04 Aug 2012

Sithole and Gerard star in Salzburg

Match Report

Photo: Reg CaldecottLucas Sithole (RSA)

Lucas Sithole of South Africa won his second ITF 1 Series quad singles title of 2012 on the penultimate day of the Salzburg Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, while Joachim Gerard of Belgium reached his first ITF 1 Series men's singles final and 2011 runner-up Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany reached the women’s singles final again, this time against Australia’s Daniela di Toro.

Top seed and world No. 8 Sithole followed up his Korea Open victory earlier in the year by winning the quad singles final in Salzburg against Italy’s Giuseppe Polidori 62 60. Sithole ended the tournament having only lost six games – just two games apiece in each of his three matches.

However, Polidori reversed the tables in the quad doubles final as he partnered his compatriot Antonio Raffaele to justify their top seeding as they eased past Sithole and Britain’s Adam Field 63 62.

Gerard upsets Vink to reach men’s final

World No. 11 Gerard secured his first win over world No. 4 and defending champion Ronald Vink of the Netherlands in their six head-to-heads to date on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour to reach Sunday’s men’s singles final. It will be Gerard’s second Salzburg Open final after he lost the first final to Austria’s home favourite Martin Legner, who Vink beat in the quarterfinals this year.  

After splitting the first two sets with Vink, Gerard clinched the first four games of the deciding set before finally wrapping up a 63 26 61 victory that he described as mentally very difficult, despite being very happy with his game.

Meanwhile, Vink admitted to being mentally and physically tired and will now focus on his preparations for the London 2012 Paralympics.

While Vink’s loss ended the prospect of a repeat of the 2011 all-Dutch final against Robin Ammerlaan, Ammerlaan also missed out on a place in this year’s final after a dramatic semifinal against French second seed Nicolas Peifer.

Ammerlaan and Peifer, both former champions in Salzburg, went to a third set after Peifer got the better of the first, while Ammerlaan’s slice proved a big weapon in helping him to take second set.

As a tense deciding set headed into a tiebreak Ammerlaan was unable to take advantage of a total of four match points and in the end Peifer converted his second match point to seal a remarkable 63 57 76(8) victory and his fourth win over Ammerlaan their last five matches.

“I know how to play against Robin and hence I could make the important points”, said Peifer after the match.”

Ammerlaan, who was not still satisfied with his match, said, “Unfortunately, I smashed my last two match balls out, as I tried to apply more pressure, but it didn’t work!”

One of the most fascinating matches of the day saw top seeds Ammerlaan and Vink come from behind in another third set to win the men’s doubles final. Gerard and Peifer looked the stronger as they took a 4:1 third set lead, but Ammerlaan and Vink finally prevailed 64 57 64.

Ellerbrock to face di Toro

Sunday’s women’s singles final will see world No. 4 Ellerbrock bid to win her second ITF 1 Series title in successive weeks after success last weekend at the Belgian Open.

Ellerbrock had a tough semifinal against Belgian third seed Annick Sevenans, but won the points that mattered to edge to a 75 63 victory – her fourth over Sevenans in nine matches.

Ellerbrock will face world No. 6 di Toro in the final after the Australian former world No. 1 eased past unseeded American Emmy Kaiser 62 60 in her semifinal,

The women’s singles final will see Ellerbrock and di Toro on opposite sides of the net for the second day in succession after Ellerbrock partnered her fellow German Katharina Kruger to win Saturday’s women’s doubles title after they beat the Australian duo of di Toro and Janel Manns 60 64.

Salzburg Tappe Open Latest Results

Order of Play - Sunday, 5 August 2012