Photo: © 2014 María T. OrroJohana Martinez (COL)
Johana Martinez of Colombia eliminated one of two seeded players to exit the 6th Open Memorial Santi Silvas on Thursday’s first day, defeating Pauline Helouin of France to reach the women’s singles semifinals at the ITF 2 Series event at the Club Natacio Olot in Spain.
Martinez won the important points to beat second seed Helouin 64 64 and join Brits Luz Esperanza Merry and Louise Hunt and Spain’s Lola Ochoa in the semifinals. With top seeding Hunt having a first round bye, 13-year-old Merry set up an all-British semifinal after overcoming the host nation’s Maria Torres 64 61, while Ochoa made it a tough day for the French women after securing a 64 62 victory over Evelyne Claverie.
There were mixed fortunes for the French and Spanish players in the men’s singles as third seed Lahcen Majdi maintained his challenge after a slow start, defeating his compatriot Sebastien Husser 36 60 62.
However, the closest match of the day ended in a 63 16 76(4) victory for Spain’s Juanjo Rodriguez, who edged out his higher ranked Colombian opponent Fabio Padilla. The reward for Rodriguez is a quarterfinal against British second seed David Phillipson, who overcame Spanish No.1 Daniel Caverzaschi 64 63.
There was better new for Spain’s second, third and fourth ranked players as Roberto Chamizo, Martin de la Puente and Alvaro Illobre all secured straight sets wins. De la Puente and Chamizo progress to last eight meetings with top seed Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina and Stefan Olsson of Sweden, the only winners of the men’s singles titles in the previous five editions of the tournament organised by ITF Wheelchair Tennis Ambassador Tommy Robredo and his Foundation.
Defending champion Fernandez and four-time champion Olsson both opened their challenges this year with 60 60 victories, former world No. 2 Olsson securing a comprehensive win over fourth seed Thomas Vinatier of France to reinfore previous form if not the tournament seeding
Fernandez and Olsson are drawn to meet each other in the semifinals for the second successive year, providing a potentially fascinating match-up.