Gordon Reid stunned world No.1 and defending champion Shingo Kunieda on Wednesday’s first day of wheelchair tennis action at the Australian Open as the British No.1 and world No.5 progressed to his first men’s singles semi-final at Melbourne Park 6-3, 7-6(1).
Meanwhile, Andy Lapthorne still has a chance of reaching the quad singles final despite losing his opening round-robin match to world No.1 Dylan Alcott. Lapthorne will also partner Alcott in Thursday’s quad doubles final, while Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley will now concentrate on the women’s doubles, too, after bowing out of the women’s singles.
Reid broke Kunieda in the third and ninth games of the opening set, but after taking a 2-0 second set lead the Scot had his own serve broken twice as Kunieda took a 4-3 lead. However, Reid would not be denied and twice more came from behind to force a tie-break. A succession of forehand winners saw him take a commanding lead in the tie-break and he wrapped up his fourth career win over Kunieda with a backhand winner.
“I’m obviously really happy with the result today. I knew it was going to be a tough match against a player who’s number one in the world for a reason. I went into the match with a clear game plan and I believe I used that effectively, as well as playing my best tennis in the important parts of the match,” said Reid, who will play Argentinian world No.6 Gustavo Fernandez for a place in the final, having already beaten Fernandez twice this year in Sydney and Melbourne.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back out there for the singles semi-final as well as the doubles semi-final with Shingo.”
Lapthorne made a slow start to his opening quad singles round-robin match and despite battling back from a break down in the second set he could not get back on terms with Alcott, who completed a 6-0, 6-4 win.
“I’m disappointed to have lost, but the world No.1 was too good today. The round-robin format means I can still make the final, so I need to come back stronger tomorrow and try and give myself a chance of being in two finals,” said Lapthorne, who will now play the USA’s David Wagner and South Africa’s Lucas Sithole in his remaining singles matches.
In the women’s singles world No.5 Whiley held an early lead against Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis before Buis took the first set tie-break. Whiley clinched the second set and held a narrow lead midway through the decider, but Buis eventually edged the contest 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-4.
Shuker pushed world No.1 and reigning champion Jiske Griffioen hard in the first set of their quarter-final, but despite the British No.2 and world No.7 breaking her opponent’s serve twice in the second set, Griffioen advanced 7-5, 6-2.
Shuker and Whiley will now meet Griffioen and her countrywoman Aniek van Koot in the women’s doubles semi-finals on Thursday, when last year’s Roland Garros champions Reid and Kunieda will also play Fernandez and Joachim Gerard in the men’s doubles semi-finals.
Thursday’s schedule also sees Lapthorne bid for his fifth Australian Open quad doubles title when he and Alcott take on Sithole and Wagner.