28 Sep 2017

Wagner, Sithole into French Riviera quad final

News Article

Photo: Reg CaldecottLucas Sithole (RSA)

David Wagner and Lucas Sithole are through to the first final line-up to be decided at the inaugural French Riviera Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, in Biot.

Wagner and Sithole will meet for the fifth time this season when they contest the ITF 2 Series quad singles final at the prestigious Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, which has Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams, as its president.

Mouratoglou and France’s former world No. 1 and four-time Paralympic medallist Michael Jeremiasz are both ambassadors for this week’s tournament, with Jeremiasz making his debut in a tournament directorship role.

Wagner has a current unbeaten record against South African world No. 3 Sithole that stretches back to the 2015 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, with Sithole’s last win against USA’s current world No. 1 having come at the 2015 British Open.

Despite dropping his first set of tennis to world No. 9 ranked Brit Antony Cotterill in their 13 head-to-heads, Wagner recovered well for what was, in the end, a comfortable 36 61 60 semifinal victory on Thursday’s third day of play. Meanwhile, for the second match in row, Sithole came through a tougher second compared to the first set to beat Britain’s Richard Green 61 64.

Wagner and Sithole will also meet in the quad doubles final.

Sardinia Open runners-up Cotterill and Sithole are top seeds again this week and defeated the all-Brit partnership of Green and James Shaw 62 62 in their semifinal. The all-American pairing of Marc McLean and Wagner dropped just one game more as they won their semifinal against Petter Edstrom and Antonio Raffaele 62 63.

Seeds ease into men’s semis

With ten matches and two rounds of the men’s singles completed, the closest match to date has been Takashi Sanada’s 63 61 first round win over South Africa’s Evans Maripa. However, fourth seed Sanada had a walkover into the last four following the withdrawal of Nico Langmann

Sanada now plays second seed Nicolas Peifer for a place in final following Peifer’s 61 61 win over Tom Egberink of Netherlands.

In the top half of the draw, top seed Gordon Reid and fourth seed Stefan Olsson both dropped just one game apiece in their respective quarterfinals against Luca Spano and former world No. 1 Laurent Giammartini.

Reid and Olsson will now meet for the third time this season, with Olsson having beaten Reid in their last two meetings, including in the opening round at Wimbledon in July.

De Groot survives early scare against Capocci

While Wagner dropped his first set of tennis to Cotterill, in the women’s singles world No. 2 Diede de Groot dropped her first set of tennis to Italy’s Giulia Capocci.

Admittedly, de Groot and Capocci’s career head-to-head only stretches to two matches in the last four months, but with Capocci still only in her second season on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, she demonstrated her ability despite eventually bowing out 26 62 60.

De Groot is one of two Dutchwomen who features in the semifinals after fourth seed Michaela Spaanstra gained her first win over Brit Louise Hunt in three matches between them this season.

Spaanstra won 64 62 and she and de Groot will now play last week’s Sardinia Open finalists Katharina Kruger and Charlotte Famin, respectively. 

Famin’s first match since making her women’s singles Top 10 debut in this week’s rankings ended with the Frenchwoman beating Switzerland’s Annabellie Ribeaud 60 60.

Spaanstra plays second seed Kruger for a place in the final following Kruger’s 61 61 quarterfinal win over her doubles partner, Russia’s Polina Shakirova.