11 Jan 2014

Burdekin upsets Sithole in Sydney

Match Report

Photo: James Jordan PhotographyJamie Burdekin (GBR)

Britain’s Jamie Burdekin upset world No. 2 and US Open champion Lucas Sithole on the second day of robin-quad singles matches at the Apia Sydney International Open on Saturday.

Stephane Houdet and Joachim Gerard, two of the world’s top three ranked men’s players, were also taken to three sets in their opening singles matches of 2014 at the first Super Series event of the year at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. While all eight seeds went  on to reach the men’s quarterfinals, world No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane beat world No. 7 Jordanne Whiley in straight sets as the women’s singles semifinal line-up was also completed.

On a day with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees, current world No. 12 and former world No. 5 Burdekin put his opening round-robin loss to Australian Dylan Alcott firmly behind him as he battled to a 36 76(4) 76(5) victory over Sithole, the player who had edged past Burdekin in the semifinals of last July’s British Open Super Series.

Gerard and Houdet need three sets

Both three set matches in the men’s singles were in the bottom half of the draw as world No. 3 Gerard levelled his career head-to-head against Japan’s Takashi Sanada at a match apiece and Kellerman took his first set of tennis off Houdet in four matches.

Sanada had beaten Gerard in three sets at the 2012 Florida Open, but the Belgian’s career has since flourished and although the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters runner-up needed three sets in Sydney the third seed eventually secured a 62 26 63 win to earn a quarterfinal against Sanada’s fellow countryman and eighth see Takuya Miki.

Kellerman, winner of the Queensland Open, the first tournament of the current season, snatched a close opening set against 2012 ITF World Champion Houdet, but the second seed fought back for a 57 62 64 win that sets him up with a quarterfinal against his fellow Frenchman and seventh seed Michael Jeremiasz.

Jeremiasz, the 2012 Sydney International Open champion, joined defending champion and world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda  in posting one of two 60 60 wins in the second round of the men’s singles. Jeremiasz eased past Yoshinobu Fujimoto to leave Kunieda and Miki as the only two Japanese players left in contention for the title, while top seed Kunieda wasted little time in beating Australian Anderson Parker.

Kunieda will continue his title defence against Dutch fifth seed Maikel Scheffers, who began 2014 with a 61 61 win over South Africa’s Evans Maripa, the runner-up to Miki at the New Zealand Open earlier this week.  Fourth seed Gordon Reid beat Australian Ben Weekes 63 63 and the Brit will now face Argentinian sixth seed Gustavo Fernandez, whose seasonal debut also ended in victory over Australian opposition when he beat Keegan Oh-Chee 60 63.

Women’s seeds all reach semifinals

All four seeds are through to the women’s singles semifinals after second seed Yui Kamiji held off a strong challenge from Britain’s Lucy Shuker to set up a rematch of her historic NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters final in November against Jiske Griffioen.

The Japanese world No. 3 won the last three games of the opening set against Shuker and had the edge in the second set for a 75 64 victory, while thjrd seed Griffioen opened her Sydney Internaitonal title defence with a 60 62 win over Japan’s Miho Nijo.

With three of the women’s quarterfinals involving Japanese players, German’s world No. 2 and top seed Sabine Ellerbrock started her 2014 campaign with a 60 61 win over Kanako Domori, while fourth seed Montjane beat Whiley 63 62 to book her place in the last four against Ellerbrock.