After four years of being of being hostd in Great Britain by the Tennis Foundation, the 2018 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters took place in Orlando for the first time in 2018, with Andy Lapthorne finishing runner-up in the quad singles final for the fourth time, while Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker’s men’s and women’s singles campaigns came to an end after the round-robin phase of the tournament.
In a thrilling quad singles final that swung from one player to another, world No.3 Lapthorne dominated the opening exchanges and built 5-1 lead over Rio Paralympic champion and world No.2 Dylan Alcott of Australia before taking the opening set.
Lapthorne then bounced back from 4-2 down to lead the second set 5-4. However, a match point proved hard to come by and although Lapthorne also led the final set 3-1, Alcott went on to prevail 3=6, 7-5, 6-4.
“This sport is so hard. I’ve tried so hard and I keep putting myself out there and it’s just not meant to be right now, I’ve just got to keep trying to get better. But credit to him, he came back, it was a great final, a great battle, a great match and a great spectacle for the quad division,” said Lapthorne.
“I watched Tyson Fury last night and I’ve taken taken inspiration from him and his battles and one of these days one of these finals is going to fall for me.”
LIVE STREAM – FINALS: 2 DECEMBER
Day 4 Recap
Andy Lapthorne produced a sensational performance on the penultimate day of the 2018 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters to reach his fourth quad singles final at the year-end championship.
World No.3 Lapthorne beat world No. 4. Koji Sugeno of Japan 6-2, 6-0.
When you’re in the group stage and you know you’re pretty much through, it’s tough to play full out.
“But in knock-out – and when the wind starts blowing – I feel like I’m in a good position against most players. I’m really confident and looking forward to my last match of the year.”
LIVE STREAM – SEMIFINALS: 1 DECEMBER
Day 3 Recap
Andy Lapthorne is through to the quad singles semi-finals at the 2018 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, despite losing his second and last round-robin match in Orlando, but Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker’s challenges have come to an end.
Friday’s third day of round-robin competition saw world No.3 Lapthorne slip to a 6-4, 6-4 loss to South Africa’s world No.6 Lucas Sithole. However, by virtue of his 6-4, 6-1 win on Thursday against world No.1 David Wagner, Lapthorne still topped their round-robin pool based on his percentage of games won across the two day to advance to the semi-finals with Sithole.
“It’s always a weird situation when you know what you need to do to get through. We’re so used to playing under the pressure of knockout, but it’s quite tough to come out and play that way when you’re in a good position within the group,” said Laphorne, who now plays Japan’s world No.4 Koji Sugeno for a place in Sunday’s final.
“But no excuses, Lucas came out and played really well and we all know what he’s capable of. Fair play to him, that’s the best I’ve seen him play for a good couple of years, so congrats to him. But now we go into the knockout round and that’s what we’re all here for.”
Reid’s bid to reach the NEC Masters final for the third successive year cam undone against world No.1 Shingo Kunieda, who won their crucial last pool match 6-3, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Shuker put up a fine effort in her attempt to end her round-robin pool on a high and she led Italy’s Giulia Capocci 3-1 in the final st of their match-up. However, Capocci eventually came out on top 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
LIVE STREAM – DAY 3: 30 NOVEMBER
Day 2 Recap
Andy Lapthorne and Gordon Reid both earned crucial round-robin wins in their quad singles and men’s singles matches on the second day of play at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, with Lapthorne beating world No.1 David Wagner for the first time in 12 matches.
Lapthorne’s opening round-robin pool match of the week saw the world No.3 string together four games in a row to give him a 4-2 lead over Wagner in a rematch of last year’s final in Loughborough. The British No.1 maintained his advantage for the remainder of the opening set before pulling away for a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
“It’s been tough when you go on a bad run against someone and I know, deep down, that I’ve thrown a few away. Sometimes in tennis you go on these runs for no reason and it’s taken a lot of mental work and mental effort to come out the other side and to keep turning up and to keep putting the hours in,” said Lapthorne.
“So today was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, not just myself and I’m just very proud that I finally got the win and this is just the start.”
He will now play South Africa’s Lucas Sithole in his last round-robin match on Friday as he attempts to cement a place in the quad singles semi-finals.
Reid also faces a must-win third and last round-robin pool match on Friday in his bid to reach the men’s singles semi-finals. Reid will play world No.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan after posting his first win of the week against Nicolas Peifer.
LIVE STREAM – DAY 2: 29 NOVEMBER
Day 1 Recap
Gordon Reid and Lucy Shuker had a difficult first day of round-robin pool matches in Orlando, with both players now seeking their first wins of the week on Thursday’s second day of play , when Andy Lapthorne also makes his first appearance of this year’s NEC Masters.
Although leading by a set and 5-4 at one stage of his opening men’s singles Pool A match against two-time Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson, world No.4 Reid eventually slipped to a 4-6, 7-5(3), 6-4 loss. Reid will now play Frenchman Nicolas Peifer.
Shuker faces Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock on Thursday after the British No.1 lost out to world No.1 and reigning champion Diede de Groot of the Netherlands in her opening women’s singles Pool A match.
Meanwhile, world No.3 Lapthorne begins his quad singles challenge with a match against world No.1 David Wagner, which will be a repeat of their 2017 NEC Masters final.
LIVE STREAM – DAY 1: 28 NOVEMBER
World No.4 Reid, finalist in the men’s singles in each of the last two years, will play Sweden’s two-time Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson in his opening round-robin Pool A match on Wednesday.
Pool A: Shingo Kunieda (JPN), Gordon Reid (GBR), Stefan Olsson (SWE), Nicolas Peifer (FRA)
Pool B: Gustavo Fernandez (ARG), Stephane Houdet (FRA), Joachim Gerard (BEL), Takashi Sanada (JPN)
World No. 8 Shuker faces world No. 1 and reigning champion Diede de Groot of the Netherlands in her first women’s singles Pool A match of the week.
Pool A: Diede de Groot (NED), Sabine Ellerbrock (GER), Giulia Capocci (ITA), Lucy Shuker (GBR)
Pool B: Yui Kamiji (JPN), Aniek van Koot (NED), Kgothatso Montjane (RSA), Marjolein Buis (NED)
Meanwhile, after reaching the quad singles final in 2017, Lapthorne plays his first Pool A round-robin match on Thursday against either world No.1 and reigning champion David Wagner or Lucas Sithole.
Pool A: David Wagner (USA), Andy Lapthorne (GBR), Lucas Sithole (RSA)
Pool B: Dylan Alcott (AUS), Koji Sugeno (JPN), Heath Davidson (AUS)
In each of the men’s, women’s and quad singles pools, the top two players after the round-robin will go forward to the semi-finals.