Lapthorne makes winning start at US Open

5th September 2014
by Marshall Thomas

Andy Lapthorne made a winning start to his second US Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition on Thursday in New York, beating American world No. 6 Nick Taylor 6-4, 6-3 in the first of his three quad singles round-robin matches.

World No. 3 Lapthorne took a commanding 5-2 lead before wrapping up the first. The Brit then broke Taylor’s serve midway through the second set to secure victory.

“It's always tough in the first match of a Grand Slam and I'm really pleased to get a win under my belt, especially in those hot conditions in the middle of the day,” said Lapthorne after his straight sets win. “I didn't feel like I got out of first gear and was over hitting a bit, but I found my rhythm more as the match went on and I'm confident I can improve my play and take that into the rest of the week.

“My aim is to win this title and nothing less than that will be okay. But I feel good and I'm confident every match I go into so can't wait to get back on court tomorrow,” added Lapthorne, who goes on to play South Africa’s world No. 2 and defending champion Lucas Sithole on Friday and American world No. 1 David Wagner on Saturday in his remaining two round-robin matches.

The top two players after the round-robin phase of the competition will go through to Sunday’s final.

While Lapthorne got off to a good start, there was disappointment for Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley in their opening men’s and women’s singles matches.

World No. 3 Reid built on an early break in the second set of his men’s singles contest against world No. 4 Gustavo Fernandez to take the Argentinian to a decider, but after sharing the first four games of the final set with Reid, Fernandez went on to record a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win.

Whiley made a fine effort as she tried to take Dutch world No. 5 Marjolein Buis to a final set, too, coming from 3-0 down in the second set of their quarter-final to draw level at 4-4. But Buis secured one last break to earn a 6-1, 6-4 win and book her place in the semi-finals.

However, all three Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme maintain hopes of playing for major honours at the final Grand Slam of the year, with Whiley and Reid both due to begin their doubles challenges on Friday.

Whiley and Japan’s Yui Kamiji, the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon champions, will play Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane as they start their quest to win all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles in the same calendar year.

Reid and Dutchman Maikel Scheffers, the runners-up in the men’s doubles at the Australian Open in January, will play French duo Michael Jeremiasz and Nicolas Peifer in their semi-final, while Lapthorne is set to contest the quad doubles title decider later in the week.