Photo: William A StewartTakuya Miki (JPN)
Japan’s Takuya Miki earned a place in his first Super Series men's singles semifinal on Sunday’s third day of the Apia Sydney International Open after he beat world No. 3 Joachim Gerard of Belgium at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre. Top seed Sabine Ellerbrock and third seed Jiske Griffioen also became the first Super Series women’s singles finalists of 2014 and the men’s and women’s doubles finalists were decided.
After reaching the first men’s singles final of 2014 at the Queensland Open, 24-year-old Miki made his debut inside the world’s top 10 earlier this week before winning the New Zealand Open en route to Sydney.
The eighth seed’s year got even better on Sunday when he secured a 64 64 win over third seed Gerard to edge ahead of Gerard 2-1 in career head-to-heads. Gerard had started his 2014 season with a hard-won three set victory over Miki’s countryman Takashi Sanada on Saturday.
“Two days and two bad matches. I've got two days now to train hard and be ready for the next tournament,” said Gerard, who reached his first NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters final in November to complete his best season to date.
The bottom half of the men’s draw continued to produce the biggest drama as second seed Stephane Houdet battled back from a set down to beat his fellow Frenchman and world No. 7 Michael Jeremiasz in a final set tiebreak. Houdet prevailed 36 63 76(4) to end Jeremiasz’s hopes of regaining the Sydney title he won in 2012. Houdet will now face Miki as he bids to improve on his semifinals berth last year.
In the top half of the men’s singles draw world No. 4 Gordon Reid came from 5-3 down in the second set of his quarterfinal against Argentina’s world No. 6 Gustavo Fernandez to secure a 61 76(2) win. The Briton will now play defending champion and world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda, who beat Dutch world No. 5 Maikel Scheffers 63 62 in a rematch of the 2012 Sydney final.
Griffioen avenges Masters loss to Kamiji. Burdekin wins again
World No. 4 Jiske Griffioen put her loss to Japan’s Yui Kamiji in November’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters final firmly behind her with an impressive straight sets win over the world No. 3 in their semifinal on Sunday.
Third seed Griffioen powered to a 62 60 win as she continued her Sydney International title defence. The Dutchwoman will now face Germany’s world No. 2 Sabine Ellerbrock in the title decider after top seed Ellerbrock held of South Africa’s world No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane 64 63.
It was a rest day for Australian Dylan Alcott in the quad singles after dropping just three games in his first two matches in the five-way round-robin event, but Britain’s Jamie Burdekin followed up his victory over world No. 2 Lucas Sithole with another three set win over fellow Brit Antony Cotterill. Burdekin beat Cotterill 36 61 64, while Sithole returned to winning ways with a 60 62 victory over Japan’s Takahiro Koga.
Doubles finalists decided
The top two seeded partnerships will meet in both the men’s and women’s doubles finals on Monday, when the first Super Series titles of 2014 will be decided.
Top seeds Houdet and Kunieda eased past third seeds Fernandez and Jeremiasz 60 62 in their men’s doubles semifinal. The will play second seeds Reid and Scheffers for the title after Reid and Scheffers defeated Japanese fourth seeds Satoshi Saida an Sanada 62 62.
ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters champions Kamiji and Jordanne Whiley repeated their win over Ellerbrock and Montjane in California in November to reach their second Super Series women’s doubles final together. Last June’s BNP Paribas Open de France champions and second seeds beat Ellerbrock and Montjane 64 63 and will now face top seeds Griffioen and Lucy Shuker in a contest that will have British players on both sides of the net.
Top seeds Griffioen and Shuker defeated Japan’s Miho Nijo and Korea Republic’s Ju-Yeon Park 62 63, thereby ending Nijo and Park’s unbeaten doubles record this season after they had won the first two women’s doubles titles of the season in Brisbane and Auckland.
The first mixed doubles event of 2014 at a Super Series tournament was won by Australians Jason Copp and Janel Manns, who were awarded a walkover in their scheduled final against Thailand’s Banjob Suwan and Ratana Techamaneewat, having earlier beaten the second seeds Richard Lee and Elizabeth Williams.