British No.1 Lucy Shuker and local favourite James Shaw both came through tough three set matches on Tuesday’s opening day of the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships to reach the quarter-finals of the women’s singles and quad singles respectively.
Meanwhile, among the British success it was a big day for rising young star Ruairi Logan after the 15-year-old gained his first senior match win at the British Open to set up a an all-Brit second round contest on Wednesday against world No.3 and Rio Paralympic silver medallist Alfie Hewett.
Shuker led Brazil’s Natalia Mayara by a set and 5-0 before Mayara reeled off seven straight games to take their women’s singles first round contest to a deciding set. The first of several rain breaks on the day took the players off court at 2-2 and deuce in the final set, but Shuker came out confidently on the resumption to wrap up a 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 victory.
“I’m always apprehensive going up against someone I’ve not played before, but am happy to have come through it. I made a really good start and really should have finished it in two sets, but Natalia started making her shots and I moved away from my game plan. But I got it back together and I am very pleased to be in the quarter-finals,” said Shuker, who now plays 2014 champion and fourth seed Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany.
One of the last two matches to finish on the opening day of play saw fourth seed and world No. 6 Marjolein Buis recover from a slow start to avoid an early loss to South Africa’s world No.8 Kgothatso Montjane. The Dutchwoman eventually prevailed 1-6, 7-6(2) 6-3.
Nottinghamshire’s Shaw made a winning bow in the quad singles this year, eventually beating fellow Brit Richard Green 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-1 after being a set and 5-3 down.
The 22-year-old world No. 15 goes on to play the USA’s world No. 1 David Wagner in the last eight on Wednesday. It will be the first time Shaw has played Wagner in singles competition.
“After I’d gone a set and 5-3 down I went back to my top spin game and thought that if I miss out doing this, then at least I’m doing something different and I’m trying to turn it around. Thankfully I slowly started to make my shots, gained more confidence and then I wasn’t thinking so much about my shots and it all came really natural in the third set,” said Shaw, who joined the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme at the end of 2014.
Britain’s Antony Cotterill will also be among the quad singles quarter-finalists after coming through another difficult three set match, defeating American Greg Hasterok 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
There was something of an upset in another of the quad singles first round matches when world No.10 Bryan Barten of the USA beat Dutch world No.8 Sam Schroder 7-6(5), 6-3.
The men’s singles began with a straight sets win for Logan, the winner of the junior singles at the 2016 British Open. He defeated Pakistan’s Asif Abbasi 6-3, 6-3 to set up his meeting with Hewett.
Wednesday’s play will see appearances by all the seeded players who had first round byes, meaning that Rio Paralympic champion and world No.2 Gordon Reid will be in men’s singles action against Brazil’s Daniel Rodrigues. Also in the men’s singles, world No. 1 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina will face South Africa’s Evans Maripa and French third seed Stephane Houdet will begin his bid for a third British Open title against Takuya Miki of Japan.
Britain’s world No.2 and Rio Paralympic silver medallist Andy Lapthorne will play Brazil’s Ymanitu Silva in his opening quad singles match, while in the women’s singles world No.1 Yui Kamiji will face Colombia’s Angelica Bernal.
Tickets are available at www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/britishopen, priced just £2 for a weekday ground pass and £5 for a Saturday/Sunday (finals weekend) ground pass. Kids go free all week when accompanied by an adult.