Photo: Philippe BuissinDavid Wagner (USA)
World No. 1 David Wagner of USA and world No. 4 Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain will contest Saturday’s quad singles final at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in Mechelen, Belgium after both players won their third and final round-robin group matches on the third day of play at Heiveld Tennis Centre.
Meanwhile, defending champion Stephane Houdet of France, Maikel Scheffers of the Netherlands, Shingo Kunieda of Japan and Stefan Olsson of Sweden will contest the men’ singles semifinals and second seed Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany will join Dutch trio Marjolein Buis, Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot in the women’s singles semifinals.
Wagner and Lapthorne to contest quad singles final
Four time NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Wagner will bid to repeat his victory over 2011 runner-up Lapthorne in the group phase of this week’s tournament after completing a 60 67(6) 61 victory over Swedish world No. 8 Anders Hard.
Wagner made a dominant start, but Hard dug deep to come from 2-0 down in the second set to lead 3-2 and then 5-3 before the American had a match point in the tiebreak. Hard claimed the last three points of the tiebreak, but his only game in the third set was the third as Wagner closed out victory,
Meanwhile, Lapthorne came from 3-1 down in both of his sets against American world No. 5 Nick Taylor to prevail 63 63 and Lapthorne goes into the final having only lost to Wagner on Thursday’s day of play. However, the Briton beat Wagner en route to the 2011 final and a fascinating final could be in store this year.
Olsson joins world’s top three in men’s semifinals
World No. 7 Olsson kept up his fine record at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters as the Swedish two-time champion beat world No. 5 Michael Jeremiasz of France in straight sets in his final men’s Pool 1 match to reach the last four.
Olsson dropped just the first and fourth games of his opening set against Jeremiasz and although Jeremiasz came back from 3-0 down to level the second set at 4-4 Olsson held on to wrap up a 62 75 victory.
Olsson will play world No. 3 Kunieda in the semifinals after Kunieda recorded a 60 60 victory over Argentina’s world No. 6 Gustavo Fernandez in an hour and two minutes to finish undefeated at the top of Pool 2 after the round-robin phase of the competition.
Going into his final Pool 2 match against Britain’s world No. 10 Gordon Reid, world No. 2 Scheffers needed a set to secure his place in the semifinals, but having lost to Reid twice last season Scheffers once again found himself trailing as Reid took the last three games of the opening set. However, Scheffers got the set he needed as he comfortably levelled the match and secured a decisive break to move 5-3 ahead in the final set en route to completing a 46 62 64 victory.
With Scheffers finishing runner-up to Kunieda in Pool 2, the semifinals will see the world’s top two ranked players go head-to-head as the Dutchman takes on world No. 1 and defending champion Stephane Houdet of France.
Houdet topped Pool 1 after beating Dutch world No. 4 Ronald Vink in two close sets. Houdet gained an early break, but from 4-1 down Vink broke back to level the first set at 4-4 before the French top seed took the last two games of the set.
Vink again displayed great resilience in the second set as he came from 3-1 down to lead 4-2, but Houdet put together a sequence of three games to wrap up his 64 75 victory.
Buis edges into women’s semifinals
World No. 4 Buis lost her and final Pool 2 match of the women’s singles, but gained her place in the semifinals on her ratio of sets won to sets lost over the course of the three days of the round-robin phase of the competition.
Buis yielded just the opening game of the first set of her match against world No. 7 Lucy Shuker of Great Britain, but Shuker built on a 3-0 second set lead to force the decider as she sought her first win of the week. In the final set Buis won the first two games, but Shuker fought back to have two match points at 5-3 up and although she was unable to convert either of them the Briton eventually secured a 16 63 64 victory.
In the other Pool 2 match world No.3 Ellerbrock dropped just the fourth game of the first set against Belgium’s world No. 9 Annick Sevenans and led the second set 4-1 en route to seal a comprehensive 61 63 victory to finish top of the pool. Sevenans ended her three round-robin matches level with Shuker on three sets won and five sets loss, but both players’ records were bettered by Buis.
World No. 5 Griffioen finished top of Pool 1 as the four top seeds filled the semifinal spots. Griffioen looked to be on course for a comfortable win over her fellow Dutchwoman and world No. 8 Sharon Walraven when she led Walraven by a set and 5-2, but Walraven fought valiantly to win the last five games of the second set. Walraven then maintained a slender advantage for much of the deciding set, but ultimately secured the last two games of the match to prevail 60 57 64.
Second place in Pool 1 went to last year’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters runner-up Aniek van Koot after the world No. 2 eased past world No. 10 Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa. Montjane won just the opening game of the first set against van Koot and despite making a good start and securing a break at the beginning of the second set she was unable to sustain her challenge, with van Koot eventually winning 61 63.
Van Koot will face Ellerbrock in the semifinals as the top two seeds go head-to-head, while Buis will play Griffioen in the other all-Dutch semifinal.