10 Nov 2011

Gershony and Lapthorne into NEC Masters quad final

Match Report

Photo: Philippe BuissinNoam Gershony (ISR)

NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters debutants Noam Gershony and Andrew Lapthorne will meet for the second day in a row in Friday's quad final in Mechelen, Belgium after Gershony won their final round-robin group match.

Meanwhile, as the men's and women's semifinalists were decided Stefan Olsson saw his men's title defence come to an end.


Noam Gershony (ISR) v Andrew Lapthorne (GBR)

With both of the quad event’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters debutants going head-to-head, world No. 3 Gershony made a confident start against world No. 4 Lapthorne, the Israeli building a 5-2 lead.  Lapthorne managed to retrieve one of the breaks, but Gershony went on to seal the first set with relative ease.

A win for Gershony meant that he and Lapthorne would meet again in Friday’s final and both players exchanged breaks in the first eight games of the second to still be level at 4-4, before again exchanging the next two games.  However, the deadlock was finally broken when Lapthorne faced two match points against him, sending his first serve long and his second serve into the top of the net to give Gershony a 64 75 victory and the distinction of topping the round-robin group.

Gershony’s victory ensured that a new name will be added to the roll of honour of NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters quad champions, with former four-time champion David Wagner set to play fellow American Nick Taylor for third place this year.

David Wagner (USA) v Nick Taylor (USA)

With Wagner needing the result in the day’s other quad singles round-robin match to go his way if he was to gain the opportunity of bidding for his fifth NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters title, the world No. 1 did all he could to aid his cause in his final group match.

Top seed Wagner needed just 41 minutes to complete his 61 60 victory over fellow American Nick Taylor, dropping just the sixth game of the opening set to Taylor, but ultimately the fellow countrymen will meet again in the third and fourth play-off.

MEN – Pool A

Robin Ammerlaan (NED) v Nicolas Peifer (FRA)

The contest to secure second place in Pool A and a semifinal berth brought an enthralling battle between world No. 7 Robin Ammerlaan and world No. 5 Nicolas Peifer, Peifer taking the lead for the first time in the match at 4-3 in the opening set and he completed a sequence of four successive games to leave Ammerlaan with an uphill task in his quest for a seventh NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters title.

With plenty at stake for both players in the second set neither Ammerlaan nor Peifer were able to make any significant breakthroughs in the first ten games, exchanging breaks of serve throughout.  However, Ammerlaan kept his composure and his challenge alive as his vast experience helped him secure the last two games to force a third and deciding set.

The Athens Paralympic champion gained another decisive break to lead the deciding set 3-1 and Peifer not able to get back on terms again despite his best efforts, Ammerlaan etching out a 36 75 64 victory. 

Maikel Scheffers (NED) v Satoshi Saida (JPN)

Top seeds Maikel Scheffers ensured that he goes into Friday’s men’s singles cross-over semifinals undefeated so far this week after a comprehensive victory over world No. 8 Satoshi Saida.

Saida’s biggest success in the first set came in the fourth game as Scheffers took it 6-1 in 30 minutes.

After a closely fought opening game in the second set Scheffers went on to lead 2-0 and he extended his advantage with a string of three games to seal victory 62 61.

MEN – Pool B

Stephane Houdet (FRA) v Frederic Cattaneo (FRA)

Like Scheffers in Group A, second seed Houdet will go into Friday’s semifinals with an unbeaten record after dominating his match against his fellow Frenchman and world No. 9 Cattaneo.

Houdet gained breaks of serve either side of Cattaneo’s only break in the opening set and sped through the second set to seal a 62 60 win in an hour.

Ronald Vink (NED) v Stefan Olsson (FRA)

The last day of pool matches ended with world No. 4 Stefan Olsson’s men’s title defence coming to an end.

After his late night three set loss to Houdet on the second day of play, Olsson was unable to get a hold on the opening set against world No. 6 Vink and the Swedish two-time NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion won just the sixth game.

Olsson clinched his second game of the match to start the opening set, but successive breaks gave Vink a healthy 5-2 lead and he eventually close out the contest 61 64 after 65 minutes to finish second in Pool B and move into the last four.

WOMEN – Pool A

Esther Vergeer (NED) v Annick Sevenans (BEL)

The last of the round-robin matches in any of the three singles events saw Belgium’s Annick Sevenans and world No. 1 Esther Vergeer take to Centre Court at Heiveld Tennis Centre to entertain a large crowd.

However, any hopes that the spectators had of a shock victory for the Belgian No. 1 soon started to faded as Vergeer swept through the opening set in 20 minutes without losing a game.

Sevenans started the second set brightly, winning the opening game comfortably, and she took Vergeer to deuce in the third game, but the Dutch reigning champion came back to close out a 60 61 victory after 45 minutes.

Aniek van Koot (NED) v Sabine Ellerbrock (GER)

Aniek van Koot has had a tough time in the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in the last three years, since making her debut in the prestigious event in 2008.  But, now world ranked No. 3, van Koot celebrated her place in this year’s semifinals with a comfortable victory over world No. 6 Ellerbrock, who is making her debut this year.

Van Koot and Ellerbrock exchanged service breaks in the first four games of both sets in their last round-robin match of the week, but van Koot reeled off the last four games of the first and second sets to earn a 62 62 victory and second place in Pool A behind Vergeer.

WOMEN – Pool B

Jiske Griffioen (NED) v Sharon Walraven (NED) 62 75

World No.2 Griffioen joined her compatriot from Pool A, Esther Vergeer, in reaching the semifinals undefeated in her three round-robin matches after her third straight sets win of the week.

A 4-0 first set lead set Griffioen on her way to victory over world No. 7 Sharon Walraven and Walraven only led briefly at 4-3 in the second set after winning back-to-back games. Both former NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters finalists provided a closely fought second set, but it was Griffioen that once again came out on top to seal victory 62 75 after one hour and 33 minutes.

Marjolein Buis (NED) v Daniela di Toro (AUS)

Such was the balance of Pool B that Griffioen’s victory over Walraven left world No. 4 Buis needing to win her final pool match against former world No. 1 di Toro in straight sets to progress to the semifinals and the young Dutchwoman made a solid start as she established a 4-1 first set advantage.  However, di Toro fought back to get on terms at both 4-4 and 5-5 before Buis won the important points in the last two games of the set.

A 3-0 second set lead furthered Buis’ cause before di Toro retrieved a break to trail 3-2, but Buis went on to lead 5-3 and she wrapped up a 75 63 victory on her first match point to claim a place in her first NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters semifinal, having failed to win a match in the round-robin phase on her debut in the prestigious event in 2010.