World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda sealed his 100th successive men's singles victory at the US Open USTA Wheelchair Championships, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, on Friday when he beat French world No. 7 Nicolas Peifer 61 62 in the quarterfinals of the fifth and final Super Series event of the season.
Kunieda made a good start to the match, breaking immediately before a fantastic service return sealed the third game for Peifer. The Frenchman had a chance to level at 2-2 before double-faulting to give Kunieda a clear break advantage once more, which he soon converted to a 4-1 lead before dropping just one point in each of the next two games to seal the first set 6-1.
Peifer had a game point to take the lead in the second set, but Kunieda came back to take the opening game after a glorious cross court return, and then held confidently to establish another 2-0 lead. The Japanese top seed broke Peifer to love to take a 3-0 lead and looked to be cruising to his landmark victory as the advantage grew still further at 5-0.
However, Peifer was not about to cave in and found a winner that landed plum on the line to claw one game back before coming from 0-30 down to take the next game, reducing his deficit to 5-2. Nevertheless, that was to be his final success as Kunieda sealed his 100th successive win with two consecutive forehand winners.
Afterwards, Kunieda, who is currently unbeaten since mid-November 2007, was presented with a copy of the match scorecard and a tennis ball with the number 100 written on it by Tournament Referee Bob Boulware and the ITF's NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour Coordinator Victoria Thorpe.
Kunieda will face sixth seed Ronald Vink of the Netherlands in Saturday's semifinals after Vink continued his fine season by defeating Sweden's world No. 4 Stefan Olsson 62 61.
Fifth seed Robin Ammerlaan increased the Dutch presence in the semifinals after beating Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo, Thursday's surprise conqueror of world No. 2 Maikel Scheffers, 75 63.
Meanwhile, on a good day for Japanese players, eighth seed Satoshi Saida upset world No. 3 Stephane Houdet of France. World No. 8 Saida secured the second major upset in as many days in St. Louis as he beat Houdet 75 63 in the remaining quarterfinal to progess to a semifinal against Ammerlaan.
Griffioen to face Vergeer in women's final
While Kunieda chalked up his 100th successive singles victory, Esther Vergeer moved to within eight matches of her 400th successive win in the women's single semifinals as she swept past the last player to beat her.
Vergeer beat Australian world No. 5 Daniela di Toro 62 62 to extend her winning streak to 392 matches and the Dutch world No. 1 will now take on her compatriot Jiske Griffioen as she bids for her ninth US Open Super Series titles.
Griffioen gained the vital break in the last two games of the first set of her semifinal against fellow Dutchwoman and world No. 2 Sharon Walraven and then came from 4-1 down in a second set tiebreak to secure a 75 76(6).
Former champion Taylor makes quad semis
The world's top four quad singles players will contest Saturday's semifinals after world No. 4 Nick Taylor of the USA had the toughest task in Friday's quarterfinals. Taylor was taken to three sets by British sixth seed Andrew Lapthorne for the second time in four meetings and for the first time this season before finally prevailing 62 26 63.
Taylor will face another British opponent and another former champion in the form of world No. 2 Peter Norfolk in Saturday's semifinals after Norfolk's second match in five months brought an improved performance as he eased past American seventh seed Bryan Barten 62 60.
Both semifinals in the top half of the draw ended with the same scoreline as American world No. 1 and defending champion David Wagner and world No. 3 Johan Andersson set up a rematch of the 2009 final in St Louis. Wagner defeated Swedish eighth seed Anders Hard 61 60 in his semifinal, while Andersson improved Swedish fortunes as he eased past Canadian world No. 5 Sarah Hunter in similar fashion.
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US Open USTA Wheelchair Championships Drawsheets
US Open USTA Wheelchair Championships Official Website