World No. 3 Maikel Scheffers (NED) beat world No. 2 Stephane Houdet (FRA) and Aniek van Koot (NED) upset her compatriot Jiske Griffioen during a fasctinating first day of wheelchair tennis action at the US Open on Thursday.
For both Scheffers and van Koot they was their first ever NEC Tour wins over their respective higher ranked opponents, but elsewhwere there were no shocks in the quad singles as both David Wagner (USA) and Peter Norfolk (GBR) began with straight sets victories.
Meeanwhile, for the first time since 2005 the wheelchair tennis event featured on one of the show courts on the opening day as world No. 1 players Esther Vergeer (NED) and Shingo Kunieda (JPN) played their first round matches on the Louis Armstrong Stadium Court.
Scheffers breaks his duck against Houdet
Maikel Scheffers took a set off Stephane Houdet (FRA) for the first time just a week ago in St Louis, but with the confidence of that performance behind him the world No. 3 ensured a first win in 12 career meetings as the men's main draw singles got underway at the final Grand Slam of 2009.
A Scheffers victory seemed unlikely as Houdet eased through the first set, building on a 3-1 lead to take the set after a double break. However a remarkable shift in momentum saw the Dutch player take nine games in a row as he moved 3-0 ahead in the deciding set. Houdet temporarily halted Scheffers' relentless progress by making it 3-1, but Scheffers continued his success and took the last three games to complete a stunning 26 60 61 victory on the third of three match points.
In an all-Dutch semifinal line-up Scheffers now plays world No. 6 Robin Ammerlaan. Ammerlaan was unable to convert any of four set points he had against Frenchman Nicolas Peifer as Peifer came back from a break down to take the first set of their contest to a tiebreak. However, Ammerlaan found some momentum to lead the tiebreak 6-0, seeing two more set points disappear before he finally gained a hold on the match. From that point on the former world No. 1 remained firmly in control and went on to seal a 76(2) 61 victory in the final match of the day to finish.
While Scheffers was involved in a roller coaster of a match against Houdet, Stefan Olsson (SWE) had a similar experience in the other half of the draw, the world No. 4 proving unable to win any of his first five games against wild card entry Ronald Vink (NED). Vink went on to take the opening set, but Olsson went on a run of eight games in a row to secure the second set and take a 2-0 lead in the decider. Vink's resistance proved more potent than Houdet's had in the final set of his match against Scheffers, but eventually Olsson wrapped up a 26 62 63 victory after a little over than 90 minutes.
Olsson plays world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda in the semifinals after Kunieda opened his bid for a second title at Flushing Meadows with a dominant victory over Martin Legner (AUT). Kunieda opened a 5-2 lead against Legner and after the Austrian failed to convert game points in the eighth game, Kunieda capitalised on his first set point. The Japanese top seed then ploughed through the second set without reply to secure a 62 60 victory.
Van Koot shocks Griffioen
Aniek van Koot made a dream debut at Flushing Meadows. Having never even taken a set off fellow Dutchwoman Jiske Griffioen in their seven previous NEC Tour meetings, van Koot took a 5-2 first set lead against the world No. 6 before Griffioen broke back to come within one game after van Koot had missed set point opportunities at 5-3. However, van Koot earned two more set points in the next game and this time made the most of her chances to take control.
She then won the first three games of the second set, establishing a cushion that was enough to see her to a 64 63 victory and a place in the semifinals, where she faces another all-Dutch contest against world No. 1 Esther Vergeer.
Vergeer began her challenge for a fourth US Open title in New York with a tricky opening contest against a resilient Florence Gravellier (FRA).
Vergeer won the last four games of the first set against the world No. 3, and as the two players exchanged service holds in the second set, it was Vergeer who finally gained the telling break to lead 6-5 before putting the seal on a 62 75 victory after 73 minutes.
World No. 2 Korie Homan (NED) made an assured start to her tournament in another potentially tricky contest against world No. 5 Daniela di Toro (AUS). Homan won the last four game of the first set to lead di Toro before the Australian former world No. 1 broke the Dutchwoman at the start of the second set. Di Toro maintained her advantage to lead 5-3, but could never earn any valuable set points as Homan hauled her way back to level the scores before going 6-5 ahead. Di Toro forced the tiebreak, but Homan established a 5-1 cushion and went on to finalise a 62 76(2) win that earns her a semifinal against her compatriot Sharon Walraven.
World No. 4 Walraven was involved in a fascinating contest against wild card entry Emmy Kaiser, the 19-year-old American more than making the most of her invitation to compete at her home Grand Slam by fighting back from 4-0 down in the first set and then taking a 2-0 lead in the second set. However, ultimately Walraven's experience saw her through to a 64 63 victory.
Norfolk fights back for opening win
After winning the inaugural quad singles title at Flushing Meadows in 2007, Peter Norfolk's bid for a repeat began slowly as he slipped 3-1 behind in the first set of his opening round-robin match against world No. 3 Johan Andersson (SWE), the Briton having had chances to go 2-0 ahead.
However, Norfolk soon found his rhythm and went on to lead 5-4. Andersson missed a chance to level the scores again and Norfolk took full advantage of his first set point.
The second set was subsequently all one way traffic, the world No. 2 going on to triumph 64 60 after 52 minutes.
However, the most comfortable victory of the day belonged to world No. 1 quad player David Wagner (USA). Wagner never let compatriot Nick Taylor in to their opening match and despite needing three match points Wagner complete a great start 61 61 after just 46 minutes.
Norfolk plays Taylor and Andersson takes on Wagner in Friday's second set of matches.
Friday's wheelchair matches at Flushing Meadows takes place on Court 7, 11 and 13.
Complete Order of Play - Friday, 11 September
LIVE Scoring for all matches will be available on the US Open Official Website.
Men's Singles Draw
Women's Singles Draw
Men's Doubles Draw
Women's Doubles Draw
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