Japan’s world No. 11 Yui Kamiji produced the most notable result on Wednesday’s first day of the Pensacola Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, when she beat world No. 1 Aniek van Koot 75 61 as the women’s singles threw up the day’s main headlines in Florida.
When the draw had been made, the contest between the former world No. 1 ranked junior players stood out. Kamiji had had two close matches against van Koot at the 2012 World Team Cup and the London 2012 Paralympics, but claimed her first victory over the Dutch top seed in six attempts and undoubtedly the biggest win over her career, with 2012 Pensacola Open runner-up van Koot describing her loss on Twitter as ‘a tough pill to swallow’.
The top quarter of the women’s draw certainly featured the most fascinating of the first round matches, with Chile’s Francisca Mardones holding on in a thrilling contest to edge out Colombia’s Angelica Bernal 57 76(5) 64. Mardones will face Kamiji for a place in the semifinals.
Another South American contest saw Colombia’s Johana Martinez beat Rejane Candida of Brazil 64 63, while Natalia Mayara added to the complement of South American players progressing to the quarterfinals when easing past Cathy Portier of France 61 60.
With a home player guaranteed a place in the quarterfinals, it was Elizabeth Williams that beat fellow American Nicola Saltzburg to earn a spot in the last eight after a 75 60 victory. Williams will now play second seed and world No. 5 Marjolein Buis after Buis joined fellow Dutchwoman and third seed Sharon Walraven in posting a 60 60 first round win.
South African fourth seed Kgothato Montjane completes the women’s quarterfinal line-up after beating Katharina Kruger of Germany 61 76(3). Montjane will play Mayara for a place in the semifinals.
Quad quarterfinalists decided
All eight quarterfinalists in the quad singles opened their accounts with straight sets wins.
World No. 1 David Wagner, a semifinalist in 2012, began his bid to regain the Pensacola Open title with a 60 62 win over fellow American David Jordan. Britain’s Jamie Burdekin, the only other of last year’s semifialists in this year’s draw, secured the day’s only 60 60 win in the quad singles after easing past Canada’s Adrian Dieleman 60 60.
The semifinal in the top half of the draw is guaranteed to feature one American player and one British player, with Wagner now playing Marc McLean, while world No. 6 Burdekin takes on Antony Cotterill.
In the bottom half of the quad draw second seed Nick Taylor beat Canada’s former world No. 2 Sarah Hunter 62 62. World No. 4 Taylor plays Japan’s Takahiro Koga in the last eight after Koga denied Greg Hasterok the chance of setting up an all-American quarterfinal when edging past the Californian 63 64. Fourth seed Lucas Sithole of South Africa will play American David Buck in the other quarterfinal.
Men’s seeds set to start challenges
With just six matches needed to complete the line-up for the last 16 of the men’s singles, Brazilian players claimed three of the available places in the next round as Daniel Rodrigues, Mauricio Pomme and Rafael Medeiros joined Thomas Vinatier of France and Eliphas Maripa of South African in progressing.
The eight seeded players, headed by world No. 2 and defending champion Stephane Houdet of France, will begin their campaigns on Thursday’s second day of play in Pensacola.