04 May 2012

Hard upsets Lapthorne at Eton Manor

Match Report

Photo: Tommy HindleyAnders Hard (SWE)

Sweden’s Anders Hard produced the biggest upset so far at the Eton Manor Wheelchair Tennis International, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour and the ‘London Prepares’ series, when he beat world No. 4 and second seed Andrew Lapthorne 36 64 61.

Meanwhile, the first tite at Eton Manor was decided in the women's doubles on the second day of the test event for the London 2012 Paralympic Tennis Event in Olympic Park.

Lapthorne took the first set of his quad singes semifnal against Hard after establishing an immediate 3-0 lead and maintained his advantage before caming from a break down to take a 4-2 lead in a second set of fluctuating fortunes.  However, Hard won seven successive games as he levelled the match and took a 3-0 lead in the decider before Lapthorne went for a toilet break. When Lapthorne returned to court Hard increased his lead to 4-0 and although the Briton clawed back on game Hard kept his composure to earn his place in Saturday’s final against tops seed Peter Norfolk.

 “I’m really happy as it’s the first time I’ve beaten Andy in a main draw,” said Hard. “I didn’t start well, but when I got into it I felt I could control the points. I served well today, too, and that was key. It’s a great feeling and couldn’t be better preparation for the Games in September.

“I didn’t let the toilet break disturb me. I’m used to it by now and just tried to keep warm. It was cold and I wanted to get on with it,” added Hard, who will now play world No. 2 and top seed Peter Norfolk in Saturday's final after the two-time Paralympic champion easeed to a 60 61 victory over his fellow Briton Jamie Burdekin.

There will be another British-Swedish contest in the quad doubles final after Hard and Marcus Jonsson came through their semifinal without dropping a game to earn the right to play top seeds Lapthorne and Norfolk. 

Vergeer to play Whiley in women's singles final; Shuker and Whiley win doubles

Dutch world No. 1 Esther Vergeer will play second seed Jordanne Whiley in the women’s singles final.

Vergeer eased through her first match on Centre Court 62 60 at Eton Manor, where she will hope to achieve even greater feats later in the year.

After a first round bye Vergeer dropped the opening game of her match against Britain’s Lucy Shuker, but took a 3-1 lead before Shuker had three successive break points on the Dutch top seed’s serve in the sixth game. However, Vergeer got herself back in the game with the aid of some crisp forehand winners and went on to complete a sequence of three games in a row for the second time in the match to take the first set as Shuker mishit a backhand.

The opening games of the second set were all closely contested, but Vergeer continued to get the better of the important points and wrapped up victory with a short cross court forehand winner on her first match point after 54 minutes.

“The courts are really big and you have to be careful not to get caught behind the baseline, but you get a fair bounce and there’s not a lot of resistance when moving the chair.” said Vergeer, who tok her winning stream to 453 matches. “It’s like New York (US Open) – hard and fast. No match is normal and it gives me confidence that I’ve won so much, but there’s a lot of expectation and that makes pressure. Lucy is a good player. You always have to be alert.”

Whiley dropped just the third game of the first set in her semifinal against fellow Briton and Athens 2004 Paralympic quarterfinalist Kay Forshaw, while Forshaw gained her one and only service break in the third game of the second set, which proved to be the last game she won as Whiley sealed a 61 62 victory after 51 minutes.

The first title to be settled at the new Eton Manor venue went to top seeds Shuker and Whiley, who beat fellow Britons Val Fisher and Forshaw 61 61. Shuker and Whiley dropped just the second game in the first set and the third game in the second set en route to wrapping up victory in just 49 minutes.

“It’s quite exciting to win the first gold medals presented here and to know that you’ll go down in history,” said Shuker.  "It's invaluable to get the experience of playing on Centre Court before the Games."

Seeds reach men's singles semifinals

All four seeds progressed through the men’s singles quarterfinals with ease. Top seed and world No. 7 Robin Ammerlaan beat Britain’s Jamie Robinson 61 61 to set up a semifinal against fourth seed Marc McCarroll. McCarroll wasted little time in eliminating any hope of an all-Dutch semifinal when he beat Rody de Bie 62 61.

The other semifinal will be an all-British concern, between second seed Gordon Reid and third seed David Phillipson. Reid dropped just the fourth game of the second set as he beat Alex Jewitt 60 61. Meanwhile, Phillipson won another all-British quarterfinal against Kevin Simpson 61 62.

Second seeds Ammerlaan and Simpson had to work hard to make it into the men's doubles final, but eventually drew clear against another Dutch-British partnership to beat youg duo of Rody de Bie and Alfie Hewett 76(4) 63. Ammerlaan and Simpson will play British top seeds McCarroll and Reid in the final.