Jordanne Whiley faces American wild card Kaitlyn Verfuerth, Lucy Shuker plays world No.2 Aniek van Koot and Gordon Reid meets world No.1 Shingo Kunieda when the Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme begin their singles challenges on Thursday at the US Open.
Andy Lapthorne will take on current world No.1 and his doubles partner Dylan Alcott of Australia in the first of his three round-robin matches as he begins his US Open quad singles title defence in New York.
Whiley will aim for her second Grand Slam singles semi-final when she faces Verfuerth after progressing to the last four of the 2014 Australian Open.
“I’ve been working really hard so I was prepared for whoever I got in the draw,” said Whiley. “I wasn’t overly happy with my performance last week (at the USTA Wheelchair Championships in St. Louis) so I want to put that right at the US Open and get back to the singles form that saw me win the British Open.
“I’m also really looking forward to trying to defend my doubles title with Yui and we’ve got some pretty happy memories here from last year!”
Whiley and Japan’s Yui Kamiji face Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock as they begin the defence of their US Open title. Their victory in New York in 2014 saw them complete the calendar year Grand Slam.
Meanwhile Shuker plays second seed van Koot for a place in the women’s singles semi-finals just days after upsetting van Koot in the quarter-finals in St. Louis, where Shuker reached the second Super Series singles final of her career to move up to No.6 in this week’s world rankings.
Shuker and Verfuerth will aim to upset Dutch second seeds Jiske Griffioen and van Koot in the women’s doubles semi-finals.
“Being in a Grand Slam there are no easy matches as it’s the top players in the world. However I have come here after playing some great tennis last week in St. Louis, having beaten my opponent in a three set match. I’m looking forward to being back competing in the US Open and hopefully will continue to play some great tennis,” said Shuker.
Reid is the only player to have beaten both world No.1 Kunieda and world No.2 Stephane Houdet of France in each of the last two seasons and the British No. 1 and world No. 5 will look for another big performance on Thursday as he bids to reach his fourth Grand Slam singles semi-final.
Reid partners Houdet in the men’s doubles as he attempts to win his second Grand Slam title. Reid and Houdet, winners of the men’s doubles last week in St. Louis, will play Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Maikel Scheffers of the Netherlands in their opening match as they pair up at a Grand Slam for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to getting out on court tomorrow. It’s always a privilege to play at the Grand Slams and I’m looking forward to the tough challenge against the No.1 player in the world,” said Reid. “I’m expecting a hard battle against Shingo but I know I have the game to beat him and will do everything I can to make that happen.”
World No. 4 Lapthorne will play Alcott, world No.2 David Wagner and Wagner’s fellow American Nick Taylor on successive days in his three quad singles round-robin matches in New York, with the top two players after the round-robin phase of the competition going forward to Sunday’s final.
Lapthorne and Alcott will play six-time US Open champions Taylor and Wagner for the quad doubles title later in the week, having beaten Taylor and Wagner to win the quad doubles last week in St. Louis, where Lapthorne and Alcott paired up together for the first time in competition.
“I always love playing here in New York and it brings back amazing memories of winning my first singles Grand Slam title last year. I really want to defend my crown as well as get it back in the doubles teaming up with Dylan after we won last week,” said Lapthorne.
“With the top players competing it’s never easy but with less than a year to go to Rio 2016, now is the time I want to be winning and keeping my confidence high.”