01 Oct 2006

Wagner fights back to stay on course in Atlanta


NEWS ARTICLE

David Wagner (USA) flirted with defeat against compatriot Nick Taylor on Saturday, but fought back to stay on course for a possible hat-trick of Quad Singles titles at the Life University Masters Series, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, in Atlanta.

World No 2 Wagner got the better of a second set tie-break and the had the edge in the decider to beat Taylor 26 76(4) 64 and set up a finale against World No 1 Peter Norfolk (GBR).

While Wagner is now unbeaten after two round robin matches, Norfolk is also unbeaten so far following his 61 76(5) win on Saturday over Giuseppe Polidori (ITA).

This sets up an intrigiung final head-to-head on Sunday, with Norfolk bidding to win his first title in Atlanta. The two rivals met in the Quad Singles final in Atlanta in 2004, when Wagner got the better of Norfolk in two tie-breaks in what was an otherwise undfeated season for the Athens Paralympic champion.

Sunday's Men's Singles final at the ITF Masters Series event is an enticing contest between second seed Robin Ammerlaan (NED) and fourth seed Shingo Kunieda (JPN).

Ammerlaan was presented with a simlar task to Wagner after losing the first set of his semi-final against third seed Satoshi Saida (JPN) 26. However, the World No 2 asserted late on in the second set and eventually ended prospects of an all-Japanese final as he defeated Saida 26 75 62.

Meanwhlle, Kunieda had a decidedly more comfortable pathway to Sunday's final, defeating Tadeusz Kruszelnicki (POL) 60 63 in the other semi-final.

World No 2 Florence Gravellier (FRA) saw her challenge end in the Women's Singles in a similar fashion to her countryman Michael Jeremiasz's demise in the Men's Singles earlier in the week.

Injury ruled Gravellier out of her semi-final against Korie Homan (NED), giving Homan passage into an all-Dutch final against defending champion and World No 1 Esther Vergeer. Vergeer had one of her more challenging recent matches, but still came through her semi-final against compatriot Sharon Walraven for a comfortable 64 62 win.

Saturday's pemultimate day of play in Atlanta saw the Quad Doubles and the Women's Doubles titles both being decided.

Top seeds Wagner and Taylor successfully retained their Quad Doubles title in imperious fashion, defeating Norfolk and Polidori 60 60.

Meanwhile Vergeer and Jiske Griffioen (NED) retained their Women's Doubles title with a 61 63 win over Young Suk-Hong (KOR) and Karin Suter-Erath (SUI). Hong and Suter-Erath were surprise finalists after edging out second seeds Gravellier and Walraven 75 64 in the semi-finals.

The remaining doubles title to be decided will see top seeds Martin Legner (AUT) and Saida take on the all-Dutch pairing of Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink in the Men's Doubles final. Legner and Saida defeated the French partnership of Frederic Cattaneo and Stephane Houdet 63 64 in their semi-final. Meanwhile, the inury that led to Jeremiasz's retirement from his Men's Singles quarter-final earlier in the week also saw the Frenchman and Ammerlaan having to pull out of their Men's Doubles semi-final. Their withdrawal brought a walkover into Sunday's final for Scheffers and Vink.

Life University Atlanta Masters latest Drawhseets.

Life University Masters Series Official Website.



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