In this new weekly feature we’ll round up the results from our British wheelchair tennis stars competing around the globe.
There were four tournaments on the ITF Wheelchair Tour last week but the Brits were very much enjoying their home comforts as they were only present at the ITF 2 Series event in Bolton..
Pensacola Open – ITF 1 Series
The Quad singles event saw the return to action of Bolton Champion, Andy Lapthorne, as well as Jamie Burdekin and Antony Cotterill. In the first round, Cotterill came up against American Greg Hasterok who he had not faced since 2013. Despite an eight place rankings difference, Cotterill was upset by the 39-year-old American and lost 6-2 3-6 6-2. Fourth seed Burdekin comfortably dispatched Marc Mclean 6-0 6-1 whilst second seed Andy Lapthorne received a bye to the quarterfinals.
Both Burdekin and Lapthorne lived up to their seedings as they comfortably dispatched their unseeded quarter-final opponents, dropping just nine games in total. As is common in wheelchair singles, all four seeds made it through to the semi-finals and as is also common, the top seeds progressed to the final.
Neither semi-final was a contest. Burdekin was well-beaten by top seed David Wagner 6-0 6-1. Lapthorne recorded an equally routine victory, beating Israeli Itay Erenlib 6-0 6-2. The two last met at the Australian Open, with Lapthorne battling through 6-4 in the final set. This was a totally different story though, as Wagner dominated from the off, eventually sealing the title in a 6-1 6-3 victory.
We beat world no1 (USA) doubles team 3-6/6-0(10-4) in championship tie break! Pensacola Open 2016 doubles Champs! 🏆 @lapstar11 👍🏼
— Jamie Burdekin (@JamieBurdekin1) March 13, 2016
All three Brits were also in doubles action as Burdekin and Lapthorne teamed up whilst Antony Cotterill was with Israeli Itay Erenlib. The all-British pair were the second seeds so had a bye through to the semi-final. They were joined there by Cotterill and Erenlib who beat their American opponents 6-1 6-1.
It was a similar story to the singles, with the two seeded pairs reaching the final, again for the loss of just nine games between them. Cotterill was beaten by Taylor and Wagner 6-1 6-2 and met Burdekin and Lapthorne after their 6-2 6-4 victory.
In the final, the first set went the way of the British pair as they took it 6-3. However the #1 seeds roared back, bageling the Brits to steal all the momentum and level the match. Seemingly from nowhere, Burdekin and Lapthorne battled back, sealing the championship tie-break 10-4 to claim the title.
Australian Open Champion, Gordon Reid, was the sole British representative in the men’s singles he was keen to continue his good form. The second seed stormed through to the final, dispatching sixth seed and doubles partner, Stefan Olsson, and fourth seed Maikel Scheffers on route.
On the other side of the draw, top seed Stephane Houdet was upset by third seed Gustavo Fernandez in the semi-final. Reid went into the final as the favourite, especially having already beaten Fernandez twice this year. However, Fernandez was in the mood for another upset, and triumphing 6-3 6-4 to claim his first title since last August.
After teaming up in Rotterdam, Gordon Reid decided to remain with Swede, Stefan Olsson, and the decision paid dividends as the pair claimed their first title as a duo in breath-taking fashion. After dishing out a double bagel in the opening round match they then made short work of their Dutch opponents in the semi-finals, rounding out a 6-3 6-1 victory.
That 6-3 6-1 scoreline ended up being rather popular with Reid and Olsson as they repeated it in the final against Stephane Houdet and Frederic Cattaneo.
— Lucy Shuker (@lucy_shuker) March 13, 2016
As with the men’s singles, Britain had just one participant, with world #7 Lucy Shuker flying the British flag. After a bye through her opening round she faced Chile’s Maria Diaz in the second round, who she beat by a bagel and a breadstick.
In the quarter-finals Shuker faced Dana Mathewson, who had upset eighth seed Natalia Mayara in the previous round. The in-form Mathewson put up quite a fight, pushing Shuker close in both sets. However, the Brit’s higher ranking shone through as she eventually won 6-4 6-4.
Victory set up an encounter with world #3 and top seed Aniek Van Koot. After a rain delay forced the match to be postponed at 2-2 in the first set, Shuker came out flying, taking the first set on a tie-break. It continued to be a tight match in the second set, but a late break of serve saw Shuker defeat van Koot and march through to the final 7-6 7-5.
Unfortunately, due to the rain delay the final was to be played on the very same day, and the draining semi-final match took its toll. Shuker ran out of gas in the final against third seed Marjolein Buis. She lost 6-3 7-5 but it was still a superb week for the British #2 regardless.
After trading blows on opposite ends of the court in the singles, Shuker and Van Koot were on the same team in the doubles, where they were seeded first. However, a quarter-final shock saw them lose to the unseeded Chinese pair of Huang and Zhu. The upset is made less disappointing by the fact that the Chinese pair then defeated the fourth and third seeds to claim the title.
Biel-Bienne Tournament – ITF 3 Series
The British numbers #3 and #5 were in action in Switzerland and were on course for a quarter-final clash with each other. Top seed Marc McCarroll cruised through his match against South African Leon Els but Dermot Bailey was unable to complete an upset over Frenchman Gaetan Menguy, ranked 17 places higher than him. Bailey put up an awe-inspiring fight, but came up just short, losing 7-5 6-7(3) 7-6(4).
Despite his top seeding, McCarroll was made to battle his way through to the final, defeating Bailey’s conqueror 7-6 6-1 and then Ricky Molier, from Holland, 7-5 7-5 in the semi-final.
In the final McCarroll faced rising Spaniard Daniel Caverzaschi. The second seed had reached the final for the loss of just seven games. This would eventually prove important as McCarroll’s battles through the week came back to bite him in a long three-set final. Despite his best efforts, McCarroll was unable to overcome the Spaniard, losing 6-4 5-7 6-3. Caverzaschi is proving a thorn in the side of British players as that takes his win loss ratio to 4-0 over them in 2016.
Bailey and McCarroll teamed up in the doubles but their campaign did not last long as they were defeated by the Polish pairing of Kamil Fabisiak and Tadeusz Kruszelnicki, 6-2 6-3, in the opening round.
Luz Esperanza Merry made the most of her thirteen-place rankings advantage over Lucyna Mietrkiewicz to book her place in the second round of the ladies singles whilst fourth seed Louise Hunt received a bye.
Merry’s opening round victory sealed a clash with top seed and world #10 Katharina Kruger. The gulf in class showed as Merry went out 6-1 6-0. Meanwhile, Hunt made short work of her opponent, winning by a double bagel to set up a clash with fifth seed Ludmila Budnova.
However, youth was no match for experience on the day as the 37-year-old Bubnova sealed a 7-6(6) 6-1 victory to knock out Hunt and book her spot in the semi-finals.
There was a feeling of symmetry between the men’s and women’s doubles as the two Brits also teamed up, only to be knocked out in the first round.