Photo: Lu Guang / Chen GongMichael Jeremiasz (FRA)
Day 1 Schedule
World No. 1 Stephane Houdet of France will be the first big name to grace Centre Court at the London 2012 Paralympic Tennis Event when the first day of competition gets underway at 11am on Saturday at Eton Manor in the Olympic Park, with 48 matches scheduled for the first round of the men’s singles and women’s singles.
Houdet won gold in the men’s doubles on his Paralympic debut in Beijing in 2008, but bowed out of the men’s singles in the quarterfinals. He begins his London 2012 challenge against Suthi Khlongrua of Thailand in the first of six matches on Centre Court, with Britain’s top two ranked players Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker up second and third respectively for their opening men’s singles and women’s singles matches.
Shuker’s match against Italy’s Marianna Lauro precedes the London 2012 debuts of Beijing 2008 men’s and women’s singles gold medallists Shingo Kunieda of Japan and Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands
Kunieda is bidding to become the first player to win back-to-back men’s singles gold medals, while Vergeer begins the Paralympic Tennis Event unbeaten in 465 matches and 119 tournaments going back to the end of January 2003. She takes on Kanako Domori of Japan, while her fellow Dutchwoman and world No. 2 Aniek van Koot is set to face Janel Manns of Australia in the last match scheduled for Centre Court on the first day.
What could be one of the picks of the first round matches in the men’s singles opens the action on Court No. 1 as Great Britain’s Marc McCarroll takes on Dutchman Tom Egberink. Egberink’s compatriots Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink follow, with Scheffers also having a potentially tough match against Poland’s Tadeusz Kruszelnicki, a former world No. 3 ranked player.
Scheduled fifth on Court No. 1 is British No. 2 Jordanne Whiley, who will begin her second Paralympic Games with a tough opening match against Thailand’s former world No. 6.Sakhorn Khanthasit, who was a doubles medallist at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. The last scheduled match on Court No. 1 sees the Paralympic debut of world No. 4 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany, the highest ranked non-Dutch player in the women’s singles.
Elsewhere, 17-year-old Angelica Bernal of Colombia, the youngest player in the London 2012 Paralympic Tennis Event is scheduled fifth on Court No.2 against Australia’s Daniela di Toro, the last player to beat Vergeer back in January 2003 and the Athens 2004 women’s singles bronze medallist.
Japan’s Yui Kamiji, the current world No 1 junior girls’ singles player takes on Great Britain’s Louise Hunt in the sixth and last match scheduled on Court 2, while first up on Court 3 Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez, the world No. 1 ranked junior boys’ singles player, will play Italy’s Fabian Mazzei.
Among the matches on Court 4, Martin Legner of Austria will play Sang-Ho-Oh of Korea. In London Legner becomes the only player to have played in all six Paralympic Tennis Events since wheelchair tennis made its debut as a full medal sport at the Barcelona Games in 1992.
Court 5 and Court 6 will see the Paralympic Tennis Event debits of Iran and Iraq respectively. On Court 5 Hossein Mamipour takes on Poland’s Piotr Jaroszewski, while on Court 6 Mohammed Hamdan will play South Africa’s Evans Maripa.
Morocco and Zimbabwe are the other two nations making their debuts in the Paralympic Tennis Event and Lhaj Boukartacha of Morocco will open the action on Court 7, while the same Court is set to have Zimbabwe’s Nyasha Mharakurwa in action as he takes on Switzerland’s Yann Avanthey.
Mharakurwa will compete in a tennis chair that once belonged to now retired former world No. 1, Sydney gold medallist and six -time Paralympic medallist David Hall of Australia.