Peter Willcox and Lewis Fletcher take British hopes of a men’s singles medal into Wednesday’s third day of play at the World Deaf Tennis Championships at Nottingham after the seeds started their challenges on Tuesday’s second day of competition.
Willcox, the 12-time National champion and tournament 12th seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Guo-Wei Huang 6-0, 6-0 in his first match of the week to book a last 16 contest against Germany’s Sebastian Schäffer.
“It was a good start to my tournament and a nice warm up for the rest of the week,” said Wilcox. I felt like I was hitting the ball well and I’ve got a much tougher match now, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Fletcher, the 15th seed, also beat India’s Prashanth Dasharatha Hamsabhavi 6-0, 6-0. Fletcher will play fourth seed Vincent Novelli of France fourth for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I’m very happy with my win today. It was a solid start to the week and I’m just taking it one match at a time,” said Fletcher.
However, Jack Clifton and Esah Hayat both saw their men’s singles bids come to an end. Nineteen-year-old Clifton gave it his all against 2013 Deaflympic gold medallist Gabor Mathe before Mathe progressed 6-1, 6-1. And 13-year-old Hayat also had a tough time against Austrian fifth seed Mario Kargl, the bronze medallist at the Sofia Dreaflympics in 2013. Kargl moved on to the quarter-finals 6-0, 6-2.
The first day of competition for the seeded players saw India’s Prithvi Sekhar beat ninth seed Maxim Sanchez of France 6-0, 7-5, while Reiki Kajishita of Japan defeated 14th seed John Lui of Australia 7-6(2), 6-2.
Later in the day Clifton and Fletcher reached the men’s doubles quarter-finals. The eighth seeds beat the French partnership of Alexandre and Maxime Sanchez 6-2, 6-1.
Britain’s Bethany Brookes and Beth Simmons booked their place in the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles as they beat India’s Nishtha Dudeja and Parul Gupta 6-2, 6-1. Brookes and Simmons face Chinese Taipei second seeds Chui-Mei Ho and Chia-Wen Lin for a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Brookes and Clifton advanced to the second round of the mixed doubles after a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Japan’s Hideyuki Shinchi and Hanae Yamaguchi.
However, it was a tough second day of competition for the British players in the women’s singles, who all played leading seeded players.
Beth Simmons lost out to second seed Chui-Mei Ho and Valerie Copenhagen lost to top seed Heike Albrecht of Germany with the top two seeds both advancing 6-0, 6-0. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Phoebe Suthers gave her best against fourth seed Beatriz Villamandos-Lorenzo of Spain. However, with Suthers making her senior international debut this week, the more experienced Spanish player moved on to the quarter-finals 6-1, 6-0.
Four of the seeded players also went out of the women’s singles. It was a good day for the players from the USA as Emily Hangstefer overcame Chinese Taipei third seed Chia-Wen Lin 6-2, 7-6(2) and Amanda Wu beat sixth seed Verena Fleckenstein of Germany 6-3, 7-6(0).
Hangstefer will play Vasiliki Kalogeropoulou of Greece for a place in the semi-finals after Kalogeropoulou knocked out seventh seed Anastasia Chumak of Russia 6-1, 6-2.
Jana Janosikova of Slovakia will play reigning Deaflympic Games champion Albrecht in the last eight after edging out Spanish fifth seed Raquel Villamandos Lorenzo 7-5, 6-4.
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.