David Wagner prevails over Lucas Sithole to advance

David Wagner advanced to the quads final and Jordanne Whiley upset world No. 2 Sabine Ellerbrock at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. 07 Nov 2013
David Wagner

American David Wagner won quads doubles gold at the last London 2012 Paralympic Games and silver in the singles event.

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“Lucas is extremely strong and fast and makes you run down everything. You almost have to play high-risk against him. We may face each other again (in the final), like we did in New York at the US Open.”

Defending champion David Wagner secured his place in Monday’s (11 November) quad singles final on the second day of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, as Lucas Sithole and Andy Lapthorne head for a crucial round-robin contest between the two of them on Thursday (7 November) to decide the remaining place in the final at the Marguerite Tennis Pavilion in Mission Viejo, California.

World No. 1 Wagner of the USA made it two wins from his first two round-robin matches on when he edged ahead of South Africa’s world No. 2 Sithole in head-to-heads this season.

The Californian based five-time NEC Masters champion had a similar match to his opening contest on Tuesday against Lapthorne and was pushed hard by US Open champion Sithole in the opening set before coming from 3-1 down in a tiebreak and then saving a set point at 6-5 down.

However, Wagner prevailed and then dominated the majority of the second set to wrap up a 7-6 (6), 6-0 victory. Sithole is the only player to have beaten Wagner this season and coming into the NEC Masters both players had four wins apiece over each other.

“You never know what you’re going to get in tennis, that’s the beauty of it,” said Wagner. “Today, Lucas was strong in the first set and I just happened to get some points to go my way in the second set.

“Lucas is extremely strong and fast and makes you run down everything. You almost have to play high-risk against him. We may face each other again (in the final), like we did in New York at the US Open.”

Sithole goes into Thursday’s third day of round-robin matches with the same record of one win and one loss as Lapthorne, after world No. 3 Lapthorne came back from his opening loss to Wagner to defeat American world No. 4 Nick Taylor, 6-2, 6-2. That means the winner of Thursday’s contest will join Wagner in the final.

Lapthorne currently leads Sithole 2-1 in head-to-heads this season, but Sithole won their crucial final round-robin match in three sets in a similar scenario at the US Open in September before going on to win his first Grand Slam title.

Whiley stuns No. 2 Ellerbrock

Jordanne Whiley made a highly impressive NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters debut on Tuesday when the Brit beat world No. 2 and top seed Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany in the opening women’s singles round-robin matches on Tuesday.

Whiley arrived in Mission Viejo with one previous win over Ellerbrock this season, which also came in USA, in the semi-finals of May’s Atlanta Open. The current world No. 7 won their Atlanta contest in three close sets and after Ellerbrock had much the better of the opening exchanges, and Whiley dominated the second and third sets of their Pool 1 match for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

The other Pool 1 match also went to three sets and also involved a British player as world No. 8 Lucy Shuker took Dutch world No. 5 Marjolein Buis to a deciding set for the second match in succession.

Shuker beat Buis in the quarterfinals of last month’s Nottingham Indoor, the final ITF 1 Series tournament on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, for her first win this season over a world top-five ranked player. However, Buis held on in the final set this time for a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 win.

Griffioen begins title defence in style

Defending champion Jiske Griffioen secured one of two Dutch wins on the opening day of the women's singles, the world No. 3 clinching her first Pool 2 match against South Africa’s world No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane, 6-1, 6-1.

Meanwhile, Japan’s world No. 4 Yui Kamiji made a confident start to her first NEC Masters after beating world No. 9 Sharon Walraven of Netherlands, 6-2, 6-0.