Brits won three titles at the Pensacola Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships over the weekend with Gordon Reid clinching victory in the men’s singles and doubles, while London 2012 bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley teamed up to win their second women’s doubles title this season.
Meanwhile, Jamie Burdekin and Andy Lapthorne finished runners-up in the quad doubles to American top seeds Nick Taylor and David Wagner.
After a first round bye, world No. 3 and top seed Reid had his toughest challenge in the men’s singles event in his opening contest against fellow Brit David Phillipson. After dropping the first set on a tiebreak, Reid held on for a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4 win and went on to earn three more straight sets wins, culminating in a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Dutch world No. 7 Maikel Scheffers in Sunday’s final to retain his Pensacola title.
It was a double celebration for Reid as he teamed up with Belgium’s Joachim Gerard to clinch the men’s doubles title. Playing in their first event together Reid and Gerard notched up three straight sets wins, defeating second seeds Michael Jeremiasz and Nicolas Peifer of France 6-4, 6-2 in the men’s doubles final, giving Reid his fourth doubles title of 2015.
“I’m very happy to retain my title after a tough start,” said Reid. “I’ve got better as the tournament’s gone on and with two titles behind me in Pensacola I’m looking forward to moving on and defending another title at the Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge. I’m also playing with Joachim in Louisiana, so we will be out to maintain our unbeaten record.”
Shuker and Whiley made it two women’s doubles titles in their last two tournaments together after the top seeds edged out Dutch second seeds Marjolein Buis and Michaela Spaanstra 7-6(9), 7-6(3) in the final, to add the title to the one they won at the USN Bolton Arena Indoor event they won last month.
World No. 10 Shuker and world No. 5 Whiley made fine starts to their singles semi-finals as they attempted to set up an all-British singles final, but after taking the opening sets of their matches against top seed Sabine Ellerbrock and third seed Buis, both Brits bowed out after narrow defeats.
“We are delighted with the doubles win and to make it two titles from two tournaments this season.” said Shuker. “I really felt I could have won my singles semi-final and should have closed it out in two sets, but I must take the positives of two solid performances, beating world No. 8 Katharina Kruger 6-0, 6-1 in the quarters and nearly beating the world No. 4. It shows the hard work I’ve been doing at home in training is paying off and I am confident that the wins against these top girls will come.”
“To end the tournament with another doubles title with Lucy when I wasn’t playing my best all week is very satisfying,” said Whiley. “After our London 2012 bronze medal it’s great to make it two from two this season as we work towards Rio. It was an up and down tournament for me and the positive thing is I still took the world No. 6 to a deciding set when I wasn’t producing my best tennis, so I will regroup before Baton Rouge and look for some more big performances there. “
“As UK Sport launch their Every Road to Rio campaign this week it’s fantastic to see the success of our players on the world stage in the USA in the last week,” said Geraint Richards, the Tennis Foundation’s Head of Disability Player Performance. “These two tournaments are an important step on the journey to the 2016 Paralympics and hopefully there will be more success at the upcoming Cajun Classic.”
Burdekin and Lapthorne, also semi-finalists in the quad singles, were edged out by three-time Paralympic gold medallists Taylor and Wagner 6-4, 6-4 in the quad doubles final in Pensacola. They will now join Reid, Shuker and Whiley among eight Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme contesting the Cajun Classic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which begins on Wednesday.