Photo: Reg CaldecottEliphas Maripa (RSA)
Eighth seed Evans Maripa added to a successful third day for the South African players on Friday at the Japan Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, when he reached his first men’s singles semifinal at Super Series level, along with Belgium’s Joachim Gerard, the player he faces next.
Maripa’s 63 64 win over Japan’s 2002 champion Satoshi Saida means that a new name will be added to the men’s singles roll of honour this year at the 29th Japan Open.
Maripa will face Gerard for a place in Sunday’s final after the Belgian second seed ended Ben Weekes’s hopes of reaching his second Japan Open final in three years, beating the Australian fourth seed 64 62.
While Weekes reached the semifinals in Iizuka City in 2011, so did Takuya Miki, but the unseeded Japanese players progress at the third Super Series tournament of the year ended in the quarterfinals this year after he was beaten 62 64 by Dutch third seed Tom Egberink.
There will be a Dutch presence in the last four as Egberink now faces top seed Maikel Scheffers after the world No. 3 held of sixth seed Takashi Sanada 64 46 62.
“A win is a win! Didn't play well but I won,” said Scheffers on his Twitter account.
Wagner and Sithole into quad singles final
Saturday’s penultimate day of play at the Japan Open will start with the quad singles final, with American world No. 1 David Wagner and world No. 4 Lucas Sithole set for a rematch of their semifinal at April’s SA Open, the second Super Series event of the season.
On home soil Sithole secured his first career win over Wagner in Johannesburg in April, but Wagner edged their match at the World Team Cup last week. The South African set up their second meeting in successive weeks after a 63 60 win over third seed Sarah Hunter of Canada, who is twice a runner-up to Wagner at the Japan Open.
Wagner eased into this year’s semifinals after beating Mitsuteru Moroishi of Japan 61 61.
Top four seeds into women’s semis
Defending champion Sabine Ellerbrock led the top four seeds into the women’s singles semifinals and remains on course for a rematch of last year’s final against Marjolein Buis.
Ellerbrock will face her second Japanese opponent in successive day in Saturday’s semifinals after easing through her quarterfinal against Naomi Ishimoto 61 60. The German world No. 3 and top seed now takes on her doubles partner Yui Kamiji, who claimed a 61 61 win over her compatriot and fifth seed Kanako Domori.
Buis ended the progress of another Japanese player, sixth seed Miho Nijo, 60 62, while Kgothatso Montjane ensured that South Africa is the only country with interest remaining in all three singles events after comfortably coming through a potentially difficult quarterfinal against Thailand’s Sakhorn Khanthasit 63 62. Buis and Montjane will now meet in a rematch of April’s women’s singles final at the SA Open.
Doubles finalists decided
Saturday’s fourth day of play will see the finals of all three main draw doubles events. Top seeds Gerard and Scheffers secured a 62 75 win over fourth seeds Sanada and Weekes in their men’s doubles semifinal. They will play third seeds Miki and Saida for the title after the Japanese pairing’s 64 62 win over Egberink and Maripa.
In the women’s doubles Ellerbrock and Kamiji will face second seeds Buis and Montjane. After a tough quarterfinal top seeds Ellerbrock and Kamiji raced through their semifinal against Japanese duo Miyama Tomomi and Yumiko Inoue, while Buis and Montjane were also untroubled in their semifinal, easing past third seeds Mho Nijo of Japan and Ratana Techamaneewat of Thailand 62 61.
Hunter and Wagner dominated their quad doubles semifinal against Azman Hasan of Malaysia and Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Hsuan Huang, winning 60 62. The top seeds will face Japan’s Shinichi Hirata and Sithole for the title after the second seeds had tougher time in their semifinal before holding off Shota Kawano and Moroishi 63 64.