Great Britain’s world No.3 Andy Lapthorne booked a place in his first British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships quad singles final today after defeating American world No.1 David Wagner 6-2, 6-2 at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
Lapthorne, previously a winner of the quad doubles at the Super Series tournament, earned an early break against Wagner before rain forced the players off court and on the resumption Wagner levelled the set at 2-2. However, Lapthorne reeled off the next four games to clinch the opening set before taking a commanding 4-1 lead in the second set en route to sealing his sixth career win over Wagner and his third against the top seed this season.
“I’ve been training so hard these last few months and it’s just about going onto the court and believing in yourself and believing in what you’ve been doing on the training court,” said 23-year-old Lapthorne, who will now play Australia’s Dylan Alcott in Saturday’s final. “I’m absolutely ecstatic to beat the world No.1 in my home Super Series.”
Alcott ended the title defence of South Africa’s Lucas Sithole to advance to Saturday’s decider. The Australian held a slender 2-1 first-set advantage before rain halted play, and Alcott dominated when the action resumed to reach his second successive Super Series final after finishing runner-up to Sithole in last month’s French Open. Alcott and Lapthorne have met just twice before, each player winning one three-set contest apiece.
The reigning champion also went out in the semi-finals of the women’s singles as Dutch world No.2 Aniek van Koot edged world No.3 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany 7-5, 6-4 to reverse the result of last year’s final.
Van Koot will bid to go one better than 2013 when she meets Japan’s Yui Kamiji in Saturday’s final after both women’s semi-finals produced fascinating matches. World No.1 Kamiji won a roller coaster of a match against world No.4 Jiske Griffioen of the Netherlands, eventually pulling through for a 7-5, 1-6, 6-1 victory that sets up a final between the world’s top two ranked players.
After Lapthorne’s victory there was more success for British players as London 2012 bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley reached Sunday’s women’s doubles final. Whiley will bid to add the British Open title to her Wimbledon doubles crown after she teamed up with Shuker to beat Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane 7-6(2), 6-1. The British second seeds will play top seeds Kamiji and van Koot, who came from behind in the second set of their semi-final against Ellerbrock and Griffioen to prevail 76(3) 75.
The fourth seeds are into Saturday’s men’s doubles final after Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Nicolas Peifer of France beat French second seeds Frederic Cattaneo and Stephane Houdet 7-6(5), 7-5. Fernandez and Peifer will meet top seeds Joachim Gerard and Maikel Scheffers for the title after the Belgian-Dutch partnership overcame Japanese third seeds Shingo Kunieda and Takashi Sanada 6-1, 7-5.
Earlier on the penultimate day of play the men’s singles semi-finals will take place, featuring the world’s top four ranked players, including Great Britain’s Gordon Reid, Kunieda, Houdet and Fernandez.
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.
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 NEC Wheelchair Tennis 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 9.30am on Saturday, 19th July.