Russia’s Egor Panyushkin and Britain’s Esah Hayat were among the players to produce impressive performances in the senior and junior events on Thursday’s fourth day of the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
While Hayat and Phoebe Suthers take British hopes into Friday’s boys’ and girls’ singles semi-finals, hopes of a home medal in the senior events came to an end on Thursday after the British partnerships went out of the men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Russian third seed Panyushkin beat the 2013 Deaflympic bronze medallist Mario Kargl of Austria 6-0, 6-2 in what is just his fourth deaf tennis tournament. The 21-year-old will now play French second seed play and multiple Deaflympic and European champion Mikael Laurent of France. Laurent reached Saturday’s semi-finals after beating the seventh seeded German Sebastian Schaffer 7-5, 6-1.
“I expected to win today, but it was a much tougher match than 6-0, 6-2 suggests it was. There were a lot of close games,” said Panyushkin.
There will be two Frenchmen in the men’s singles semi-finals after fourth seed Vincent Novelli and Hungary’s reigning Deaflympics champion Gabor Mathe also secured straight sets wins. They will now go head-to-head for a place in the final.
The USA’s Emily Hangstefer is the only non-seeded player to reach the women’s singles semi-finals after she won her quarter-final against her Vasiliki Kalogeropoulou 6-2, 6-0.
The American will play German top seed Heike Albrecht in her semi-final after Albrecht won her last eight match against Jana Janosikova 6-1, 6-2. Second seed Chui-Mei Ho of Chinese Taipei and fourth seed Beatriz Villamandos-Lorenzo beat Americans Amanda Wu and Laura Chapman in the bottom half of the women’s draw and they will now meet for a place in the final.
As the World Deaf Youth Tennis Championships got underway, 13-year-old Hayat beat Russia’s Roman Malyshev 8-1 in a pro-set to earn a boys’ singles semi-final against Frenchman Alexandre Sanchez.
“I was very nervous today as my opponent was very good and much older than me, but I played my shots well and got my tactics right and I’m really looking forward to my semi-final,” said Hayat.
Twelve-year-old Suthers has a bye into Friday’s girls’ singles semi-finals, where she will play Slovakia’s Janosikova.
Austrian third seeds Rogert Gravogl and Kargl beat Britain’s Jack Clifton and Lewis Fletcher 6-3, 6-3 to book their place in the men’s doubles semi-finals alongside partnerships from the USA, Australia and France.
There were also tough contests for Britain’s two partnerships in the mixed doubles. Jack Clifton and Bethany Brookes bowed out 6-3, 6-2 to German top seeds and world No. 1 pairing Albrecht and Breitenberger, while Lewis Fletcher and Beth Simmons saw their challenge come to an end against brother and sister Daniel and Emily Hangstefer, the American third seeds, 6-2, 6-3.
Meanwhile, Hayat and Suthers bowed out of the youth mixed doubles, slipping to an 8-6 loss to Germany’s Johannes Behr and Israel’s Rotem Ashkenazy.
More than 70 players from 20 countries are taking part in the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, in association with UK Deaf Sport, the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships is sanctioned by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). For more details visit www.worlddeaftennischamps.co.uk.