Alfie Hewett and Jordanne Whiley made it two wins from three round-robin matches for the Brits on the opening day of play in Orlando, with both Hewett and Whiley beating higher ranked opponents.
It was tough in the conditions out there today. I’ve not played outdoors for a while now and we both took time to find our range, but for myself to keep digging in their and keep fighting was pleasing. Alfie Hewett
World No.6 Hewett made it six wins in his last eight matches against French world No.3 Stephane Houdet as the 2017 NEC Singles Masters champion opened his pool matches this year with a typically battling 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).
Hewett said: “It was tough in the conditions out there today. I’ve not played outdoors for a while now and we both took time to find our range, but for myself to keep digging in their and keep fighting was pleasing. Even in that first set I had game points to go 5-5 after being 5-1 down. The passion was there, the fight was there and I couldn’t be more proud, really.”
Whiley made it two wins from two matches this season against reigning Wimbledon champion Aniek van Koot as the world No.5 returned to the Masters for the first time since 2016 with a confident performance to win 6-4, 6-2.
Whiley said: “I’m really pleased. I’ve just come back from a six-week training block, so it’s nice to see that what I’ve been working in translating into matches, I feel like that’s the first time in a long time that I’ve actually managed to play the way I wanted to play. And Aniek is such a great player. Bolton gave me confidence, of course, but it was a long time ago now. I wonder if she didn’t know what to expect there, as I was making my comeback. But now she did know what to expect and I feel like I did really well today.”
A tremendous way to end ?? fortunes on Day 1 of the NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters as @jordannejoyce92 serves out a 6-4, 6-2 victory over world No. 3 Aniek van Koot (NED) in her opening women's singles round-robin match.#BackTheBrits #wheelchairtennis pic.twitter.com/SWvxauaxFP
— Wheelchair Tennis (LTA) (@WChairTennisGB) November 19, 2019
However, it wasn’t to be for two-time Masters finalist Gordon Reid, whose opening pool match ended in a 6-4, 6-3 loss to wold No.2 Shino Kunieda of Japan.
With just three of the five Brits in action on the opening day of competition, all five will be in action on Wednesday’s second day of play as the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters gets underway and Andy Lapthorne plays his first quad singles round-robin match against Japan’s Koji Sugeno.
NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters
Brits Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid have been drawn in separate pools for the round-robin phase of the Singles Masters, with 2017 champion and reigning US Open champion Hewett set to play former champions Stephane Houdet of France and Stefan Olsson of Sweden and world No.1 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina in Pool A. Houdet will be Hewett’s first opponent on Tuesday.
Twice a runner-up in the Singles Masters, Reid will play three-time champions Shingo Kunieda of Japan and Joachim Gerard of Belgium in his round-robin pool, as well as Frenchman Nicolas Peifer.
Jordanne Whiley’s first Singles Masters since 2016 will begin with a round-robin pool contest against Wimbledon champion Aniek van Koot, the Dutchwoman Whiley almost defeated in the 2014 semi-finals. World No. 5 Whiley will then play former Singles Masters champion Yui Kamiji of Japan and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane.
Top seed for the quad singles, Andy Lapthorne will open his bid for a first Singles Masters title against either young Dutchman Niels Vink or Japan’s Koji Sugeno. World No. 2 Lapthorne will then play either Vink or Sugeno in his second match in his three-player pool.
All four Brits will be looking to finish in the top two in their respective round-robin pools to earn the chance to advance to the semi-finals.
UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters
Three-time US Open and Wimbledon champions Hewett and Reid are second seeds for the men’s doubles this year. Their pool includes Dutch duo Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers, Spanish combination Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin de la Puente and the Dutch-Belgian partnership of Ruben Spargaren and Jef Vandorpe.
Meanwhile, two-time Paralympic bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Whiley are drawn in a three-way round-robin group alongside Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot and Charlotte Famin of France and her partner Zhezhen Zhu of China.
Both Hewett and Reid and Shuker and Whiley need top-two finishes in their round-robin pools if they are to advance to the semi-finals.
The quad doubles will see Lapthorne partner Sam Schroder of the Netherlands for the first time in competition. With matches to come against 11-time Doubles Masters champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner of the USA, Australian Heath Davidson and his partner Vink and the Japanese-Korean partnership of Koji Sugeno and Kyu-Seung Kim, Lapthorne and Schroder will aim to finish in the top two to earn a place in the quad doubles final.