Dermot Bailey, Dave Phillipson, Lauren Jones and Caroline MacDonald all booked their places in the National Wheelchair Tennis Championships men’s and women’s singles finals on the second day of play at Oxstalls Sports Park.
Bailey and Phillipson will battle it out for the crown of Men’s Singles National Champion after they both came through their semi-finals with relative ease. Bailey eased pass John Lambert 6-1, 6-1 whilst Phillipson took just 47 minutes to make it past Kevin Simpson 6-2, 6-1.
“I’m very happy to be through to the final,” said reigning champion Bailey. “John is a difficult player, he’s experienced and tricky but I did what I had to do.”
In the women’s competition defending champion Jones ensured she has the chance to win two National titles in a row after she defeated Debbie Brazier 6-1, 6-0 to reach the final. Jones will face MacDonald for the title as the latter defeated Helen Bond 6-3, 6-4 in a tight match.
“This has been a good opportunity for me to put into practice things I’ve been working on in training. I feel loose and I feel confident and I’m looking forward to trying to defend my title,” said Jones. “2016 was another difficult year for me as I broke my hip in January but I’ve managed to put a new programme together which is working nicely and I’ve got everything in place now ready for 2017.”
In the quad division Antony Cotterill and James Shaw battled it out in their final round-robin match to claim the title of National Champion. It was close between the second seed and top seed but Shaw prevailed to be crowned quad National Champion for the second year.
Cotterill had earlier survived a scare against Richard Green after being taken to a deciding match tiebreak during which the momentum swung both ways but Cotterill eventually won 3-6, 7-6(3), (10-8). However he was unable to match Shaw who defended his title.
“I’m really chuffed to defend my national title,” said Shaw following his 6-2, 6-2 victory.
“I knew Ant was beatable having seen Richard (Green) come so close to beating him earlier in the day but in a way this also put a bit more pressure on me. I was a bit nervous but I’m really pleased with how I played. I’ve had a great 2016 and am looking forward to 2017.”
In the National Series singles event eight players took to the court to battle it out for their spot in the semi-finals. The closest match was between Mark Langeveld and Steve Crompton with Langeveld coming through 10-4 in the final set tiebreak. It was more comfortable for Langeveld’s semi-final opponent Geoff Ellis as he dispatched Manoj Somasundaram 6-3, 6-2. Ruairi Logan was equally as comfortable as he moved into the last four with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Steve Metcalfe.
The finalists were also decided in the National Series men’s doubles competition with Pim Palmen and Steve Metcalfe defeating Ben Johnson Rolfe and Mark Langeveld. They will face Ruairi Logan and Keith Thom in the final after they came through against Geoff Ellis and Mehboob Hussain 6-4, 6-4.
Saturday also saw the junior competition get underway with some bright young talent taking to the courts. In the orange ball competition there were quarter-final wins for Lily Rolland, Ellie Robertson and Megan Bradley.
In the junior boys’ Division 1 round-robin there were wins for Logan and Ben Johnson-Rolfe whilst in the Division 2 round-robin matches Lewis Evans, Daniel May and Dannon Ward all recorded early wins heading into the second round of competition tomorrow. Ward had the pick of the victories as he prevailed 11-9 in the final set tiebreak against McCabe.
Play concludes tomorrow with all National Championships and National Series winners being crowned.