South Africa’s Lucas Sithole edged out Britain’s Andy Lapthorne to win his first quad singles title at the Nottingham Indoor Wheelchair Tennis Tournament on Saturday’s penultimate day of play at the ITF 1 Series event.
Brits Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley will contest Sunday’s men’s and women’s singles finals against Nicolas Peifer of France and Diede de Groot of the Netherlands respectively after winning their semi-finals at Nottingham Tennis Centre. Meanwhile, Lapthorne and fellow Brit Jamie Burdekin won the quad doubles title and Dutch duo Marjolein Buis and Michaela Spaanstra won the women’s doubles final against Britain’s Lucy Shuker and Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa.
In a rematch of the British Open quad singles final in July, world No.4 Sithole came from 5-3 down to snatch the opening set against Lapthorne and got the better of a thrilling finale to close out a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 win and make it two titles from two visits to Nottingham this year.
“I’m very pleased to win my first Nottingham Indoor title, Nottingham has been very good to me this year and I’m hoping I can make it three titles in Britain this season when we go to the Masters in London," said Sithole.
"It was a really good final, but as I’ve done a few time this year I let the lead slip, but I’m looking forward to playing him again at the Master in a couple of weeks,” said Lapthorne, who will face Sithole in the round-robin phase of the quad singles at the ITF’s year’s end wheelchair tennis singles championship on 2-6 December.
Whiley remained on track in her bid to emulate Sithole’s achievement and add the Nottingham Indoor title to the British Open women’s singles title she won in July after beating fellow Brit Lucy Shuker 6-3, 6-2.
“Lucy was hitting some big balls to start with but then I worked out where she was sitting and I tried to push into the corners and started to gain more confidence. It was a good win and I’m really looking forward to playing Diede tomorrow because I’ve never played her before,” said world No. 4 Whiley, who won her first Super Series singles title at the British Open in July before going on to win her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in September.
De Groot produced arguably the upset of the tournament so far when the 19-year-old Dutch world No.9 beat second seed and world No. 5 Sabine Ellerbrock for the first time, winning the other women’s semi-final 7-6(4), 6-3.
Reid will bid to win his fourth Nottingham Indoor men’s singles title on Sunday after the world No.5 and fourth seed beat French top seed and world No.2 Stephane Houdet 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2.
“I’ve got a good game plan against him and know my tactics now after beating him the last five times we’ve played, so I guess I should have finished it in straight sets today. But I stayed confident in the final set and knew exactly what I had to do and I executed well, so I’m confident for the final,” said Reid, who will now face another Frenchman, world No. 3 Nicolas Peifer, in the final after Peifer’s 6-4, 7-5 win over Belgium’s Joachim Gerard.
After missing out in the quad singles final, Lapthorne paired up with Burdekin to win the quad doubles final after the top seeds defeated the USA’s Bryan Barten and Brazil’s Ymanitu Silva 4-6, 7-5, (10-4).
Buis and Spaanstra got the upper hand in a thrilling conclusion to the women’s doubles final, beating Shuker and Montjane 3-6, 6-4, (10-5) after a deciding match tie-break.
The men’s doubles final will see French third seeds Frederic Cattaneo and Houdet take on Gerard and Sweden’s Stefan Olsson after Cattaneo and Houdet beat Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Japan’s Takuya Miki 6-1, 6-3 in their semi-final.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, the Nottingham Indoor is an ITF 1 Series event on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and is held at Nottingham Tennis Centre. The tournament is supported by Nottingham City Council and entry is free to all spectators. For more information please visit www.wheelchairtennis.org.uk.
Tickets for the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters start from just £2 for community groups and schools up to a maximum of £15 for the weekend semi-finals and finals. All kids can come along for a quid and there is an Activity Zone full of entertainment for all the family. Tickets can be purchased at www.wheelchairtennismasters.com.