Photo: Roy Smilijanic PhotographyGordon Reid (GBR)
British players produced the headline results on the first day of the British Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, as David Phillipson and Gordon Reid both beat seeded players in the first round of the men’s singles and Adam Field reached the quad singles quarterfinals after world No.8 Anders Hard of Sweden retired from their first round match at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
Meanwhile, the closest finish of the day undoubtedly came in the women’s singles as reigning Junior Masters champion Angelica Bernal of Colombia edged out her more experienced Canadia opponent Yuka Chokyu in a final set tiebreak.
Phillipson and Reid upset Peifer and Olsson
World No. 6 Nicolas Peifer of France became the first seed to exit the men’s singles after a 63 76(7) loss to local Nottinghamshire favourite Phillipson. Phillipson edged 4-3 ahead before dominating the end of the opening set and then secured an immediate mini break after Peifer had forced second set tiebreak.
Peifer double faulted to give Phillipson his first match point, but the Briton lost his opportunity after putting in his own double fault. However a second match point was not far away and Peifer netted a backhand to give Phillipson his second win over a French top 10 player in three years after he also beat Frederic Cattaneo in the first round in 2010.
World No. 5 Olsson, last year’s British Open runner-up, came from 4-0 down and 40-0 down to snatch the opening set of his match against Reid. However, world No. 10 Reid broke at the start of the second set en route to securing a decisive double break and then powered through the deciding set in blustery conditions to claim a 57 62 60 victory in the last match of the day to finish on the centre court.
“I was pretty annoyed with myself for losing the first set, but I managed to forget about that in the second set and kept it going in the final set, so I’m pretty pleased with the performance,” said Reid who will now play South Africa’s Sydwell Mathonsi in the second round. “The wind was not going all in one direction, so the ball was getting blown all directions and made it hard and the wind had more of an affect than I thought it was going to in the first set.”
Elsewhere, Dutch world No. 2 Maikel Scheffers opened his British Open title defence with a 62 64 win over South Africa’s Eliphas Maripa, world No. 1 Stephane Houdet of France opened his campaign with a 60 61 win over young Briton Dermot Bailey and Japan’s’ three-time British Open champion Shingo Kunieda recorded a 60 61 win over his countryman Takuya Miki.
Meanwhile, world No. 9 Robin Ammerlaan replied to two losses earlier this season against Australia’s Adam Kellerman by beating Kellerman 64 60.
Hard bows out against Field
Fourth seed Hard, a quarterfinalist last year, was one of several players on the opening day who were missing items of equipment or who had had items delayed in transit to England, but the Swedish world No. 8 managed to take the opening set of his match against Field.
However, without his usual wheelchair straps, world No. 8 Hard found playing increasingly difficult in the second set and after going 5-1 down to Field, he finally decided to retire, giving Field a place in the last eight for the second successive year.
The remaining three first round quad singles matches all involved British players, but it was their overseas opponents that won the day on each occasion as Israel’s former British Open champion Shraga Weinberg beat Antony Cotterill 64 61 and Bryan Barten of USA and Lucas Sithole of South Africa both gained 62 60 wins over Richard Green and Ian Payne respectively.
Bernal edges out Chokyu in final set tiebreak
The four matches that completed the last 16 line-up for the women’s singles included Bernal’s recovery from a set down to beat Chokyu in two hours and 34 minutes in the first match of the tournament on the centre court.
Chokyu gained the early initiative after taking the last four games of the opening set, but Colombia’s reigning Junior Masters champion won the first four games of the second set en route to forcing the decider.
There was another shift in momentum as Chokyu came from 3-1 down in the third to lead 5-4, but Bernal forced the tiebreak, in which she fought back from 3-0 down and clinched match point with the last in a series of forehand winners to wrap up a 26 62 76(4) victory.
“It’s my first British Open and a very good match to start with,” said Bernal. “I am very happy because for the last two years I have waited to play Esther Vergeer and now I will have the chance. I am looking forward to it.”
Two of the other three women’s matches ended in 60 60 victories as Spain’s Elena Jacinto and Yui Kamiji of Japan beat Laura Swetman and Laura Coteman respectively. Meanwhile, Germany’s Katharina Kruger dropped just game to Britain’s Debbie Brazier and Kruiger will now play Dutch world No. 2 Katharina Kruger.
After the seeded players all had first round byes, the pick of the second round matches seed Kamiji take on Dutch world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen.
British Open Draws
Order of Play - Wednesday, 18 July 2012