28 Aug 2013

Kawano boosts early Japanese success in St. Louis

Match Report

Photo: Tommy Hindley / Professional SportShota Kawano (JPN)

Former world No. 9 Shota Kawano reached the quad singles quarterfinals on a good first day for Japanese players at the US Open USTA Championships, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, as the first two current top 10 players made their exits from the final Super Series event of 2013.

Playing in only his second individual tournament of the year after winning the quad consolation singles at the Japan Open, Kawano, whose ranking has dropped to just outside the world’s top 60 during his period of relative inactivity this year, defeat current world No.  8 Antony Cotterill 62 61 as the Briton struggled to find his best form.

Kawano will play world No. 1 and defending champion David Wagner on Wednesday’s second day of play, when Wagner, who had a fist round bye, will hope to reach this year’s semifinals 18 years to the day since the accident off the coast of Redondo, California that resulted in him breaking his neck.

David Buck reached the quarterfinals for the second successive year after beating fellow American David Jordan 76(5) 62 and Buck will go on to face world No. 2 Andy Lapthorne, who defeated Francois Trawalter 61 63 in his first competitive match since early May. Lapthorne will be the only quarterfinalist in the bottom half of the quad singles draw not to hail from USA.

The highest ranked player to go out of the tournament on the first day was world No. 6 Greg Hasterok. With the world’s top four quad singles players all progressing, world No. 4 Nick Taylor produced a dominant performance to sweep past Hasterok 62 60 and goes on to play Bryan Barten, who won the only three set match of the day. Barten eventually secured a hard-won 63 36 64 victory over Canada’s Gary Luker.

Canadian fortunes improves in the top half of the draw as Adrian Dieleman advanced with a 60 60 win over American Pani Herath. Dieleman’s quarterfinal opponent, world No. 3 Lucas Sithole, opened his bid for a second successive Super Series title with another dominant performance as the British Open champion eased past USA’s Steve Baxter.

Miki and Bedard come through men’s first round

Takuya Miki was one of three Japanese players to advance through the five scheduled first round matches in the men’s singles as the line-up for the last 16 was completed.

With just two world ranking places separating Miki and Australia’s Ben Weekes heading in to this week’s tournament, world No. 13 Miki won the important points to beat world No. 15 Weekes 64 63 and set up a second round match against world No. 6 Gordon Reid. Satoshi Saida also beat Yoann Quilliou of France 61 62 to set up an all-Japanese contest with world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda and Yoshinobu Fujimoto had a walkover ahead of playing French world No. 7 Michael Jeremiasz.

Canada’s Philippe Bedard found himself in a tough opening contest against USA’s Antony Lara, with Bedard finally progressing 75 64 to become the first opponent for Argentina’s world No. 5 Gustavo Fernandez.

Meanwhile, Alex Adewale became the first Nigeria player to reach the second round of a men’s singles event at a Super Series tournament. Adewale defeated Brazil’s Pedro Rocha to earn a second round match against world No. 4 Joachim Gerard as Belgium’s British Open champion prepares to open his bid for a second successive Super Series title.

Intriguing women’s singles quarterfinals in store

With the top three seeded players in the women’s singles all having first round byes, the  five first round matches ended with one 60 60 win and four matches in which the winners dropped just one game.

The quarterfinal line-up consists of eight world top 10 ranked players, Japan’s world No. 5 Yui Kamiji easing past USA’s Marianne Page without dropping a game on the first day to book to her place in the last eight against her doubles partner and world No. 1 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany.

World No. 4 Marjolein Buis and South Africa’s world No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane both secured 60 61 wins over Chile’s Francisca Mardones and USA’s Jessica Sporte respectively and will now go head-to-head for a place in the semifinals.     

The other two players to progress were both British as world No. 7 Lucy Shuker set up a quarterfinal against world No. 2 Aniek van Koot after defeating Colombia’s Johana Martinez 60 61. With three of the four seeded players in the women’s singles being Dutch, world No. 8 Jordanne Whiley will play world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen for a semifinal berth after Whiley opened her account with a 61 60 win over American Elizabeth Williams.