Photo: Reg CaldecottMarc McCarroll (GBR)
British players Marc McCarroll and Andrew Lapthorne won the men's main draw singles and quad singles titles as the 2012 Airports Company South Africa South African Open, a part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, drew to a close on Wednesday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, with Germany's Sabine Ellerbrock retaining the women's singles title.
McCarroll, who went onto the tournament as sixth seed, won the first ITF 1 Series title of his career as he came from a set down to beat his fellow Briton and second seed Gordon Reid 46 62 63.
With both players in their first ITF 1 final, Reid snatched the opening set before McCarroll won the last four games of the second set to force the decider. The first two games of the third and final set went with serve, before McCarroll edged ahead after three successive service breaks.
McCarroll extended his advantage to lead 5-2 and had two match points in a tense eighth game before Reid finally made it 5-3. However, McCarroll would not be denied and eventually closed out the victory to secure just his third win over Reid in eight head-to-heads on the NEC Tour and his first since 2010.
“I was nervous going into the match and made a bunch of unforced errors in the first set but calmed myself and managed to improve my serve and returns which helped me close out the match and win my first ITF 1 title,” said McCarroll.
“South Africa is proving to be a great place for me. I’ve had some real good wins and in the final today, despite losing the first set, I felt that I played well. Gordon is a respected opponent, doubles partner and friend and he fought to the bitter end. I won after losing two match points proving how tough the final was. I am really happy with this win.”
A busy day for the two Brits saw them back on court an hour later for their delayed men's doubles semifinal, in which they beat Brazilian fourth seeds Rafael Medeiros and Daniel Rodrigues 61 60. Meanwhile, Japanese second seeds Yoshinobu Fujimoto and Takashi Sanada held off a second set fight back from their countryman Takuya Miki and Australia's Ben Weekes to win the other semifinal 61 64.
Top seeds McCarroll and Reid dropped just the sixth game of the first set in the final and then came from behind in the second set to secure a 61 64 victory and their first ITF 1 doubles title as a partnership.
Ellerbrock retains women's singles title before adding doubles crown
World No. 5 Sabine Ellerbrock built a 5-3 lead en route to taking the first set of the women's singles final from world No. 4 and top seed Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands, but the momentum swung the way of Buis midway through the second set and she went on to level the match.
A tense third game in the final set went Ellerbrock's way and the momentum swung again as the Germany player opened up a commanding 4-1 lead. Buis had game points to reduce her deficit in the next game, but Ellerbrock again had the final say.
Ellerbrock went on to serve for the match, but found herself 0-40 down before coming back to deuce, only for Buis to eventually get another game on the board. However, another twist in fortunes saw Ellerbrock earn three straight match points on the Dutchwoman’s serve before Buis made it 30-40. Nevertheless, Ellerbrock eventually completed a 64 26 62 victory.
“I just love playing in South Africa. It’s becoming like a second home. I had a lot of pressure with me as defending champion to win again so I could defend my points and maintain my world ranking," said Ellerbrock.
After winning the singles title in 2011 Ellerbrock went on to add the doubles title with her compatriot Katharina Kruger, but in this year's doubles final the two German players were on opposite sides of the net as Ellerbrock returned to court later in the day with Buis as her partner rather than her opponent.
The second seeds proved too strong for Kruger and Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands and Ellerbrock leaves Johannesburg with two titles to her name for the second year running after a comprehensive 62 60 victory.
Lapthorne clinches quad singles title; Paralympic silver medallists win quad doubles
Top seed Andrew Lapthorne lifted his fifth ITF 1 Series quad singles title after beating Israel’s Boaz Kramer 63 76(1).
Lapthorne took an early 4-1 lead over his unseeded opponent and, after Kramer had broken back, world No. 4 Lapthorne took the last two games of the first set.
A tense second set saw Lapthorne slip from 2-0 up to 3-2 behind as Kramer dug deep, but Lapthorne twice moved to within game of the title at 5-4 and 6-5 before dominating the tiebreak to clinch his second ITF 1 title of 2012.after he won the Cajun Classic in March.
Kramer was on the winning side in the quad doubles as he partnered his compatriot Shraga Weinberg to a straight sets win over Malaysia's Azman Hasan and Marc McLean of USA..
Kramer and Weinberg eased to the first set and although Hasan and McLean put up a much improved second set performance, Israel's silver medallists from the Beijing Paralympic Games eventually sealed the title 62 64.