In this weekly feature we’ll round up the results from our British wheelchair tennis stars competing around the globe.
Week 14 – ACSA SA Open (ITF Super Series)
Three Brits remained in action down in South Africa for only the second Super Series event of the year. Gordon Reid was seeded fourth whilst Alfie Hewett and Paul Stewart also found themselves in the frame. The draw was kind for Alfie and Paul who both managed to avoid seeds in the first round. Both made the most of this opportunity. Paul’s victory booked him a date with world number one Stephane Houdet, who made light work of his opponent, winning 6-1 6-0.
In-form Alfie took on sixth seed Maikel Scheffers and put up a sterling fight. After dropping the opening set he then fought back to level it up. Eventually though, the Dutchman was able to close it out, triumphing 6-4 in the final set. Meanwhile, Gordon comfortably won to set up a clash against semi-regular doubles partner, Stefan Olsson. Despite a number of close encounters recently, Gordon was not able to compete with the Swede, who claimed the victory 6-4 6-3.
In the doubles, Gordon and Alfie were paired up as the second seeds whilst Paul teamed up with American Casey Ratzlaff. Paul was able to claim an impressive opening round victory but could not come through against the fourth seeds in the quarter-finals, losing to Evans Maripa and Olsson 6-1 6-0.
There was better luck for Alfie and Gordon who stormed through to the final for the loss of just 10 games. They were met by top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer. Once again, the seedings proved accurate, with the French pair winning the trophy with a 6-4 6-4 title.
There was one less British competitor on the women’s side but both Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker were seeded. This meant that the fourth and seventh seeds both received a bye through to the second round. Both were drawn into the same quarter and inevitably met in the quarter-finals. They really could not have been any tighter sets, with Jordanne eventually prevailing winning two tie breaks 10-8 and 9-7. That hard fought victory set up a tie with the top seed, Jiske Griffioen. Although Jordanne took the first set 7-5 the match began to run away from her and she eventually succumbed to a 5-7 6-0 6-2 defeat.
In the doubles, the British pair teamed up and were the second seeds. However, they were upset in the semi-final by the third seeds Marjolein Buis and Kgothatso Montjane.
It was a thinner field in the Quads category but the Brits were well represented with Andy Lapthorne, Jamie Burdekin, and Antony Cotterill occupying the fourth, fifth and seventh seeds respectively. As with the men’s and women’s singles tournaments it went to seedings, with all eight seeds reaching the quarter-finals. It was the same in the semi-finals, with Jamie falling to the third seed and Antony losing to second seed David Wagner. Wagner would face Andy in the semi-final but Andy did not have enough, with the American prevailing to reach the final.
There was more success for Andy and Jamie in the doubles as they reached the final. They came up against unseeded Australian pair Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson and after splitting the first two sets it went to a deciding tie-break. Unfortunately, it was the Australian’s who emerged victorious, coming through to claim the title and leave the Brits without a title in South Africa. Antony Cotterill was also in action but was knocked out in the first round alongside Greg Hasterok.
Israel Open (ITF 2 Series)
Louise Hunt and David Phillipson were the two Brits to make the journey out to Israel as many Brits were still heading back from South Africa. Louise was the star of the show as she came up against second seed Micahaela Spaanstra in the semi-final. After getting bagelled in the first set it looked all lost for Louise but suddenly she turned it around to win the next 6-3 before forcing a tie-break in the decider. The Brit kept her nerve to squeak through winning 7-5 to progress to the final.
Four years ago Louise travelled to Israel and won the trophy, qualifying for London 2012 and claiming her first ever ITF 2 Series silverware. Four years later and she would take home the trophy for the second time. Impressively, she beat the World #10, Katharina Kruger in two tight sets, 7-5 7-5. Louise would then inflict double misery over Kruger and Spaanstra as she also defeated them in the doubles to claim that title as well and ensure that it was, once again, a very successful trip over to Israel.
For David it was a far more conventional week. In true wheelchair tennis style, the four seeds made the semi-finals so with David seeded fourth he lived up to his billing. However, from there he was routinely beaten by the first seed, and one of just a few travellers from South Africa, Maikel Scheffers. He did manage to get revenge in the doubles by upsetting Scheffers in the semi-final to reach the final. However he was unable to overturn top seeds Takuya Miki and Takashi Sanada who went home with the trophy.
Open Sarreguemines (ITF 3 Series)
The final Brit to don the courts under the British flag in this quiet week was Lauren Jones in France. The 20-year-old produced one of the few seeded upsets of the entire fortnight as she eliminated fourth seeded Spaniard Lola Ochoa in the quarter-final to advance to the semi-final. Considering Ochoa was 14 places higher in the rankings, the 6-3 6-2 victory looks all the more impressive. Unfortunately she could not repeat the feat in the semi-final, coming up short against Marianna Lauro, the second seed.
Lauro again proved her undoing in the doubles draw, as she, alongside fellow Italian Giulia Capocci, comfortably defeated Lauren and her partner in the opening round. That loss looked less disappointing in the long run though, as the Italians marched on to claim the trophy, upsetting both seeded pairs on the way.