Photo: Lu Guang / Chen GongDavid Wagner (USA)
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: After winning silver and bronze medals in quad singles at the last two Paralympic Games, world No. 1 David Wagner came through a potentially tough first match as he began his quest to win gold at London 2012 by beating South African world No. 7 Lucas Sithole 62 75.
Wagner came from 15-30 down to win the opening game of the match and Sithole put in a double fault to give Wagner three break points in the second game, the American slotting home a forehand winner to break his opponent’s serve to love.
Wagner’s consistency proved the telling factor in the opening set and although some inspired play from Sithole saw him break back with a looping forehand that bounced high over Wagner’s head, Wagner opened up a 4-1 lead and served out to love with an ace to make it 5-2 before Sithole close the first set with a double fault.
Wagner made another solid start to the second set and moved 3-1 ahead before Sithole raised his game and started producing more and more winners from his ground strokes to leave the two players level after six games.
A strong service game saw the American top seed edge ahead once more, but Sithole continued to apply pressure and Wagner eventually sent a forehand sailing out of court to give Sithole the lead for the first time at 5-4.
However, Wagner’s experience finally won the day and he reeled off three games in succession, with Sithole hitting the final ball of the match, an attempted topspin forehand that failed to find the court after 64 minutes of play.
“It’s great out here but it definitely always could be warmer,” said Wagner. “The crowds here they really understand tennis and so it’s playing in front of people that are educated about the sport and that is always fun. I think it is important for the quad division to be out there to showcase what people with arm disabilities can do.”
Follow the scores from the Paralympic Tennis Event on the Schedule page.