Photo: Sergio Llamera/Anibal GrecoHa-Gel Lee (KOR)
Korea Republic’s Ha-Gel Lee secured the outstanding men’s singles result on the opening day of the Arizona Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, after defeating second seed Evans Maripa to reach the quarterfinals at the ITF 2 Series event in Tucson.
Anders Hard also advance to the quad singles quarterfinals at the expense of seeded opposition after defeating third seed Antony Cotterill.
In just this second tournament since being his country’s flagbearer at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, former world No. 11 Lee defeated Maripa 57 61 60 to book a last eight contest against American 16-year-old Comer Stroud.
On a day when USA’s BNP Paribas World Team Cup Americas Qualification team were back in action after finishing runner-up to Brazil in Ecuador last weekend, Stroud won his first round contest against his compatriot Hunter Groce 26 63 61.
Stroud’s World Team Cup team mates Chris Herman and Casey Ratzlaff had conflicting fortunes against Argentinian opposition, with Herman defeating Oscar Diaz 75 64, but Ratzlaff being edged out by Ezequiel Casco 61 46 75.
Casco goes on to play Spain’s Daniel Caverzaschi for a place in the semifinals and with few problems for the remaining seeds, Australian Ben Weekes faces Lee’s compatriot Sung-Bong Han and top seed Maikel Scheffers plays Herman in the other quarterfinals.
Hard proves to difficult for third seed Cotterill
With the top two seeds in the quad singles, David Wagner and Lucas Sithole, both having first round byes, third seed Antony Cotterill is already out of the event after the first day of play.
Anders Hard extended his winning head-to-head record against fellow former world No. 5 Cotterill to 8:1 as the Swede marked his 2017 seasonal debut in style with a 62 76(7) victory that sets him up for a quarterfinal against Canada’s Gary Luker.
Luker is one of two Canadians who will feature in the last eight after Rob Shaw’s 60 76(5) win over Rio Paralympic doubles gold medallist Heath Davidson. However, Shaw’s namesake James Shaw had opposing fortunes after bowing out to Guatemala’s Julio Rueda 64 64.
Shaw now plays fourth seed Greg Hasterok , who denied Mika Ishikawa the chance to set up an all-Canadian quarterfinal after being Ishikawa 63 63. Rueda plays Sithole for a place in the last four, while Cecil Easley set up an all-American quarterfinal against world No. 2 Wagner after beating Canada’s Mitch McIntyre 61 64.
Women’s seeds ease into last eight
Three games were the most that any of the women’s singles quarterfinalists dropped in their first round matches.
Aniek van Koot’s 61 62 win over USA’s Shelby Baron and Maria Moreno’s 62 61 win over USA’s Tara Llanes mean the Dutch top seed and Argentinian 27-year-old will meet for a place in the semifinals.
Third seed Katharina Kruger and fourth seed Kgothatso Montjane both registered 60 60 victories ahead of intriguing quarterfinals against American duo Dana Mathewson and Kaitlyn Verfuerth respectively. Meanwhile, second seed Lucy Shuker will take on Japan’s Manami Tanaka after defeating Tanaka’s countrywoman Saki Takamuro 60 62, with Tanaka only dropping one game in her opening contest of the tournament.