Photo: Sardinia OpenAntonio Raffaele (ITA)
Three of the four quad singles quarterfinals and two of the four men’s singles quarterfinals went to three sets on a dramatic third day at the Sardinia Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, on Thursday.
Top seed Antony Cotterill of Great Britain and second seed Antonio Raffaele both had to survive crucial tiebreaks before succeeding in keep their quad singles title ambitions on course. In Cotterill’s case he came back from a set down to claim a second set tiebreak before finally wrapping up a 26 76(3) 63 win over Italy’s Giuseppe Polidori.
Raffaele lost his second set tiebreak against American Marc McLean, but he dominated the third and final set tiebreak for a 75 67(6) 76(0) win to set up an all-Italian semifinal against Marco Innocenti.
Innocenti battled back to eliminate a second seeded player from the quad singles in successive days, defeating Swedish third seed Marcus Jonsson 26 75 62. Meanwhile, after beating fourth seed Adrian Dieleman there was another notable victory for Boaz Kramer, who moved into the last four after a 63 61 win over his fellow Israeli and former world No. 1 Shraga Weinberg, with Kramer securing just his second career win over Weinberg in 15 matches. Kramer will play Cotterill for a place in the final.
Gerard survives scare to reach men’s semifinals
Joachim Gerard’s men’s singles title defence looked to be in grave danger after he trailed Australian fifth seed Ben Weekes 4-0 in the third and deciding set of their quarterfinal. World No. 15 Weekes was two points away from taking a 5-0 lead against the world No. 4 and third seed, but Gerard’s fortunes changed dramatically and he went on to seal a remarkable 36 63 64 victory.
“It was a very good match of my opponent but not for me,” said Gerard on his Twitter account, despite having won. However, Weekes saw his performance differently. “Now I know what it feels like to choke. Don't recommend it,” Tweeted Weekes.
There was also difficulty for fourth seed Michael Jeremiasz, who dropped a set of tennis to South African fifth seed Evans Maripa for the first time in three matches on the NEC Tour, all of which have taken place this year. However, world No. 7 Jeremiasz held on for a 64 26 62 victory that means that two Frenchmen will feature in the semifinals.
World No. 2 Stephane Houdet swept into a semifinal against Gerard after a comprehensive 61 61 win over Austrian seventh seed Martin Legner to keep his hopes alive of adding to his men’s singles title in Sardinia in 2007. Jeremiasz, who finished runner-up to Houdet in 2007, will face world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda in his semifinal after the Japanese top seed powered his way to a 60 61 win over British eighth seed David Phillipson.
Top four seeds into women’s semifinals
In comparison to the men’s singles and quad singles quarterfinals, the last eight matches in the women’s singles passed with few problems for the top four seeds.
Dutch third seed Sharon Walraven and fourth seed Marianna Lauro of Italy both eased to 61 60 wins over seventh seed Janel Manns of Australia and eighth seed Karin Suter-Erath of Switzerland respectively.
Walraven will play her doubles partner Jordanne Whiley for a place in the singles final after the British second seed defeated fifth seed Charlotte Famin of France 63 62. World No. 2 Sabine Ellerbrock continued her title defence with a 63 61 win over Britain’s Louise Hunt. Top seed Ellerbriock will take on Lauro in Friday’s semifinals.
Sardinia Open Draws and Latest Order of Play