07 Sep 2017

Wheelchair tennis begins on show courts at US Open

News Article

Photo: Takeo TanumaShingo Kunieda (JPN)

Special occasions warrant special venues and wheelchair tennis features on two of the championship show courts at Flushing Meadows when the 10th US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition  gets underway on Thursday in New York with the men’s and women’s doubles semifinals and the first set of quad singles round-robin matches all on the schedule.

The last Grand Slam on the 2017 UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour begins with Arthur Ashe Stadium hosting a rematch of last week’s men’s doubles semi at the US Open USTA Championships Super Series in St. Louis as British second seeds Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid take on Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda of Japan.

Fernandez and Kunieda won that contest before finishing runners-up to French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in St. Louis. Houdet and Peifer take on Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson of Sweden later in the day on Grandstand court.

Thursday’s day session in Arthur Ashe Stadium concludes with the women’s doubles semifinal between St. Louis champions Yui Kamiji of Japan and Lucy Shuker of Great Britain and USA’s Grand Slam debutante Dana Mathewson and Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands.

Dutch top seeds Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot, the Rio Paralympic silver medallists, face Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock and Kgothatso Montjane in the other women’s doubles semifinal.

Alcott to face Lapthorne in opening quad singles contest

With the US Open not having featured wheelchair tennis in 2016 due to the dates coinciding with those of the Rio Paralympic Games, Rio gold and silver medallists Dylan Alcott and Andy Lapthorne will go head-to-head in Thursday’s first of three days of quad singles round-robin competition.

Alcott and Lapthorne are the last two US Open quad singles champions, Australia’s Alcott having triumphed in 2015, the year after Lapthorne won his one and only Grand Slam singles title to date in New York.

With the top two players at the end of the three days of round-robin competition going forward to the quad singles final, the first day of play will also feature the all-USA contest between two-time champion and world No. 1 David Wagner and wild card entry Bryan Barten who is making is Grand Slam debut

Fernandez to play Peifer in men’s singles quarterfinals  

When the men’s and women’s singles get underway on Friday in New York, world No. 1 Fernandez will begin the last Grand Slam of 2017 as he ended the first in January, with a contest against Nicolas Peifer of France.

Fernandez beat Peifer in the Australian Open final as the Argentinian claimed his first career Grand Slam singles title in January and the two went on to meet in the semifinals at Roland Garros. This time they will be playing for a place in the men’s singles semifinals, while 20017 Wimbledon champion Olsson faces 2013 US Open champion Houdet in the other quarterfinal in the top half of the men’s singles draw.

Kunieda won the most recent of his Grand Slam singles titles in New York in 2015 and six-time US Open champion begins his campaign this year against this year’s Roland Garros champion Hewett. The remaining men’s singles quarterfinal sees wold No. 2 and former Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Reid take on reigning NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Gerard.

Kamiji opens women’s singles campaign against Shuker

With 2015 US Open women’s singles champion Jordnanne Whiley currently taking a break from wheelchair tennis as she looks forward to the birth of her first child, 2014 winner and world No. 1 Kamiji is the most recent champion in New York contesting this year’s event.

Kamiji will begin her quest for her second US Open title and her third Grand Slam title of 2017 with a quarterfinal against her doubles partner Shuker, with the two players having also met in their opening match at Wimbledon, where Kamiji was a semifinalist.

A semifinal meeting in New York between Kamiji and 2013 US Open champion van Koot is a possibility, with van Koot set to meet South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane in her opening match. World No. 8 Montjane contests her first Grand Slam since the 2016 Australian Open following the withdrawal of world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen.

The bottom half of the women’s singles draw will feature a rematch of the Wimbledon final between de Groot and Ellerbrock as world No. 2 de Groot begins her bid for back-to-back Grand Slam titles. Meanwhile, world No. 6 Buis will face wild card entry Mathewson.