In this weekly feature we’ll round up the results from our British wheelchair tennis stars competing around the globe.
2nd week in USA finishes the same as the 1st. Singles runner up, doubles champion at the Cajun Classic pic.twitter.com/p9VLemHHAQ
— Gordon Reid (@GordonReid91) March 20, 2016
Three Brits in action across three separate tournaments this week. Gordon Reid was the British highlight as he took to the court in American for another ITF 1 Series event. The Brit looked in imperious form, dispatching his first two opponents for the loss of just three games before coming up against his current doubles partner, Stefan Olsson. Reid defeated Olsson last week in straight sets but was made to work hard this time around, as the Swede swooped to steal the second set and force a decider. However, Reid’s quality shone through and he claimed the decider 6-2 to march into the final against Stephane Houdet. Houdet had lost his last seven against Reid but was in no mood to make it eight, rolling back the years to win four and four and resign Reid to the runners-up spot.
Demot Bailey was in action in the 3 Series event in Italy but, after cruising through his opening round encounter, made tough work of his quarter-final match. The fourth seed faced Stefanos Diamantis of Greece, ranked nearly 30 places below him, but after claiming the first set the Greek hit back. Bailey eventually edged out his opponent but the energy expensed in this victory would prove his undoing in the next round, as the rapidly improving Daniel Caverzaschi won 6-3 6-0.
There was also British interest in the Futures Series event in the Czech Republic, as Marc Francis took to the courts. Unfortunately there was to be no dream upset in his first overseas tournament, as he lost 6-0 6-0 to the fifth seed.
After defeat in the singles final, Gordon Reid was out for revenge in the doubles. Continuing his blossoming relationship with Stefan Olsson the pair looked in imperious form. They absolutely surged through to the final courtesy of three bagels and a breadstick where they would face Houdet and his French partner Frederic Cattaneo. On paper, the French team should have had an advantage after receiving a refreshing walkover into the final. However Reid was in no mood to be beaten twice by Houdet, smashing the French pair 6-1 6-1 to win the title for the loss of just three games.
In Italy, Demot Bailey was the second seed alongside South African, Leon Els. Bailey had a much tougher time battling through to the final than Reid. Once again it was the Greek, Diamantis, who proved an irritating opponent, forcing a deciding tie-break which Bailey eventually scraped through. There, once again, he was greeted by Caverzaschi and, once again, he was comfortably dispatched, this time 6-0 6-2. Bailey must be hoping Caverzaschi makes the step up to higher graded tournaments soon.
— Lucy Shuker (@lucy_shuker) March 21, 2016
There was more interest in the women’s draws with four of our ladies taking to the courts. In America, Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley were both in action, with both receiving byes through to the second round. Neither expended much energy in coming through their second round ties and Whiley also cruised through to the semi-finals. Shuker was made to work much harder though in her quarter-final encounter with Diede de Groot. Just two ranking places behind her, the two engaged in a tight affair, with the Brit eventually emerging victorious, winning 7-5 in the fifth.
Unfortunately that set her up a clash with world #3 Aniek Van Koot and the Dutch lady eliminated Shuker to reach the final. In the bottom half of the draw Whiley comfortably dispatched another Dutch lady, Marjolein Buis, to set up a final against Van Koot. Whiley was in sublime from in the final and claimed her first Baton Rouge title with a 7-6(7) 6-1 victory and just her fourth victory over Van Koot.
There were also two Brits on court in Italy, with Louise Hunt and Lauren Jones both in action. First round victories for the pair saw them face each other in the quarter-finals. Hunt’s experience and superior ranking came to the fore as she eliminated Hunt 6-2 6-0 to progress. As is common in wheelchair tennis, all four seeds made it to the semis and Hunt faced fourth seed Mariska Venter of South Africa. She needed a pair of tie-breaks to seal the victory but that she did to march into the final against Katharina Kruger. Hunt had not won any of her last three matches against the German and that run was to continue in Germany, with Kruger battering Hunt 6-2 6-1.
Shuker and Whiley had paired up in the doubles and found themselves up against a rather familiar Dutch pair of Marjolein Buis and Diede De Groot in the semi-final after a comfortable quarter-final victory. After Shuker defeated De Groot and Whiley defeated Buis in the singles, the Dutch pair were out for revenge. Going into a third set deciding tie-break the momentum was firmly with the Brits after sealing the second set 6-0. However they fell limply in the tie-break allowing the Dutch pair to progress through to the final.
There was to be no all-British pairing in Italy though, as Hunt and Jones played with separate partners. Hunt teamed up with her singles final opponent, Kruger, and they roared through to the final for the loss of just four games. Jones and Venter – her South African partner – made much tougher work of their run. They needed a 12-10 tie-break victory to progress through their quarter-final but stormed through their semi with a pair of breadsticks. However, the favour was returned by Hunt and Kruger in the final, as they ran out comfortable 6-1 6-1 victors, Hunt collecting her third doubles title of the year.
The British numbers one, two, and three were all in action out in America with Andy Lapthorne and Jamie Burdekin seeded two and four respectively. Antony Cotterill was also in attendance as he looked to set up a quarter-final clash with countryman Lapthorne. Cotterill faced American Nicholas Taylor, who he beat last year in Korea. It was a different case on American soil though as the home favourite came through a topsy-turvy match to win 6-1 in the third and knock out Cotterill.
Taylor’s campaign would not last much longer through as Lapthorne claimed a 6-2 6-1 victory to advance to the semi-final. He faced Burdekin who had come through two relatively straightforward matches against Gary Luker and Greg Hasterok to set up an all-British semi-final. They split the opening two sets but Lapthorne pounced in the final set, delivering a knock-out blow to defeat Burdekin 6-0. In the final, Lapthorne was greeted by David Wagner for the second consecutive week. Last week Lapthorne was comfortably beaten in straight sets and, although he took the American to a third set this week, the outcome was unfortunately the same, as Wagner won 6-2 2-6 6-4.
Lapthorne would have wanted to avenge the singles defeat in the doubles as he partnered Jamie Burdekin. However, the second seeds were denied the opportunity as Antony Cotterill and Israeli, Itai Erenlib upset them 7-6 6-3 in the semi-finals. American, Wagner, was keen to impress in front of his home crowd and, alongside fellow countryman Nicholas Taylor, they defeated Cotterill and Erenlib 6-4 6-0 to take home double silverware.