Photo: James Jordan PhotographyLucas Sithole (RSA)
David Wagner and Lucas Sithole, the top two seeds, will contest Saturday’s quad singles final at the 24th British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, while the men’s singles and women’s singles semifinalists were also decided on Thursday’s third day of play at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
World No. 3 and second seed Sithole came from 3-0 down in the opening set of his quad singles semifinal against Britain’s 2012 runner-up Jamie Burdekin to prevail 64 64. Victory sets up his third Super Series singles final of the year and his second against American world No. 1 Wagner, who Sithole beat in Johannesburg in April to reach his first Super Series final at the SA Open.
“Jamie was playing well in those first three games and after that I told myself just to concentrate on each point, so it feels good to be in the semifinals,” said Sithole.
Wagner went out in the semifinals in 2012 to Burdekin, but the two-time British Open champion ensured his place in another final after beating Canadian third seed Sarah Hunter 62 61.
“Sarah’s a good player, so I always have to be ready for her, and be ready to play my best,” said Wagner. “Today I played well enough to get through and I look forward to being in the final this weekend. I’m going to give it everything I have, because I really want this title to take home with me.”
Gerard and Jermiasz upset the odds
Both quarterfinals in the bottom half of the men’s singles draw went against the seeding as Belgian fifth seed Joachim Gerard and seventh seed Michael Jeremiasz of France both progressed to the semifinals in three sets.
Gerard beat fourth seed Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina 63 26 62, while Jeremiasz exchanged two one-sided sets with Dutch world No. 3 and two-time British Open champion Maikel Scheffers. Jeremiasz won the opening two games of the deciding set before Scheffers hit back, but it was the Frenchman that finished the stronger for a 61 06 75 victory that earns him a semifinal against Gerard.
Third seed Gordon Reid secured a 75 63 win over French eighth seed Frederic Cattaneo in his men’s singles quarterfinal, the world No. 4 and 2012 finalist progressing to a semifinal against top seed Stephane Houdet of France. World No. 2 Houdet secured a comfortable 63 62 win over Dutch sixth seed Ronald Vink.
Top four women's seeds advance to semifinals
Sixth seed Lucy Shuker held 3-0 and 5-4 second set leads in her women’s singles quarterfinal against Germany’s world No. 1 Sabine Ellerbrock, but Ellerbrock held on in a tight conclusion to seal a 61 75 victory over the Brit that sets her up for a semifinal against fourth seed Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands.
Buis had a tough opening set against American-based Chilean eighth seed Francisca Mardones, with a succession of close games, but Buis’s consistency finally told as she prevailed 64 60.
The other women’s singles semifinal will be an all-Dutch contest between world No. 2 Aniek van Koot and world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen. Van Koot ended the challenge of British seventh seed Jordanne Whiley 62 62 with Griffioen holding off fifth seed Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa also 62 62.
The men’s and women’s doubles semifinal line-ups were also decided, with all four-seed partnerships advancing comfortably in both events.
Meanwhile, with mixed doubles being trialled at some of the Super Series events on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, mixed doubles returned to the British Open on the third day of play, as South African top seeds Sithole and Montjane moved into a semifinal against British duo Marc McCarroll and Whiley.
David Phillipson and Louise Hunt edged fellow Brits Alfie Hewett and Shuker 57 64 (103) after a match tiebreak in an entertaining quarterfinal to set up a semifinal against Japanese second seeds Satoshi Saida and Miho Nijo.