Both men’s and women’s semi-finalists were decided at the Wheelchair Tennis National Championships on the first day of competition at Oxstalls Tennis Centre.
With top seed Dermot Bailey and second seed Dave Phillipson receiving a bye into the semi-finals it was down to Kev Simpson, Scott Smith, John Lambert and Tony Heslop to battle it out to join then.
In a tight match Simpson got the better of 2012 National Champion Smith 6-3, 7-5 to set up a meeting with Rio Paralympian Dave Phillipson. In the second semi-final John Lambert had too much for Tony Heslop as he came through 6-2, 6-2 to meet Bailey in the last four.
“It was tough out there against Scott who is a tricky player,” said Simpson. “I’m here in the guise of player and coach this week so am juggling different roles but enjoying it. Tomorrow will be tough against Dave but I’m just going to go out there and have a swing and enjoy it.”
Bailey and Simpson then teamed up to win the first of their round robin matches 7-6(7), 6-4 against Smith and Lambert in the men’s doubles.
In the women’s draw defending champion Lauren Jones made comfortable progress into the semi-finals defeating Deena Webster 6-0, 6-0. Jones is joined in the last four by Debbie Brazier, Caroline Macdonald and Helen Bond as they all came through in straight sets.
“I’m really pleased to get through to the semi-finals and am feeling good ahead of tomorrow,” said Jones. “It was really special to win my first national title last year and I’m going to do all I can to defend it.”
Jones made it a double as she made the women’s doubles final partnering Jessie Webb to beat Debbie Brazier and Helen Bond 6-3, 4-6, 10-1. Jones and Webb will face Caroline Macdonald and Sarah Gaisford for the title of women’s doubles national champions.
In the Quad round robin matches Rio Paralympian Ant Cotterill and defending champion James Shaw made perfect starts to their campaigns as they both recorded two straight sets wins. Cotterill overcame George Davis and Gary Cox for the loss of just two games whilst Shaw endured a tougher test against Richard Green coming through 7-6, (3) 6-3, before easing past George Davis 6-0, 6-0.
Alongside the National Championships the Wheelchair National Series finals also began with a bumper entry lining up in the round of 16. Players competing in the National Series finals have accrued points from events across the country throughout 2016 and are competing to be crowned champion this weekend.
Ruairi Logan, Keith Thom, Pim Palmen, Steve Metcalfe, Steve Crompton, Mark Langeveld, Manoj Somasundram and Geoff Ellis all progressed with straight sets wins to move into the quarter finals and one step closer to being crowned overall National Series Champion.