Andy Lapthorne (pictured) and Gordon Reid maintained the home challenge as the semi-finalists were confirmed on the third day of the 25th British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
All four top seeds are through to the last four in each of the men’s, women’s and quad singles, with world No.2 Stephane Houdet of France ending Belgium’s Joachim Gerard’s title defence in the men’s singles.
The British Open is one of six events to have Super Series status, the highest tier of tournament on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, outside of the Grand Slams.
In an all-British affair in the last eight of the quad singles, world No.3 Lapthorne overcame world No.5 Jamie Burdekin 6-4, 6-1 to set up a semi-final meeting with American top seed David Wagner on Friday.
“I’m delighted to be in another British Open semi-final and I love playing at home, so I’m really looking forward to taking on the world No.1 next,” said Lapthorne. “I had a few issues at 5-1 up in the first set against Jamie today, but once I started striking the ball well again I was happy and feel confident for the rest of the week.”
Wagner wasted little time in beating his countryman David Buck 6-0, 6-0, while in the bottom half of the draw South Africa’s defending champion Lucas Sithole secured a confident 6-2, 6-0 win over British sixth seed Antony Cotterill. World No.2 Sithole will meet Australia’s world No. 4 Dylan Alcott for a place in the final, with Alcott overcoming a determined performance from the USA’s Greg Hasterok to advance 6-4, 6-4.
World No.3 Reid reached his third successive British Open men’s singles semi-final after beating French eighth seed Nicolas Peifer 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
“It was a tight first set and it could have gone either way, while in the second he looked like he was just trying to hit the ball as hard as he could on every single shot,” said Reid. “He was hitting winners all over the place and I maybe lost a bit of focus, but managed to get it back for the deciding set.”
Houdet avenged his loss to Gerard in last year’s British Open final, when the title decider was played indoors to due to rain. However, with their latest match-up played outdoors in bright sunshine, Houdet proved more consistent than his opponent to end Gerard’s reign 6-3, 6-3.
There were conflicting fortunes for two other former champions as world No.1 Shingo Kunieda, a four-time winner of the British Open, was in irresistible form as he beat Marc McCarroll 6-0, 6-0, ending the Brit’s hopes of beating a seed for the second successive day. Meanwhile, Argentina’s world No.5 Gustavo Fernandez outplayed two-time former champion Maikel Scheffers for a 6-2, 6-2 victory to set up a clash with Kunieda.
Home interest in the women’s singles came to an end after Dutch world No.2 and 2013 runner-up Aniek van Koot beat fifth seed Jordanne Whiley 7-5 6-1 after a promising start from the Brit. Van Koot meets Germany’s world No. 3 Sabine Ellerbrock in the last four, with Ellerbrock much more dominant in her quarter-final than she was in her second-round clash as she saw off Japan’s Kanako Domori 6-1, 6-0.
World No. 1 Yui Kamiji maintained the Japanese challenge and her own bid for a first British Open title after sweeping past South Africa’s world No. 8 Kgotahtso Montjane 6-1, 6-0.
In a rematch of last November’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters final Kamiji will play Dutch world No. 4 and former British Open runner-up Jiske Griffioen for a place in the final in Nottingham, with Griffioen proving much stronger than her compatriot Marjolein Buis to seal their quarter-final 6-0, 6-3.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, the British Open is a crucial tournament for the world’s leading men’s, women’s and quad players aiming to gain enough ranking points to qualify for the 2014 NEC Masters, the year-end singles championship, which takes places at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, on 26 – 30 November.
Entry to the 25th British Open is free for all spectators. Play starts at 10.00am on Friday, 18th July.