Photo: Steve WylieMaikel Scheffers (NED)
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda and world No. 5 Maikel Scheffers each moved into their first men’s singles final of 2014 on the penultimate day of the Melbourne Open as Lucy Shuker and Yui Kamiji booked their places in the women’s singles final and Lucas Sithole and Andy Lapthorne reached the quad singles final as Dylan Alcott and Sithole claimed the quad doubles title.
Fourth seed Scheffers upset the seedings as the Dutchman edged to a 62 46 64 win over world No. 3 and second seed Joachim Gerard of Belgium, with Japanese top seed Kunieda reversing the result of his Sydney International Open semifinal when he secured a comprehensive 61 63 victory over Sydney champion and world No. 4 Gordon Reid of Great Britain.
In the women’s singles semi-finals world No. 8 Shuker led German top seed Sabine Ellerbrock 6-2, 4-3 when world No. 2 Ellerbrock had to retire due to injury, giving Shuker her second win over a world top five ranked player in successive days.
The Briton will now play reigning NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Kamiji after the Japanese player reversed the result of her loss to Dutch world No. 4 Jiske Griffioen in Sydney. In her first match against Kamiji since November’s Masters final, Griffioen had dropped just two games to Kamiji in the opening set of their Sydney semifinal, but it was Kamiji’s turn to end the match with a 6-0 second set in Melbourne as she produced a vastly improved performance for a 64 60 victory.
Kamiji and Shuker will now meet for the second time in successive tournaments after Kamiji edged Shuker in a closely fought quarterfinal in Sydney.
World No. 3 Lapthorne made successful reappearance on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour after his first match of 2014 ended in a three set win over Australian Alcott. After a bye into the last four defending champion Lapthorne had match points in the second set against Alcott before eventually wrapping up a 62 67(3) 62 win.
In the other quad singles semifinal there was another reversal of a result at the Sydney International as Sithole ended any prospect of an all-British final. The world No. 2 avenged his three set loss to Jamie Burdekin in their round-robin match in Sydney to seal a 64 62 victory over Burdkein.
Alcott and Sithole win quad doubles
With the extreme heat that had been prevalent in Melbourne earlier in the week finally relenting, the start of the doubles matches included the first title of the week being deciding in the quad doubles as Alcott and Sithole beat Burdekin and Lapthorne 61 61.
Meanwhile, Sydney champions Reid and Scheffers had a tough opening set as they opened their men’s doubles campaign, with the all The top seeds eventually beat Japan’s Takuya Miki and Takashi Sanada 36 62 (10-6) in the quarterfinals and went on to secure a more assured 62 60 win over Japan’s Yoshinobu Fujimoto and Gerard in the semifinals, with all the semifinalists contesting their second doubles match in a day.
Reid and Scheffers will meet Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Michael Jeremiasz of France in the final after the second seeds won both their opening matches in straight sets. Fernandez and Jeremiasz beat South Africa’s Evans Maripa and Australia’s Ben Weekes 60 62 in the last four to book their place in the final for the loss of just three games in two matches.