Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne will all contest singles semi-finals later today at the US Open after the trio of players supported by the LTA’s Elite Wheelchair Programme produced a mix of dominant performances and sensational comebacks on Thursday in New York.
Reid battled back from a set and 4-0 down to join defending champion Hewett in the men’s singles semis after the world No.7 beat Spanish No.4 seed Martin de la Puente 1-6 7-, 7-5 after two- hours and 35-minutes. Reid, who will now play Frenchman Stephane Houdet for a place in the final, said:
“I started poorly and was putting myself under a lot of pressure, but I managed to hang in and scrap my way back and played some really good tennis. I never give up and I could see from the 4-0 game (in the second set) when I managed to pull I back from 40-15 that he was getting a little bit anxious, so I just tried to stay patient and stay calm.”
World No.2 Hewett will play Argentinian third seed Gustavo Fernandez in a US Open semi-final for the fourth time after beating Japan’s Takuya Miki 6-1 6-3. Three-time US Open champion Hewett said:
“I feel like I’m preparing well for these matches, so it was nice to get out there and execute the plan today. Tomorrow will be a really tough test. I did well to get back into the match and take away any kind of momentum that he was gaining in the second set.”
Nine years on from the first of his two US Open quad singles titles, Lapthorne moved into a semi-final against Dutch top seed Neils Vink after a tremendous performance to beat his South African doubles partner and No.3 seed Donald Ramphadi 6-2 6-0. Lapthorne said:
“I was a big underdog today and I knew that and took all the pressure off myself and allowed myself to play the way I know I can play. I’ve worked so hard the last six weeks since Wimbledon and when I get a performance like that today it reminds me that when I put the work in I’m still one of the best players in the world. There’s something about this place that brings the best out of me.”
French Open champions Lapthorne and Ramphadi moved into Saturday’s quad doubles final against top seeds Sam Schroder and Vink after their semi-final opponents Tomas Masaryk and Ymanitu Silva were forced to retire when trailing Lapthorne and Ramphadi 6-2 3-2
However, Hewett and Reid’s bid for a place in their 17th successive Grand Slam final together came to an end after a narrow 7-5 7-6(8) loss to Houdet and Japan’s Takashi Sanada.
On a day when Lucy Shuker’s women’s singles challenge came to end after a 6-2 6-0 loss to world No.1 and defending champion Diede de Groot of the Netherlands, the start of the second edition of the US Open Junior Wheelchair Tennis Championships brought mixed success for the two British representatives.
Dahnon Ward, runner-up in the boys’ singles 12 months ago, booked his place in today’s semi-finals after beating Ivar van Rijt of the Netherlands 6-1 6-7(4) 6-4. Ward will also contest today’s boy’s doubles semi-finals alongside fellow British 18-year-old Joshua Johns, whose singles campaign ended in a 6-4 6-4 loss to the USA’s Charlie Cooper.