner-up in his pool. World No. 2 Lapthorne now meets world No. 3 David Wagner of the USA on Sunday for a place in Tuesday’s quad singles final.
Shuker and Whiley had a difficult time against calendar Grand Slam-winning partnership Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot, with the Dutch top seeds winning their final pool match 6-1, 6-1. However, like Lapthorne, Shuker and Whiley still advance to the last four courtesy of their opening victory of the week. The two-time Paralympic bronze medallists now meet Katharina Kruger of Germany and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Meanwhile, a place in the men’s doubles semi-finals escaped Hewett and Reid by the narrowest of margins. After winning their first two pool matches, Hewett and Reid lost out to Jef Vandorpe of Belgium and Ruben Spaargaren of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-1. But with three-teams ending the pool on two wins apiece, the margin of Vandorpe and Spaargaren’s win over Hewett and Reid was enough to ook them a place in the semi-finals at the expense of the Brits.
View the full draws via the ITF website.
Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid ended a tough day for the Brits with a determined performance to win their second men’s doubles round-robin pool match, but some fine efforts from Jordanne Whiley and Hewett and Reid in singles competition ended without success.
Second seeds Hewett and Reid beat Dutch duo Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to leave them unbeaten with two wins from two matches going into their final pool match against the Dutch/Belgian partnerships of Ruben Spaargaren and Jef Vanorpe.
Victory over Egberink and Scheffers came as a boost for Hewett and Reid, with 2017 NEC Masters champion Hewett having lost out to world No.1 Gustavo Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 and Reid having slipped to a narrow 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 defeat against Frenchman Nicolas Peifer earlier in the day.
Hewett and Reid now play Sweden’s Stefan Olsson and Belgium’s Joachum Gerard in must-win contests on Saturday is they are to advance to the semi-finals.
Whiley put up her best performance of the season against world No.2 Yui Kamiji, but having beaten world No.3 Aniek van Koot in her opening pool match, the world No.5 was unable to hold o to an early advantage and Kamiji claimed a 7-6(7), 6-4 win. The result leaves Whiley with a crucial must-win contest on Saturday against South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane.
Andy Lapthorne also faces a crucial last round-robin pool match on Saturday alongside quad doubles partner Sam Schroder. Having beaten the 11-time champions in their opening contest, Lapthorne and Schroder made a fine start to their second match against the Korean—Japanese partnership of Kyu-Seung Kim and Koji Sugeno but were unable to claim the second set tie-break and Kim and Sugeno went on to prevail 1-6 7-6(3) 6-3. With Lapthorne and Schroder needing to finish in the top two after the round-robin phase of the quad doubles, they now face Australia’s Heath Davidson and Niels Vink of the Netherlands.
Andy Lapthorne headlined four wins from four matches for the Brits on the second day of play in Orlando as the world No.2 began his quad singles and quad doubles campaigns with victories in both events.
Top seed Lapthorne had to dig deep to win his opening quad singles round-robin contest, eventually beating world No.4 Koji Sugeno of Japan 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. Lapthorne now plays British Open champion Niels Vnk of the Netherlands later in the week.
Later on Wednesday’s second day of competition Lapthorne and another Dutchman, Sam Schroder, made a spectacular winning start to their first-time doubles partnership. Lapthorne and Schroder beat 11-time Doubles Masters champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first of their three matches in the round-robin phase of the competition.
The first of two women’s doubles round-robin matches for Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley also brought another battling victory as the two-time Paralympic bronze medallists beat the French-Chinese partnership of Charlotte Famin and Zhenzhen Zhu 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.
However, there were no such concerns for men’s double second seeds Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid as the 2017 Doubls Masters champions produced a polished performance in beating Spanish duo Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin de la Puente 6-1, 6-2. Next up for Hewett and Reid on Wednesday’s third day of play are Dutch partnership Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers.
Alfie Hewett and Jordanne Whiley made it two wins from three round-robin matches for the Brits on the opening day of play in Orlando, with both Hewett and Whiley beating higher ranked opponents.
World No.6 Hewett made it six wins in his last eight matches against French world No.3 Stephane Houdet as the 2017 NEC Singles Masters champion opened his pool matches this year with a typically battling 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).
Hewett said: “It was tough in the conditions out there today. I’ve not played outdoors for a while now and we both took time to find our range, but for myself to keep digging in their and keep fighting was pleasing. Even in that first set I had game points to go 5-5 after being 5-1 down. The passion was there, the fight was there and I couldn’t be more proud, really.”
Whiley made it two wins from two matches this season against reigning Wimbledon champion Aniek van Koot as the world No.5 returned to the Masters for the first time since 2016 with a confident performance to win 6-4, 6-2.
Whiley said: “I’m really pleased. I’ve just come back from a six-week training block, so it’s nice to see that what I’ve been working in translating into matches, I feel like that’s the first time in a long time that I’ve actually managed to play the way I wanted to play. And Aniek is such a great player. Bolton gave me confidence, of course, but it was a long time ago now. I wonder if she didn’t know what to expect there, as I was making my comeback. But now she did know what to expect and I feel like I did really well today.”
However, it wasn’t to be for two-time Masters finalist Gordon Reid, whose opening pool match ended in a 6-4, 6-3 loss to wold No.2 Shino Kunieda of Japan.
With just three of the five Brits in action on the opening day of competition, all five will be in action on Wednesday’s second day of play as the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters gets underway and Andy Lapthorne plays his first quad singles round-robin match against Japan’s Koji Sugeno.
NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters
Brits Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid have been drawn in separate pools for the round-robin phase of the Singles Masters, with 2017 champion and reigning US Open champion Hewett set to play former champions Stephane Houdet of France and Stefan Olsson of Sweden and world No.1 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina in Pool A. Houdet will be Hewett’s first opponent on Tuesday.
Twice a runner-up in the Singles Masters, Reid will play three-time champions Shingo Kunieda of Japan and Joachim Gerard of Belgium in his round-robin pool, as well as Frenchman Nicolas Peifer.
Jordanne Whiley’s first Singles Masters since 2016 will begin with a round-robin pool contest against Wimbledon champion Aniek van Koot, the Dutchwoman Whiley almost defeated in the 2014 semi-finals. World No. 5 Whiley will then play former Singles Masters champion Yui Kamiji of Japan and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane.
Top seed for the quad singles, Andy Lapthorne will open his bid for a first Singles Masters title against either young Dutchman Niels Vink or Japan’s Koji Sugeno. World No. 2 Lapthorne will then play either Vink or Sugeno in his second match in his three-player pool.
All four Brits will be looking to finish in the top two in their respective round-robin pools to earn the chance to advance to the semi-finals.
UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters
Three-time US Open and Wimbledon champions Hewett and Reid are second seeds for the men’s doubles this year. Their pool includes Dutch duo Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers, Spanish combination Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin de la Puente and the Dutch-Belgian partnership of Ruben Spargaren and Jef Vandorpe.
Meanwhile, two-time Paralympic bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Whiley are drawn in a three-way round-robin group alongside Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot and Charlotte Famin of France and her partner Zhezhen Zhu of China.
Both Hewett and Reid and Shuker and Whiley need top-two finishes in their round-robin pools if they are to advance to the semi-finals.
The quad doubles will see Lapthorne partner Sam Schroder of the Netherlands for the first time in competition. With matches to come against 11-time Doubles Masters champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner of the USA, Australian Heath Davidson and his partner Vink and the Japanese-Korean partnership of Koji Sugeno and Kyu-Seung Kim, Lapthorne and Schroder will aim to finish in the top two to earn a place in the quad doubles final.
View the full draws via the ITF website.