St Louis | Can Andy Lapthorne do the double?
When the draw came out tennis fans had every reason to be excited when it was revealed that Britain’s Andy Lapthorne and the USA’s David Wagner were teaming up to challenge for the quads doubles title.
The last time we saw this partnership on the doubles court was at the Australian Open where they beat Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson to lift the title.
It was a win that saw British number one Lapthorne claim his fifth Australian Open doubles title.
And although eight months have passed since then it’s clear the magic these two create on court when paired up is still very much alive.
By coming out on top against Antony Cotterill and Heath Davidson in straight sets 6-0 6-0 in the USTA US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships final not only did they score a hat trick of double bagels at this tournament but they were also crowned 2017 quads doubles champions, and without dropping a set – or game for that matter – throughout their whole campaign.
But the action is far from over in St Louis for Lapthorne, who after coming from a set down to beat Lucas Sithole 3-6 6-2 6-1 in his quads singles semi-final earlier in the day, can now potentially do the double just days before the wheelchair draw at the final Grand Slam of the year – the US Open – kicks off.
So what are the chances of both trophies having the World number two’s name on them?
The person standing in his way of doing so is Australia’s Heath Davidson, a player who has come out on top against World number one Wagner twice in as many weeks, so he won’t make it easy for the Brit.
However, statistically Lapthorne does have the advantage.
The pair have met twice on the singles court so far in their careers with the British number one claiming straight set victories in both encounters.
Their first was almost exactly a year ago at the quarter-finals of the Paralympic Games in Rio, where Lapthorne defeated the Australian 6-1 6-2
And their most recent meeting was on American soil at the Cajun Classic in March where Lapthorne despite taking the first set 6-0 had to come through a tough tie-break 7-6(5) against the World number five to get the win in straight sets on that occasion.
But if Lapthorne should come out on top in this encounter too it will be a massive confidence boost for him as he heads to Flushing Meadows next week, as well as helping him on his way to claiming that singles World number one spot that he is determined to get his name by if not by the end of 2017 at least once during his career.
Success for Shuker
But it isn’t just Lapthorne who is celebrating a Super Series win.
Britain’s Lucy Shuker and Japan’s Yui Kamiji came through a three setter 2-6 6-2 7-6(5) against the top seeds, Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot, to lift the women’s doubles title at the sixth and final Super Series of the year.
Momentum was with the Dutch partnership of Buis and de Groot in the first set but it shifted in the second with Shuker and Kamiji growing in confidence and forcing a decider.
In the end only a third set tie-break could separate the two pairs and on this occasion it was second seeds Shuker and Kamiji who fortune favoured.
The win is the second women’s doubles title in as many weeks for Shuker, who so far in 2017 has really shone on the doubles court.
The last doubles final to be decided was in the men’s open division and it saw Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer crowned champions defeating Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda 6-3 6-1.
It means that the French tour de force have now won five out of the six Super Series doubles titles on offer in 2017, the only other pair to win one this year being Britain’s Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett.