Photo: Steve Wake / Professional SportSatoshi Saida and Shingo Kunieda (JPN)
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: The second day’s schedule at the London 2012 Paralympic Tennis Event included the first of the doubles matches, as the men’s doubles second round line-up was completed and the two available places in the quad doubles semifinals were decided.
After winning gold and bronze in successive men’s doubles events in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, fifth seeds Shingo Kunieda and Satoshi Saida eased into the second round in London after beating Parapan American Games silver medallists Gustavo Fernandez and Agustin Ledesma of Argentina 63 61.
Sweden’s Stefan Olsson and Peter Vikstrom, who upset Kunieda and Saida in Beijing before going on to claim the silver medal four years ago, had one of the day’s most comfortable victories as they beat American’s Steve Baldwin and Noah Yablong 60 61.
“It was a good solid performance and nice for us to put in a good performance in front of our families,” said Olsson. “The conditions were perfect. There was no wind.”
Despite defeat, Yablong was upbeat afterwards, too. ”It was fun and a good learning experience in our first Games. We’re not used to playing against players of this calibre,” he said.
The first final set tiebreak of the London 2012 Paralympic Tennis Event came in a remarkable match between Brazil’s Mauricio Pomme and Carlos Santos and USA’s Jon Rydberg and Stephen Welch, as the Brazilian duo made a tremendous comeback after a one-sided first set in favour of the Parapan American Games gold medallists. However, Pomme and Santos dug deep to prevail 16 63 76(2) in the last match of the day on Centre Court as both American partnerships exited the men’s doubles.
“It was a nice match. I like doubles, I like to support my partner,” said Pomme. “I am very happy. Tomorrow is another match against the Dutch second seeds. Let’s play”
Santos said: “It was a tough match. At the start we were a little nervous, but at the end of the first set we spoke about never giving up and went on to win this match.”
However, there wasn’t as much success for the other Brazilian partnership as Korea Republic’s Ha-Gel-Lee and Sang-Ho Oh beat Rafael Medeiros and Daniel Rodrigues 64 76(3) in another close match.
There was a tremendous performance by Thailand’s Suthi Khlongrua and Suwithcai Merngprom, who beat Jaroszewski and Kruszelnicki 76(5) 26 62, while another match to go to a deciding set ended with Spain’s Daniel Caverzaschi and Franesc Tur beating Nigerian duo Alex Adewale and Yusuf Wasiu 61 46 64 after Adewale and Yusuf missed opportunities to go 5-4 ahead in the final set.
The very last match of the day to finish was on Court 3 as Austria’s Thomas Mossier and Martin Legner narrowly avoided being taken to a third set when they beat Chile’s Robinson Mendez and Diego Perez 63 75.
There was also plenty to lift the home crowds as both British partnerships, Marc McCarroll and Gordon Reid and Alex Jewitt and David Phillipson, eased into the second round in straight sets.
Quad doubles semifinalists decided
In the quad doubles Israel’s Noam Gershony and Shraga Weinberg and Japan’s Shota Kawano and Mitsuteru Moroishi put themselves in with a chance of a medal shot after winning their respective quarterfinals.
With the top two seeded partnerships having first round byes, Gershony and Weinberg beat Sweden’s Anders Hard and Marcus Jonsson 61 64 to earn a semifinal against USA’s two-time Paralympic champions and second seeds Nick Taylor and David Wagner.
Meanwhile, Kawano and Moroishi narrowly avoided being taken to a third set by Italy’s Marco Innocenti and Giuseppe Polidori and eventually wrapped up a 63 76(3) victory that earns them a semifinal on Monday against British top seeds Andy Lapthorne and Peter Norfolk.
The winners of both semifinals will go into Wednesday’s gold medal match, while the beaten semifinalists will contest the bronze medal match on the same day.
Follow the scores from the Paralympic Tennis Event on the Schedule page.