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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Tennis

Masters 2018: Giulia Capocci stuns Sabine Ellerbrock

Major upset on opening day of wheelchair tennis season-ender 29 Nov 2018
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female wheelchair tennis player Giulia Capocci plays a forehand on a hard court

Giulia Capocci pulled off a stunning debut victory on the opening day of the 2018 Wheelchair Tennis Masters

ⒸErin Maher
By ITF

Giulia Capocci delivered an outstanding performance in Orlando, USA, claiming her first win against Sabine Ellerbrock for her first victory at the Wheelchair Tennis Singles Masters.

After a dominant first set by Germany’s world No. 4 Ellerbrock, Italy’s Capocci broke midway through the second on her way to forcing the decider.

The world No.6 came from 5-4 down to take the match to a final tiebreak, before completing a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) victory with a forehand down the line winner on her third match point after two hours and five minutes.

“It’s incredible because I had dreamed about this moment, but I was not sure this morning that I was ready,” said Capocci. “The conditions here were cold and windy. It was very difficult, but I’m very happy to take this match.

“When I started the match I was very rigid, so I took one set to relax and to understand the composition of the court. The first set I did not play (well), but the next set I just restarted and all was good.”

The other women’s Pool A match on Wednesday’s (28 November) was far less dramatic as world No. 1 Diede de Groot achieved a routine 6-1, 6-0 win over Lucy Shuker. The Dutch top seed now meets Capocci in their next round-robin match.

The first day’s play in Pool B also brought wins for 2013 women’s singles champion Yui Kamiji and 2014 champion Aniek van Koot against Marjolein Buis and Kgothatso Montane, respectively.

Great start for Gerard

Two-time Masters champion Joachim Gerard began his bid for a third title with a strong finish to his Pool B contest against 2011 champion Stephane Houdet.

Belgium’s world No. 6 made a slow start and some errors which helped Houdet in the opening set. Gerard needed three set points at the end of the second set before eventually forcing a final set. But thereafter he maintained the momentum and ultimately prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

“I think I was too passive at the beginning of the match. In these conditions - it was very windy - you cannot hope to beat Stephane if you don’t make him move, so the second and third sets were better,” said Gerard.

Argentina’s 2017 world champion Gustavo Fernandez is the next opponent for Gerard after proving too strong for Japan’s Takashi Sanada and winning 6-2, 6-2 win.

Current Australian Open and Roland Garros champion Shingo Kunieda and reigning Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson will meet in Pool A after defeating Frenchman Nicolas Peifer and Great Britain's Gordon Reid respectively.

Top two triumph

The world ‘s top two quad singles players David Wagner and Dylan Alcott opened their campaigns with straight sets wins in their respective three-way round-robin pools.

World No. 1 Wagner made the best of home advantage in USA to beat Lucas Sithole 6-3, 6-4 in Pool A.

The ten-time champion will now play world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne.

The all-Australian Pool B contest between Alcott and world No. 5 Heath Davidson saw the reigning Australian Open and US Open champion win his first Masters match since the 2014 final 6-2, 6-0.

Alcott will now play Koji Sugeno of Japan.