Photo: William A StewartTakuya Miki (JPN)
Japan’s Takuya Miki and Great Britain’s Gordon Reid are set to meet for the second time this week after the Sydney International Open finalists comfortably won their opening men’s singles matches at the Melbourne Open on Thursday.
On a day when play ended early due the extreme heat currently being experienced in Melbourne, all the schedule singles first round matches were completed, with Sydney champion and third seed Reid opening his bid to reach his second successive Melbourne Open final by defeating Yoshinobu Fujimoto 62 61.
Miki beat Australian Adam Kellerman 63 62, avenging his loss to Kellerman in the final of the Queensland Open, the first tournament of the season. Miki will now bid to reverse his Sydney final loss to Reid.
Elsewhere, the much-anticipated first round match between world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda and world No. 6 Gustavo Fernandez ended with the Japanese top seeds beating his Argentinian opponent 63 63. Kunieda will face South Africa’s Evans Maripa for a place in the last four after Maripa secured the only 60 60 win of the day in the men’s singles when defeating Australia’s Henry de Cure.
Keegan-Oh Chee takes Australian hopes into the men’s quarterfinals after coming through his all-Australian first round contest against Stephan Rochecouste 62 61. Oh-Chee will now face Dutch fourth seed Maikel Scheffers after the world No. 5 beat Australia’s Ben Weeks 62 63.
Meanwhile, world No. 3 Joachim Gerard had to play his first round match in the tennis wheelchair belonging to German’s women’s singles top seed Sabine Ellerbrock, but the unfamiliar chair had little adverse effect on the Belgian second seed, who eased past Britain’s Tony Knappett 61 60. Gerard is still waiting to discover his quarterfinal opponent, with Daniel O’Neill still to play Japan’s Takashi Sanada after qualifying for the main draw with a 63 63 win over fellow Australian Richard Lee.
Women’s quarterfinalists decided
Four of the five first round matches in the women’s singles were won by top 10 ranked players as Dutch world No. 5 Marjolein Buis marked her seasonal debut with a 62 61 victory over Japan’s Kanako Domori. Fourth seed Buis plays Britain’s world No. 8 Lucy Shuker for a place in the semifinals after Shuker recorded one of three 61 61 wins in the women’s first round.
Shuker beat Thailand’s Ratana Techamaneewat, while fellow Brit Jordanne Whiley earned a comfortable win over Australia’s Janel Manns and Elizabeth Williams dropped just one game in either set of her first round match against fellow American Veronica Grove.
World No. 8 Whiley will face third seed and defending champion Jiske Griffioen in the last eight, while Williams meets Japan’s world No. 3 and second seed Yui Kamiji.
World No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane emulated fellow South African Maripa as she also secured a 60 60 win over Australia’s Sarah Calati to book a quarterfinal against world No. 2 Ellerbrock, one of three players to have first round byes.
Burdekin and Sithole set for rematch
The quad singles will have to highly intriguing semifinals after Jamie Burdekin and Dylan Alcott both won their opening matches with consummate ease. Burdekin overcame Australia’s John Savinov 60 60 and will now bid to repeat his win over South Africa’s world No. 2 Lucas Sithole in their round-robin singles match at the Sydney International.
While Sithole had a bye, so did world No. 3 and second seed Andy Lapthorne. The Brit will open his Melbourne Open title defence against Alcott, the runner-up in Sydney, after Alcott’s second win in a week over Britain’s world No. 7 Antony Cotterill. Alcott won their Melbourne first round 61 60.