Mixed fortunes for Brits
06:29 04 December 2015
Belgian produces big upset
There were mixed fortunes for British players on day two of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters at Lee Valley, while the world number one saw a 77-match winning streak come to an end.
Brits Lucy Shuker and Andy Lapthorne both celebrated wins, but there were defeats for Jordanne Whiley and Gordon Reid.
The big story of the day saw Belgium’s Joachim Gerard score a sensational upset to defeat top seed Shingo Kunieda, ending a 77-match winning streak for the Japanese superstar.
Shuker kept her hopes of progressing to the semi-finals alive with victory of Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock 3-6 7-6 6-4, while Londoner Lapthorne made up for his opening defeat with a 6-4 4-6 6-0 win over Israel’s Itay Erenlib.
Whiley suffered an agonising 6-3 4-6 7-6 loss to top seed Jiske Griffioen and Scotland’s Reid went down in straight sets to France’s Nicolas Peifer 6-4 6-4.
And those results mean all of the Brits are still in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, but need victories to progress.
Whiley said: “The first set went by quite quickly so I felt like I had to change my tactics. I saw that worked so I took the second set and took a lead in the third set but I got a bit ahead of myself.
“The tie-break was like no other I’ve played before, I lost count of how many match points I had, I don’t even want to know to be quite honest.
“If you’re going to go out you might as well go out in three sets and a tie-break that’s never ending, but I’m really disappointed because I did have so many chances and no matter how much I tried I just couldn’t get the ball past her.
“I train for those kind of matches, I did feel a bit tired towards the end but maybe it didn’t show. You just get tight, you get nervous and I think that’s what got the better of me in the end.
“I’ve got to win so I need to recover and get my mind back on the tennis.”
Shuker said: “I’m delighted with the win, I felt I hit the ball well and I was pleased with my shot making. The first set was scrappy, but I played with more confidence in the second and third sets.
“Sabine is a tough competitor and I needed tro push hard on court. My new Top End tennis chair is good and I’m moving well around the court.”
Lapthorne added: “It was a roller coaster of a match, my concentration and choice of shot making must improve in these tight matches.
“I need to control the rallies and select the right time to hit the winners and also block out the other distractions around the court.
“Having a fall out of my wheelchair at the start of the final set seemed to jolt me in a positive way and I never looked back and won the final set easily.”
Reid mused: “I returned poorly, gave him too many cheap points, and made a lot of errors. Two breaks, one in each set, was the difference. It was a close match but when you make that many mistakes you can’t expect to win.
“I’ve just got to look back at the match, analyse it then put it in the past and focus on the match tomorrow.”
The big talking point was Gerard’s success, but he was remaining calm and said: “I’m just happy for the moment but it doesn’t mean I’m already the best in the world. I have to stay focused because it’s going to be a tough match too against Gustavo (Fernandez).
“For the moment I’m really happy and I’m going to try to enjoy it. I don’t think it was my best tennis, I tried to give the ball back because I saw that Shingo was not at his best too, but sometimes when you don’t play your best and you win that means you are a good player.
“I tried to do my best, I served very well and when I could make the points I did and when I couldn’t, I got the ball back, it’s not easy to play someone on this fast surface.
“I don’t know what my celebration was, before the match I thought about what I would do if I win and finally it was just happiness, I laughed, I think it was just all the stress coming out.”
All four British players aree in action again today.
Results, Men’s Singles Group A: J. Gerard (BEL) beat S. Kunieda (JPN) 2-6 6-2 7-5; G. Fernandez (ARG) beat T. Sanada (JPN) 6-4 6-2.
Group B: N. Peifer (FRA) beat G. Reid (GBR) 6-4 6-4; S. Houdet (FRA) beat M. Scheffers (NED) 6-1 6-4.
Quad Singles: A. Lapthorne (GBR) beat I. Erenlib (ISR) 6-4 4-6 6-0; D.Wagner (USA) beat L. Sithole (RSA) 6-2 4-6 6-0
Women’s Singles Group A: J. Griffioen (NED) beat J. Whiley (GBR) 6-3 4-6 7-6; L. Shuker (GBR) beat S. Ellerbrock (GER) 3-6 7-6 6-4.
Group B: M.Buis (NED) beat K.G.Montjane (RSA) 6-4 6-2; A.Van Koot (NED) beat Y. Kamiji (JPN) 6-2 6-2.