Lapthorne keeps final hopes alive at Singles Masters

8th November 2013

Andy Lapthorne kept his hopes of reaching a third successive NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters quad singles final alive when he beat American world No. 4 Nick Taylor 6-2, 6-2 in his second round-robin match on Wednesday in Mission Viejo, California.

World No. 3 Lapthorne goes into his third and final round-robin match against world No. 2 Lucas Sithole later today with the same record as the South African of one win and one loss after the first two days of competition, meaning that his contest against Sithole will decide which of them will face American world No. 1 and defending champion David Wagner in next Monday’s final.

“I’m glad to get a win under my belt and to stay unbeaten against Nick for the last three seasons,” and Lapthorne. “I’ve got a really tough must-win match now if I am to keep up my record of reaching the final of every Masters I’ve played and I want to make up for being edged out of the US Open by Lucas.”

World No.4 Gordon Reid also faces a must-win men’s singles contest against Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez later today after a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Japan’s world No. 1 and defending champion Shingo Kunieda in the second of his three round-robin matches.

Reid also has one win and won loss after his first two matches, the same record as world No.5 Fernandez, who Reid has beaten twice in three matches between the two players this season.

Meanwhile, Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker will go head-to-head on Friday in the third and final round robin match in their women’s singles pool, a contest that Whiley must win if she is to progress to the semi-finals – a feat that Shuker narrowly missed out on achieving in 2010.

Both Brits went to three sets for the second day in succession on Wednesday but, after her superb opening win over German world No. 2 Sabine Ellerbrock, world No. 7 Whiley was edged out 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 by Dutch world No. 5 Marjolein Buis.

World No. 8 Shuker had also taken Buis to three sets on the opening day of play and she also forced Ellerbrock to a deciding set before the top seed got the better of the closing stages for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory. With Buis already through the semi-finals after two wins from two matches, if the Dutchwoman beats Ellerbrock and Whiley beats Shuker, Whiley will automatically earn a place in the last four.  

A total of nine Brits from the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme are contesting the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and the ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters in Mission Viejo from 5 - 11 November. The Doubles Masters will begin today.