Photo: Reg CaldecottNicolas Peifer (FRA)
All three main draw singles events provided their own talking points on the third day of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open as both last year’s quad singles finalists were both taken to a third and deciding set in their quarterfinals at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg. Defending men’s champion Stephane Houdet also had to come from a set down to reach the last four.
Quad singles fourth seed Jamie Burdekin and men’s singles fourth seed Frederic Cattaneo became the highest ranked players to exit the second Super Series event on the 2014 ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour, while all four seeds advanced to women’s semifinals and the men’s doubles and quad doubles finalists were decided.
After Burdekin injured his back in a fall from his day chair after his opening match on Wednesday, this week’s new world No. 4 found the going tough in his quad singles quarterfinal against Canada’s world No. 6 Sarah Hunter and fifth seed Hunter went on to record a 62 61 victory.
“I’m happy with the win, but it’s not necessarily an accurate result. Jamie is playing injured, so hats off to him for coming onto court and giving it his best effort. I’m happy with my own game though. I’m really relaxed and hitting away from the person, and feeling quite comfortable on court,” said Hunter, who will now play 2013 runner-up and world No. 2 Lucy Sithole in the semifinals.
“I’m not blaming anything. It’s just a bit of a disappointing tournament for me. But congrats to Sarah,” said Burdekin. “It’s just an old injury and I fell over on it yesterday. But if I’m on the court I’m not even worrying about the injury. Sarah won the match and congrats to her.”
World No. 2 Sithole was taken to a third set for the first time by Britain’s Antony Cotterill, but Sithole eventually came through 64 46 62.
“I didn’t play as well as I wanted. I was tired out there and a bit slow on the court. But I’m glad the job is done. I just told myself to keep pushing and moving Antony around the court,” said Sithole.
Defending champion Andy Lapthorne was also taken to a deciding set by eighth seed David Buck of USA, but Lapthorne also regrouped for the third set as he wrapped up a 60 36 62 win that earns him a semifinal against world No. 1 David Wagner, who defeated fellow American Greg Hasterok 62 60.
Houdet recovers to reach semifinals
Men’s top seed Stephane Houdet had to fight back from a set down to beat Dutch seventh seed Tom Egberink 36 61 61, but it was in the quarterfinal between Houdet’s fellow Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo that the men’s singles lost its highest ranked player to date as world No. 9 and fifth seed Nicolas Peifer beat Frederic Cattaneo 61 62.
World No. 3 Gordon Reid will be hoping to avenge his quarterfinal defeat to Peifer at last week’s Gauteng Open when the two meet in the semifinals this week after Reid eased past Japan’s Takashi Sanada 61 61. The all-Japanese quarterfinal between Takuya Miki and Satoshi Saida also ended in a 61 61 win for third see Miki, who will now meet Houdet in a semifinal for the second successive week.
Van Koot holds off Famin
After learning earlier this week that she has been awarded the women’s wild card slot for Roland Garros, French seventh seed Charlotte Famin took world No. 4 Aniek van Koot to a third set for the first time in their women’s singles quarterfinal. However, 2013 ITF World Champion van Koot held on in a tense final set to clinch a 62 26 64 win that earns her a semifinal against South Africa’s world No. 7 Kgothatso Montjane, who beat Chile’s Francisca Mardones 62 63.
“It was a good match for me. I was really looking forward to getting through to the semis,” said fourth seed Montjane. ”In the quarters it was only the top seeds in action. So it was the toughest part of the draw. And going forward it’s going to be even tougher. But I need to keep taking it one match at a time."
Defending champion Marjolein Buis had a tough opening set against British fifth seed Lucy Shuker, but the world No. 6 went on to record a 76(3) 62 victory and she will now play world No. 1 Sabine Ellerbrock. Ellerbrock got off to a much better start than she had done at the Gauteng Open when she also played fellow German Katharina Kruger and this time top seed Ellerbrock earned a 61 63 victory.
Men’s doubles and quad doubles finalists decided
Friday’s penultimate day of play in Johannesburg is set to include all three main draw doubles finals and while one set of the women’s doubles finalists are still to be decided, the line-ups for men’s doubles and quad doubles finals are complete.
Second seeds Reid and Peifer beat Yoshinobu Fujimoto of Japan and Evans Maripa of South Africa 60 75 to reach the men’s doubles final. The second seeds will play French top seeds Frederic Cattaneo and Stephane Houdet, who were in peerless form in the semifinal as the powered to a 60 60 win over Egberink and Saida.
The top two seeded seeded pairings will also meet in the quad doubles final after top seeds Hunter and Wagner beat Buck and South Africa’s Bongani Dlamini 61 61. Second seeds Cotterill and Lapthorne defeated South Africa’s David Mathebula and Danny Mohlamonyane 60 60.
Top seeds Shuker and van Koot took the opening set of their women’s doubles semifinal against Ellerbrock and Mardones 6-2. Ellerbrock and Mardones led the second set 5-3 when play was suspended due to bad light. Buis and Montjane await the winners after the second seeds eased to a 62 61 win over Famin and Kruger.