South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane stunned world No. 2 and top seed Aniek van Koot on the fourth day of the Japan Open, a part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, as the world No. 10 reached the first Super Series semifinal of her career in Iizuka, Fukuoka.
Meanwhile, David Wagner and Nick Taylor set up an all-American quad singles final after two fascinating semifinals.
World No. 10 Montjane fought back from a set down to beat van Koot 46 63 62 and secure her biggest win to date in singles competition.
The eighth seed will now play world No. 5 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany in Friday’s semifinals after Ellerbrock ended world No. 8 Daniela di Toro’s quest for a sixth Japan Open title after beating the Australian former world No. 1 62 75.
The two players who met in the 2011 Japan Open women’s singles final will go head-to-head in this year’s semifinals after world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen and world No. 4 Marjolein won their respective quarterfinals in straight sets.
Two-time Japan Open champion Griffioen faced a rematch of her 2011 quarterfinal against Japanese 18-year-old world No. 7 Yui Kamiji, which went to three sets, and Griffioen again had a tough time against the world No. 1 ranked junior before coming from 5-1 down in the first set to win 12 of the next 13 games and seal a 75 61 victory.
Buis had an altogether more comfortable time, beating her fellow Dutchwoman and world No. 9 Sharon Walraven 61 60.
Later in the day Buis and Walraven teamed up to reach what will be an all-Dutch women’s doubles final. But the top seeds had to work hard for their semifinal victory, eventually winning a final set match tiebreak against Japanese fourth seeds Kanako Domori and Kamiji to prevail 63 67(3) (10-6).
Second seeds Griffioen and van Koot’s semifinal victory was much more comfortable and ended in them beating German fourth seeds Ellerbrock and Katharina Kruger 62 63.
Wagner and Taylor to contest quad singles and doubles finals
Defending champion David Wagner and fourth seed Nick Taylor will contest Friday’s quad singles final, before pairing up later in the day for the quad doubles final after ending the hopes of Israel’s Noam Gershony and Shraga Weinberg in both events.
Wagner kept his challenge for a sixth successive Japan Open title alive after securing his fourth win in nine contests against world No. 3 Gershony. The American world No. 1 beat Gershony in straight sets in last year’s quad singles final in Iizuka, but had a much tougher task this time before winning the crucial points in the second and third sets to record a 57 64 75 victory.
As two former world No. 1 players went head-to-head in the other semifinal the first two sets were equally as close, but Taylor dominated sixth seed Weinberg in the decider to win 75 46 60.
There was yet another thrilling contest involving all four players in the quad doubles semifinals, but again Taylor and Wagner emerged on top to advance to the final 75 36 (10-8) after a match tiebreak.
With Peter Norfolk and Jamie Burdekin having bowed out of the quad singles in the quarterfinals after being beaten by Weinberg and Taylor respectively, the British second seeds eased into the doubles final after beating Chinese Taipei’s Chu-Yin Huang and Tzu-Hsuan Huang 61 62.
Fernandez reaches first Super Series semifinal
A day after beating world No. 1 Maikel Scheffers, 18-year-old Fernandez reached his first men’s singles semifinal at Super Series level after beating Belgium’s Joachim Gerard.
As the two unseeded players went head to head in the quarterfinals, Gerard having ended the hopes of world No. 5 Nicolas Peifer in the first round, it was Fernandez that dominated the contest to earn a 62 60 victory and his place in the last four against world No. 4 Ronald Vink.
Vink beat world No. 7 Robin Ammerlaan 62 64 in the only all-Dutch men’s quarterfinal to set up what could be another thrilling match at what’s already been a dramatic 28thJapan Open. Vink and Fernandez only met once before on the NEC Tour and on that occasion Vink beat Fernandez 75 16 76 in the quarterfinals of the last Super Series tournament of 2011, the US Open USTA Wheelchair Tennis Championships in St. Louis.
In the bottom half of the men’s draw world No. 2 and reigning NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Stephane Houdet was 5-1 up, but 15-0 down in the seventh game of the final set of his quarterfinal against former two-time Masters champion Stefan Olsson of Sweden when heavy rain caused played to be suspended. However, when play resumed Houdet wasted little time in wrapping up a 26 62 61 victory.
Houdet will play Japan’s world No. 3 and defending champion Shingo Kunieda in the semifinals, with the Frenchman aiming to avenge his losses to Kunieda in the 2009 and 2010 finals. After a tough second round match Kunieda looked to be nearing his best form in his first tournament back after injury when he defeated French world No. 6 Michael Jeremiasz 60 62.
Neither of the top two seeded partnerships will contest the men’s doubles final after bowing out in the semifinals.
French third seeds Frederic Cattaneo and Stephane Houdet edged Dutch top seeds Ammerlaan and Vink 75 64 in their semifinal. French and Dutch fortunes were reversed in the other semifinal as fourth seeds Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers beat second seeds Michael Jeremiasz and Nicolas Peifer 76(1) 61.
Japan Open - Latest Draws
Order of Play - Friday, 18 May
Japan Open - LIVE WEBCAST: Saturday, 19 May
The men's and women's singles finals at the Japan Open will be streamed live on Saturday, 19 May. The women's singles final is scheduled for 10.00 local time. The men's singles final is scheduled for 13.00 local time.
To access the live stream click here.