Lapthorne, Whiley and Reid into US Open finals
Andy Lapthorne, Jordanne Whiley and Gordon Reid will play for up to four US Open titles this weekend after a fine second day for the three Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme in New York on Friday.
Lapthorne remained firmly on course in his bid for a first Grand Slam quad singles title when he beat South African world No. 2 and reigning champion Lucas Sithole 6-2, 6-3 in the second of his three round-robin matches, having already beaten American world No. 6 Nick Taylor 6-4, 6-3.
World No. 3 Lapthorne will go into Saturday’s third and last day of round-robin matches as the only one of the world’s top three ranked players currently unbeaten.
“I said yesterday that I didn’t really get out of first gear but I’d say today I was more like in sixth! I’m so happy with that win for so many reasons, but mainly because I’ve put myself within touching distance of a Grand Slam singles final,” said Lapthorne, who now plays American world No. 1 David Wagner in his last round-robin match. The top two players after the completion of the round-robin phase of the competition on Saturday will go through to Sunday’s final.
“I’m really looking forward to the doubles final tomorrow, too, and my aim is definitely to leave New York with two Grand Slam titles,” added Lapthorne, who teams up with Sithole for the quad doubles decider on Saturday against three-time Paralympic gold medallists Taylor and Wagner. Lapthorne will be bidding for his second Grand Slam doubles title of 2014 after partnering Wagner to win his third Australian Open doubles title in January.
Top seeds Whiley and Japan’s Yui Kamiji will face Dutch defending champions Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot in Saturday’s women’s doubles final after being given a walkover by their scheduled semi-final opponents Sabine Ellerbrock and Kgothatso Montjane.
It means Whiley is one step closer to creating a piece of British tennis history as the London 2012 bronze medallist and Kamiji, the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon women’s doubles champions, bid to complete a calendar year Grand Slam. No Brit has previously won the same event at all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year.
“It’s never nice to reach a final via a walkover but we are totally ready for tomorrow and will fight all the way to pick up that fourth Grand Slam title,” said Whiley. “Yui is playing some great tennis here and I found my rhythm more towards the end of my singles quarter, despite the disappointing loss, so we feel well prepared and confident. We’ve beaten Aniek and Jiske plenty of times this year so now it’s time for one more.”
In the last match of all to finish on Friday night at Flushing Meadows Reid and Dutchman Maikel Scheffers beat French duo Michael Jeremiasz and Nicolas Peifer 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in their men’s doubles semi-final. The second seeds won the last three games of the opening set and came from 3-2 down in the deciding set to reach their second Grand Slam final together, having finished runners-up to Houdet and Kunieda at the Australian Open in January.
“We’ve both been a bit disappointed with our singles game this week so to play so well together and come through such a tough match is brilliant,” said Reid. “We had our chances and didn’t take all of them but we took the ones that mattered in the end. I can’t wait to be back in a Grand Slam final, so it’s a quick bit of food now and a massage and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow. We know how good Stephane and Shingo are so we’ll have to be on top of our game.”