Britain’s Andy Lapthorne battled through a tough three set semi-final to claim victory over Japan’s Koji Sugeno 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and book his spot in the quad singles final.
The exchange lasted three hours and Lapthorne played his heart out from the first to the final point leaving it all out there on court.
Dealing with any distractions that came his way with maturity and showing just why he is one of the top players in the quads division.
The result means he will be competing in his first final of 2018 and having last won the tournament in 2016 it will see him try to reclaim that title.
There waiting for him at the other side of the net is the USA’s Bryan Barten who also needed three sets to progress to the final, defeating Canada’s Robert Shaw 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
The pair have met on court in singles eight times previously and so far all of thone exchanges have gone Lapthorne’s way.
A performance to be proud of
From the outset you could see Lapthorne was looking comfortable on court and confident in his game.
It was a good first set for the British number one who never really looked under threat during any of the eight games that were played even though he had his serve broken once in the opening set.
He won four straight games before Sugeno got his first game on the board and pretty much continued his domination right until the end taking the first set 6-2.
The second set brought us a little more drama.
Much like the first Lapthorne was in clear command at the start of the second, even giving himself another opportunity to go 3-0 up but at that point Sugeno lifted his game up a little and went toe-to-toe with the British number one to keep himself just one game behind him leaving us at 2-1 instead.
For most of the second set, as with the match, Lapthorne was in front.
But Sugeno, who has taken top players including David Wagner and Heath Davidson to three sets before, was ready for this one to go the distance too and took his opportunity to go in front of the World number two when it presented itself and the second set.
In the third set once again it was Lapthorne who always took the lead, Sugeno keeping the gap between them to one game by stopping the British number one from consolidating a number of breaks which he earned against the Japanese player.
The breakthrough came when the Brit was 4-3 up and he got that important next game to lead 5-3, leaving him only to take the next one to close it out, which of course he did.
Coming through what was a tough match, which also saw Lapthorne having to deal with multiple delays at change of ends, the Brit showing class and maturity, mixed with a lot of calls of ‘Come On’ vocalising just how much this win meant to him throughout.
Womens doubles entertain from start to finish
Later in the day two more Brits, Lucy Shuker and Louise Hunt, were in action in the women’s doubles semi-finals.
And whilst the result didn’t go their way today, Dana Matthewson and Charlotte Famin progressing into the finals after a straight sets win 6-4, 6-0, Shuker and Hunt can be proud of the tennis they played.
The match was filled with some amazing rallies, and the second set scoreline in particular doesn’t really tell the whole tale of a semi-final which was competitive, a great showcase for the womens game and the sport in general and played in the best of spirits from start to finish.
It was most definitely an entertaining way to spend a Friday night.