Photo: Takeo TanumaGordon Reid (GBR)
Britain’s Gordon Reid was the only player to upstage a higher ranked opponent as the men’s and women’s singles semifinalists were decided during Thursday’s first day of the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, while USA’s world David Wagner and South Africa’s Lucas Sithole won the opening quad singles round-robin matches in New York.
World No. 6 Reid took a commanding 5-1 first set lead over world No. 4 Joachim Gerard of Belgium and although Gerard saved three set points en route to pulling one game back, Reid eventually clinched the set on his fifth set point.
Gerard took a 2-0 lead in the second set before Reid fought back to edge ahead 4-3. However, the Belgian dug deep to force the deciding set after winning three games in succession. There was never more than one game separating the two players for the first nine games of the final set, but Reid eventually earned the breakthrough he needed to wrap up a 62 46 64 victory to reach his second Grand Slam semifinal of the year.
Reid will now play world No. 2 Stephane Houdet of France for a place in the final following Houdet’s comprehensive 60 62 win over Dutch world No. 3 Maikel Scheffers.
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda opened his bid for a fifth men’s singles title in New York with a match on the Louis Armstrong Stadium court, as the Japanese top seed and Argentina’s world No. 5 Gustavo Fernandez brought the day’s schedule to a close on one of the show courts at Flushing Meadows.
Kunieda built on 3-0 leads in both the first and second sets to defeat Fernandez 61 62 and will go on to face world No. 7 Michael Jeremiasz for a place in the final. From being 3-0 up in the second set against world No. 8 Ronald Vink, Jeremiasz withstood a comeback from the Dutchman to claim the last two games for a 62 64 victory.
Buis joins world’s top three in women’s semifinals
With the now-retired six-time US Open champion Esther Vergeer in New York on the opening day with different things to focus on than dominating her opponents on the court, the quest to joins Vergeer on the women’s singles roll of honour began with two of her fellow Dutchwomen reaching this year’s semifinals.
Marjolein Buis, who is making her second competitive appearance in New York this year, has seen Japan’s Yui Kamiji replace her in the world’s top four ranked players this week, but Buis joined Kamiji in the semifinals after a hard-won straight sets victory over Britain’s Lucy Shuker.
Buis and Shuker exchanged games throughout the first set of their quarterfinal before Buis narrowly avoided being taken to a tiebreak. The world No. 5 then gained a vital cushion to lead the second set 5-3 and although world No. 7 Shuker saved match points at 5-3 and 5-4 Buis finally converted the point she needed to seal a 75 74 win.
Buis will play world No. 1 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany in Friday’s semifinals. Ellerbrock led Britain’s world No. 8 Jordane Whlley by a set and 5-1 before Whiley fought back to 5-4 in the second set. However, Ellerbrock finally wrapped up her first win in New York 62 64.
Kamiji also made a winning debut at Flushing Meadows, holding off a determined effort from South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane to beat the world No. 63 63.
On paper, one of the most eye-catching match-ups on the first day of the wheelchair tennis competition was that between world No. 2 Aniek van Koot and world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen, but van Koot won the last four games of the opening set and built on a commanding 5-1 second set lead to serve out for a 62 62 win over her Dutch compatriot and doubles partner. Van Koot will play Kamiji for a place in the final.
Wagner, Sithole make solid starts in quad singles
After being taken to three sets twice by Andy Lapthorne at January’s Australian Open, world No. 1 David Wagner dominated large parts of their opening quad singles round-robin match in New York. Wagner opened up a 4-0 second set lead en route to sealing a 63 61victory and he will now continue his bid for a third successive US Open title when he takes on South Africa’s world No. 3 Lucas Sithole.
If Sithole felt any nerves as he made his Grand Slam debut he certainly didn’t show them in his opening match against American world No. 4 Nick Taylor. He won the first four games of the opening set and the first three games of the second set en route to completing a 62 62 win.
Lapthorne will play Taylor in his second round-robin match as the Briton aims to get his challenge for a place in his second successive Grand Slam singles final back on track.
Men's singles draw
Men's doubles draw
Women's singles draw
Women's doubles draw
Quad singles draw
Quad doubles draw
Order of Play - Friday, 6 September 2013