Great Britain stunned former women’s champions China in the second day of round-robin pool ties on Tuesday at wheelchair tennis’ World Team Cup in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.
Hopes of a return to the final for the Chinese received a significant blow as Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley combined to earn Great Britain a stunning 2-1 victory.
The opening singles rubber saw Whiley losing to Zhenzhen Zhu 6-1, 7-5 in a rematch of last Friday’s Israel Open final at the same venue.
Shuker faced a seemingly tough assignment against Hui Min Huang in the second singles rubber, but handled the pressure to prevail 6-3, 7-6(5), thereby forcing the tie into the doubles.
Two-time Paralympic bronze medallists Shuker and Whiley proceed to win the doubles with relative ease 6-1, 6-2.
Great Britain were not the only team to claim an all-important doubles decider on the second day of competition as Angelica Bernal and Johana Martinez gave Colombia the 2-1 victory against Russia after winning 6-3, 6-2.
The Netherlands opened their bid for a 31st women’s title with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Switzerland after dropping a total of just two games in six sets of tennis in Pool 1.
Second seed Japan dropped just one game in each of their two singles rubbers on the way to a 3-0 win over Brazil in Pool 2.
Three of the four semi-finalists in the quad event are already decided, with London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Noam Gershony among the players still unbeaten after two days of competition.
He led Israel to victory again, this time against Brazil 2-1. “The World Team Cup is my favourite tournament,” said Gershony, a former helicopter pilot in the Israeli armed forces.
“I’m doing a lot of things at the moment, but life on tour was not for me. But I play every time the national team calls. I train with them throughout the year, but for this tournament I train harder for the few months before the event comes around.”
Japan also beat USA in round-robin competition and will now play Israel for the top position in Pool 1. Whatever happens, both teams will join Great Britain in the semi-finals.
Great Britain are through the semi-finals once again after making it two wins in two ties in Pool 2 with a 2-1 victory over South Africa. With just three teams in Pool 2 this year, the winner of Wednesday’s tie between South Africa and Canada will complete the list of semi-finalists.
Japan, France, Argentina and Great Britain all won their second ties and will most likely be the semi-finalists of the men’s competition.
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda led the Japanese team in their 3-0 victory against USA in Pool 1, while defending champions France beat Sri Lanka also 3-0 in Pool 2.
In Pool 3, Gustavo Fernandez has shown impeccable form as Argentina defeated South Africa 2-1. Pool 4 will have an exciting decisive tie, with Great Britain and Belgium going head-to-head after winning their respective matches.
Selected matches are being live streamed on the International Paralympic Committee homepage.