15 May 2017

Kunieda to face Fernandez in Japan Open second round


News Article

Photo: Ando AkiraShingo Kunieda (JPN)

Eight-time champion Shingo Kunieda and 2012 champion Gustavo Fernandez will meet in an enticing men’s singles second round match at the Japan Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

Both players were among those in the bottom half of the draw to earn comfortable straight sets wins on Tuesday’s first day of play at the third Super Series event of 2017 in Iizuka.

Fernandez became the youngest player to win a men’s singles Super Series title in 2012 when he ended a sequence of six successive Japan Open titles for Kunieda. On that occasion the Argentinian, then aged 18, beat three of the world’s top four players.

The only player Fernandez did not beat in 2012 was Kunieda, and this week’s second round match will be the first time the two players have met in Iizuka after Kunieda’s 61 61 win over his compatriot Yoshinobu Fujimoto and Fernandez’s 60 61 win against Yoshikuni Shibayama on Tuesday.

With current world No.11 Kunieda returning to action last month with victory at the Kobe Open in his just his second tournament since the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the outcome of his next meeting with current world No. 4 and 2016 Japan Open semifinalist Fernandez has Top 10 implications for both players.

Elsewhere in Tuesday’s men’s matches Kunieda was joined in progressing to the second round by another former Japan Open champion in Satoshi Saida, as well as their countrymen Daisuke Arai and Takashi Sanada. World No. 2 Gordon Reid, Maikel Scheffers and Ha-Gel Lee also made comfortable early progress with Reid next set to face Saida and Scheffers and Lee also to meet for a place in the quarterfinals.

The remaining men’s singles first round matches will be played on Wednesday.

Alcott to play fellow Aussie Davidson in quad second round

The first day of play in the quad singles came to an end with all-Australian and all-American match-ups confirmed at the top and bottom of the draw.

Word No.1 Dylan Alcott will begin the defence of his Japan Open quad singles title against his Rio Paralympic doubles gold medal-winning partner Heath Davidson after Davidson, former Japan Open finalist Tzu-Hsuan Huang, Canada’s Mika Ishikawa and USA’s Steven Baxter all ended the hopes of Japanese opponents in the first round.

Huang had the toughest route to the last 16, further denting Japanese hopes as the Chinese Taipei player fought back to defeat Hiroshi Toma 46 61 63 to set up a contest against world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne

With all eight seeds in the quad singles among those to receive byes, world No. 2 Wagner plays fellow American Baxter for a quarterfinal berth, while former world No. 6 Shota Kawano is set to meet world No. 4 Lucas Sithole of South Africa.

Women’s main draw set after qualifying round

Eleven Japanese players will line up in the first round proper of the women’s singles after three players from the host nation made it through Tuesday’s qualification round.

Emi Suda and Kanae Kadano will play Thailand’s Chanungarn Techamaneewat and Japan’s Saki Takamuro respectively after 60 60 and 61 60 wins in their qualification matches against Chiharu Imaizumi and Chinese Taipei’s Hui-Yung Wu .

By comparison, Suda and Kadano’s countrywoman Naomi Ishimoto had a much tougher time before eventually beating Yumi Sugiyama76(4) 64. Ishimoto now lines again against USA’s Dana Mathewson. Meanwhile, Wanitha Inthanin earned a 62 61 win over fellow Thai player Sirimat Traiphueak to earn a first round against Japan’s Tomomi Miyama.



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