World top two Sabine Ellerbrock and Aniek van Koot will contest the women’s singles final at the 24th British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships at Nottingham Tennis Centre tomorrow.
World No. 1 Ellerbrock, the only one of the four women’s singles semi-finalists not to hail from the Netherlands, beat world No. 4 Marjolein Buis 6-4, 6-2 to reach her first British Open final.
Ellerbrock took the lead for the first time in the match at 3-2, but the two players were level at 4-4 after the first eight games before Ellerbrock gained the breakthrough she needed. The German top seed went on to build a 5-1 second set lead before completing victory.
“I felt more comfortable on the court today than yesterday and I served better, so I’m very happy with my win to get to my first British Open final,” said Ellerbrock. “I know what I have to do with my tactics against Aniek, so now I have to execute it. I always know that I have to go high risk when I play her.”
Van Koot, runner-up last year, reached her second British Open final after defeating her doubles partner, world No. 3 and former runner-up Jiske Griffioen, 7-6(0), 6-1.
Griffioen and van Koot exchanged breaks of serve throughout the opening set as it came down to a tie-break, which van Koot raced through without dropping a point. After that the world No. 2 dropped just the third game of the second set.
“I didn’t think I could pull it off today because Jiske is a very tough opponent, so I’m delighted to be in the final again,” said van Koot. “It was a really intense battle at the start and I’m really pleased that I managed to stay calm in the tie-break. Tomorrow I’m just going to play it point by point. You don’t get the chance to win a British Open title all the time, so I’m just going to go for it.”
There will be an all-British mixed doubles final on Saturday after local Nottinghamshire player David Phillipson partnered Louise Hunt to beat the second seeds in their semi-final. Phillipson and Hunt won their second championship tie-break in successive days to defeat Japan’s Satoshi Saida and Miho Nijo 2-6, 6-4, (10-8).
Phillipson and Hunt face top seeds Marc McCarroll and Jordanne Whiley in the final after McCarroll and Whiley beat South African top seeds Lucas Sithole and Kgothatso Montjane 6-0, 7-5.
“I woke up in the second set and obviously we like the pressure of playing championship tie-breaks,” joked Phillipson. “It was great fun and we know Marc and Jordanne will be tough opponents, but we’ll give it our best shot.”
Saturday’s men’s doubles final will be between the top two seeded partnerships. Top seeds Stephane Houdet of France and Ronald Vink of the Netherlands held off a strong challenge from British fourth seeds McCarroll and Gordon Reid, but Houdet and Vink eventually held on for a 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory. They will now play second seeds Michael Jeremiasz and Maikel Scheffers after the French-Dutch pairing defeated Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo and Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 6-1, 6-4.
Also on Saturday’s penultimate day of play world No. 4 Reid faces world No. 2 Houdet in the men’s singles semi-finals.
Dutch defending champions Griffioen and van Koot came from 5-3 down in the second set of their women’s doubles semi-final to beat the third seeds, Ellerbrock and Hunt 6-2, 7-5. Top seeds and two-time Wimbledon champions Griffioen and van Koot will play third seeds Marjolein Buis and Montjane in the final after Buis and Montjane overcame Britain’s London 2012 women’s doubles bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Whiley 6-2, 6-3.
The fourth day of the 24th British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships also included a visit from Judy Murray, who inspired a group of disabled youngsters in a community taster session with help from GB players Fabrice Higgins, Shain Lewis, Thomas Mellor and Peter Millar, who returned from the Czech Republic earlier this month having won four medals at the INAS World Tennis Championships for elite para-athletes with a learning disability.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships is one of six events to have Super Series status, the highest tier of tournament on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour outside of the Grand Slams.