Photo: James Jordan / Tennis FoundationStephane Houdet (FRA)
Stephane Houdet avenged his loss to Belgium’s Joachim Gerard in the 2013 men’s final during the third day of the 25th British Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, as all four top seeds advanced to the men’s, women’s and quad singles semifinals at the fifth Super Series event of the year in Nottingham.
A year ago the title decider was played indoors to due to rain. However, with their latest match-up played outdoors in bright sunshine, Houdet proved more consistent than the man with whom he won the Roland Garros men’s doubles title in June, ending Gerard’s British Open reign 63 63.
“Playing outdoor was almost my goal for this week because last year he played amazing indoor,” said world No. 2 Houdet, who is bidding for his first British Open title “He made so many winners that I was just outdone by a better player. Today he made many unforced (errors) and I had to focus on my serve and on my returns. I think I played smart and didn’t make any mistakes with where I had to put the ball, so it was pretty tricky for him.”
Elsewhere, world No. 3 Gordon Reid reached his third successive British Open men’s singles semifinal after beating French eighth seed Nicolas Peifer 64 16 61.
“It was a tight first set and it could have gone either way, while in the second he looked like he was just trying to hit the ball as hard as he could on every single shot,” said Reid. “He was hitting winners all over the place and I maybe lost a bit of focus, but managed to get it back for the deciding set.”
There were conflicting fortunes for two other former champions as world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda, a four-time winner of the British Open, was in irresistible form as he beat Marc McCarroll 60 60, ending the Brit’s hopes of beating a seed for the second successive day. Meanwhile, Argentina’s world No. 4 Gustavo Fernandez outplayed two-time former champion Maikel Scheffers for a 62 62 victory to set up a clash with Kunieda.
In an all-British affair in the last eight of the quad singles, world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne overcame world No. 5 Jamie Burdekin 64 61 to set up a semifinal meeting with American top seed David Wagner on Friday.
“I’m delighted to be in another British Open semi-final and I love playing at home, so I’m really looking forward to taking on the world No.1 next,” said Lapthorne. “I had a few issues at 5-1 up in the first set against Jamie today, but once I started striking the ball well again I was happy.”
World No. 1 Wagner wasted little time in beating his countryman David Buck 60 60, while in the bottom half of the draw South Africa’s defending champion Lucas Sithole secured a confident 62 60 win over British sixth seed Antony Cotterill. World No. 2 Sithole will meet Australia’s world No.4 Dylan Alcott for a place in the final, with Alcott overcoming a determined performance from USA’s Greg Hasterok to advance 64 64.
Home interest in the women’s singles came to an end after Dutch world No. 2 and 2013 runner-up Aniek van Koot beat fifth seed Jordanne Whiley 75 61. Van Koot meets Germany’s world No. 3 Sabine Ellerbrock in the last four in a rematch of the 2013 women’s singles final, with Ellerbrock proving much more dominant in her quarterfinal than she was in her second round match against Frenchwoman Charlotte Famin. Ellerbrock saw off Japan’s Kanako Domori 61 60.
World No.1 Yui Kamiji maintained the Japanese challenge and her own bid for a first British Open title after sweeping past South Africa’s world No. 8 Kgothatso Montjane 61 60.
In what will be their sixth match since last November’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters final, Kamiji will now play Dutch world No.4 and former British Open runner-up Jiske Griffioen for a place in the final in Nottingham. Griffioen proved much stronger than her compatriot Marjolein Buis to seal their quarterfinal 60 63 and will now bid to beat Kamiji for the first time since this first head-to-head season, in Sydney in January.
Order of Play - Friday, 18 July 2014