Israel beat USA in one of the most eagerly-awaited quad encounters on Monday’s first day of wheelchair tennis round-robin competition at the World Team Cup in Rama Hasharon.
The hosts earned a thrilling 2-1 victory led by former world No. 1 and London 2012 gold medallist Noam Gershony, who won both his singles and doubles matches together with Shraga Weinberg.
The day’s other Pool 1 quad event also ended in a deciding match tiebreak as world No. 3 Koji Sugeno and world No. 8 Ymanitu Silva both won relatively one-sided singles rubbers for Japan and Brazil, respectively.
The Latin American team went on to claim a tense 7-6 (4), 5-7, 11-9 victory in the doubles to secure the win.
Pool 2 saw former champions Great Britain earning a 3-0 win over Canada as world No. 4 Andy Lapthorne marked his return to competition after picking up a wrist injury at the Australian Open.
Age is no barrier for Legner
After starting his World Team Cup journey in 1991, wheelchair tennis ‘veteran’ Martin Legner led Austria to a 2-1 victory over USA in the men’s event.
Legner has played more World Team Cups than anyone representing their country in Israel this week, having also helped his country win this year’s European Qualification. He won both his singles and doubles rubbers alongside Nico Langman.
Meanwhile, the other Pool 1 tie ended in a 3-0 win for Japan against Poland, a contest that saw world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda begin his week with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
Elsewhere, France opened its bid to regain the men’s title with a 3-0 victory over Brazil, while Spain defeated Sri Lanka.
Fourth seed Argentina and former men’s champions Netherlands both secured 3-0 wins in Pool 3, defeating Israel and South Africa respectively.
Meanwhile, 2017 bronze medallists Belgium beat China 3-0 in Pool 4, where 2015 champions Great Britain achieved a 2-1 win over South Korea.
2018 finalists China victorious
The 2017 women’s champions began their latest campaign at the World Team Cup with a 3-0 win over France with women’s singles and doubles victories from Hui Min Huang and Zhu Zhenzhen.
Colombia and South Africa also went head-to-head in Ramat Hasharon, with the latter winning 2-1, while Thailand beat Brazil also 2-1. The Swiss team delivered a clinical 3-0 win against USA.
As the women’s competition enters its second day on Tuesday, one of the most intriguing ties will see the Chinese team face Great Britain. Netherlands opens its bid for a 31st title on Tuesday against Switzerland.
Selected matches are being live streamed on the International Paralympic Committee homepage.