Photo: Steve Wake / Professional SportFrancisca Mardones (CHI)
Chile’s Francisca Mardones secured one of the biggest wins of her career on Thursday’s third day of the Daegu Open to deny Dutch world No. 10 Sharon Walraven the chance of lifting back-to-back ITF 1 Series women’s singles titles in Korea Republic.
Thailand’s Sakhorn Khanthasit also ensured that neither of the top two seeds would reach the final after defeating Germany’s world No. 9 Katharina Kruger, while USA’s Nick Taylor kept his bid for back-to-back titles alive as he reached the quad singles final against Japan’s Mitsuteru Moroishi.
In 1999, while working as a hotel manager in the Caribbean, Mardones was injured during Hurricane Lenny. After a long period of surgery and rehabilitation, she took up wheelchair tennis aged 28.
World No. 13 Mardones reached her first IITF 1 Series women’s singles final in Daegu after defeating former Paralympic medallist Walraven 16 76(5) 63, having saved a match point before clinching the second set. In three previous matches, the last being in May 2012, Mardones had never take more than three games off Walraven in six successive sets.
It ended Walraven’s quest to follow up her own victory at last week’s Korea Open, where she defeated Kruger in the final. Second seed Kruger saw her own singles challenge in Daegu come to an end against former world No. 6 Khanthasit, who progressed 63 63, having earlier beaten Korean third seed Ju-Yeon Park in the quarterfinals.
Taylor has moved up two places to No. 7 in this week’s quad singles rankings following his Korea Open victory. The former world No. 1 maintained his winning sequence after a 62 26 61 semifinal win over Japan’s Shota Kawano, avenging his three set loss to Kawano in USA’s opening singles rubber of the quad event at the recent BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Netherlands.
Taylor will go on to face Japanese No. 1 and fourth seed Mitsuteru Moroishi, who came through his semifinal against Anders Hard of Sweden 76(7) 63 following Hard’s straight sets win against Italian second seed Antonio Raffaele in the last eight.
The men’s singles has arrived at the semifinal stage, with Australia’s Adam Kellerman being the only one of the semifinalists not amongst the top four seeds. The fifth seed defeated third seed Satoshi Saida of Japan 64 60 in the last eight ahead of playing world No. 10, second seed and Korea Open champion Takashi Sanada for a place in the final. Sanada stayed on course for back-to-back titles after defeating Ha-Gel Lee, the last Korean player left in the men’s singles, 62 60.
Takuya Miki continued the Japanese success despite a tough quarterfinal for the top seed against South African seventh seed Evans Maripa. World No. 8 Miki eventually dominated the final set, advancing 36 76(3) 61 to earn another difficult challenge against Dutch fourth seed Tom Egberink.
Egberink, runner-up to Sanada at the Korea Open, moved into the last four in Daegu with a 63 62 win over Australian eighth seed Ben Weekes.