Defending champions Shingo Kunieda and Yui Kamiji head the seeding for the men’s and women’s singles, respectively, at the Japan Open, which begins Tuesday (12 May) in Iizuka, Fukuoka, Japan.
But the home favourites will be challenged in the six-day tournament that has drawn other world ranked wheelchair tennis players to the courts.
French world No. 2 Stephane Houdet, world No. 3 ranked Briton Gordon Reid and 2013 champion Maikel Scheffers (No. 7) of the Netherlands will all look to push Kunieda this week. World No. 7 Takashi Sanada and world No. 20 Takuya Miki join Kunieda in strengthening the Japanese challenge.
The Japan Open – part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and the third Super Series event of the year – also features seven-time champion David Wagner, who heads the seeding for the quad singles.
The American is just one of the five world’s top-10 players contesting in the men’s quad singles.
South Africa’s Lucas Sithole won his first Japan Open quad singles title by thwarting Wagner’s bid for an eighth successive victory. Now, the world’s No. 4 player looks to carry over his success from the Airports Company South Africa Open last month, when he upset Wagner.
Five of the world’s top-ranked women’s singles players contest in this year’s tournament: Dutch world No. 3 Aniek van Koot, Germany’s world No. 4 Sabine Ellerbrock and Great Britain’s Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker, ranked No. 6 and No. 9 respectively.
Kunieda won his seventh men’s singles title in Iizuka in 2014. He and fellow world No. 1 Kamiji secured a Japanese double in Fukuoka for the first time. Kamiji won her second successive women’s singles title in 2014.
For more information about the Japan Open, visit the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) website.