Masters 2018: Super Stefan Olsson

Former champion beats world No.1 to reach men’s last four 30 Nov 2018
male wheelchair tennis player Stefan Olsson plays a forehand on a hard court

Stefan Olsson made it back to back wins to reach the knockout stages of the 2018 Wheelchair Tennis Masters

ⒸErin Maher

Ten years on from winning his first wheelchair tennis Singles Masters, Stefan Olsson booked his place in this year’s semi-finals after beating world No.1 Shingo Kunieda on 29 November, in Orlando, USA.

The Swede won 7-5, 6-3, with the Japanese receiving treatment to loosen up his back in the second set.

“I was aggressive from the first point, pretty much. I was trying to be as aggressive as possible. He always has a high tempo, but if I can get my slice to work against his backhand I know I’m in really good shape to do what I want to do out there, so I’m super happy,” said Olsson.

Kunieda will now play Gordon Reid in their final Pool A match to decide who joins Olsson in the last four. The Brit recovered from his loss to Olsson to see off Frenchman Nicolas Peifer 7-5, 6-3.

In Pool B, Gustavo Fernandez secured his place in the semi-finals after defeating 2015 and 2016 champion Joachim Gerard 6-4, 6-4.

Stephane Houdet maintained his chances of progressing from out of Pool B after securing a 6-2, 6-2 win over Japan’s Takashi Sanada. Houdet now plays Fernandez, while Gerard meets Sanada.

Wagner woe

In a rematch of the 2017 quad singles final, world No. 3 Andy Lapthorne beat ten-time Singles Masters champion – and world No.1 - David Wagner 6-4, 6-1.

The Brit will now play South Africa’s Lucas Sithole to complete Pool A.

“It’s been tough when you go on a bad run against someone and I know, deep down, that I’ve thrown a few away,” said Lapthorne.

“Sometimes in tennis you go on these runs for no reason and it’s taken a lot of mental work and mental effort to come out the other side and to keep turning up and to keep putting the hours in.

“So today was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, not just myself, so I’m just very proud that I finally got the win (against Wagner) and this is just the start.”

World No. 2 Dylan Alcott is already guaranteed a place in the semis after making it two Pool B wins in two days thanks to a 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Japan’s Koji Sugeno.

Sugeno will face Alcott’s fellow Australian Heath Davison to decide Group B's second semi-finalist.

“I’ve basically played really well all week, so far and I’m enjoying myself,” said Alcott. “I never really noticed the score, I’m just trying to have fun and play well, but I almost lost in in the second set.

“I lost concentration and was thinking about lunch. You know, when you get too close to the finish…so I was very happy to close it out.

“It’s going to be very tough in the semi-finals, whether it’s Wagner or Lapthorne and hopefully Heath can get through, too.”

Final rematch still on

Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji, last year’s women’s singles finalists, are safely through to the semi-finals after both made it two wins in two days.

In Pool A, Japan´s world No.2 Kamiji beat Netherlands´ 2014 champion Aniek van Koot 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, while van Koot´s compatriot Marjolein Buis secured a 6-0, 6-4 win over South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane.

Now, the Dutch players will play a must-win contest to decide who joins Kamiji in the next round.

World No.1 Diede de Groot defeated Italy´s Giulia Capocci 6-4, 6-1 in Pool B, while Sabine Ellerbrock beat Lucy Shuker 6-0, 6-3.