Disability Sportswoman of the Year Whiley among four Brits in Doubles Masters finals
on 07-11-2015 11:07
Brits will contest Saturday’s women’s, men’s and quad finals for the second straight year at the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters, the ITF’s year-end championship for the world’s leading wheelchair tennis doubles players in Mission Viejo, California.
Newly crowned Sunday Times and Sky Sports Disability Sportswoman of the Year Jordanne Whiley and Japan’s Yui Kamiji will bid for their third women’s doubles title in a row in Mission Viejo. The all-Brit partnership of Jamie Burdekin and Andy Lapthorne will aim to go one better after being runners-up in the quad doubles in 2014, while Gordon Reid and Frenchman Michael Jeremiasz will also contest the men’s doubles final together for the second successive year.
Six-time Grand Slam doubles champions Whiley and Kamiji came through their round-robin pool featuring three Brits unbeaten earlier in the week. They beat last year’s runners-up Louise Hunt and Katharina Kruger of Germany and Lucy Shuker and her German partner Sabine Ellerbrock to finish top of their pool before defeating Dutch partnership Marjolein Buis and Michaela Spaanstra 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals.
Within an hour of coming off court from Friday’s semi-final in California, Whiley had been named Disability Sportswoman of the Year in London. The 23-year-old is the first wheelchair tennis player to win the award after earning her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open, her first Super Series singles title at the British Open, her first world top four singles ranking and two more Grand Slam doubles titles after she and Kamiji retained their Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns.
“To get to the final and have the news that I won the Disability Sportswoman of the Year Award this evening has made it a really great day for me. It is an honour to win such a prestigious award." Jordanne Whiley
"I'm very happy that we are through to the final although I am slightly disappointed with my level of play today. The Dutch girls made it very difficult for us but we managed to find a way to get to the finish line with a win,” said Whiley. “To get to the final and have the news that I won the Disability Sportswoman of the Year Award this evening has made it a really great day for me. It is an honour to win such a prestigious award."
Whiley and Kamiji will play second seeds Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot in their Doubles Masters final after the Dutch pairing beat Shuker and Ellerbrock 6-2, 6-2 in the other semi-final.
With nine Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme having qualified for this year’s Doubles Masters, Burdekin and Lapthorne finished the four-way quad doubles round-robin unbeaten in their three matches.
They defeated USA top seeds and defending champions Nick Taylor and David Wagner 6-4, 6-2 in their second match and will now play Taylor and Wagner again in the final. Burdekin and Lapthorne go into the final as the only partnership to have beaten the American three-time Paralympic gold medallists this season.
"Winning all our pool matches gives us confidence going into tomorrow's final. We'll need to be on top of our game again, but I'm hoping we can deliver a win when it matters." Andy Lapthorne
"It was good to get the win today against the Italians Corradi and Raffaele in straight sets, because winning all our pool matches gives us confidence going into tomorrow's final. We'll need to be on top of our game again, but I'm hoping we can deliver a win when it matters," said Lapthorne.
“It’s been a great week for us so far and to beat Taylor and Wagner for the second time in the USA this season is really exciting as we look ahead to the final. Hopefully we can carry our form from the round-robin into the final and beat them again for the title,” said Burdekin.
Second seeds Reid and Jeremiasz were also undefeated in their three round-robin matches and beat Dutchmen Tom Egberink and Maikel Scheffers 6-2, 7-5 in their semi-final ahead of playing defending champions Joachim Gerard of Belgium and Stephane Houdet again in Saturday’s final.
“To get to the final with four straight sets wins against some tough opposition is a nice confidence boost,” said Reid. “I won here with Stephane two years ago and after winning my first two Grand Slam doubles titles this year I’m eager to win this one with Michael after we were runners-up at Wimbledon. We’re looking to maintain our intensity and end the week undefeated.”
Following the Doubles Masters some of the world’s top players currently in California will contest the ITF 1 Series Nottingham Indoor on 18-22 November. Whiley, Shuker, Reid and Lapthorne will then be among 20 of the world’s leading singles players vying for the titles at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in London on 2-6 December.
The last remaining tickets for the Masters are now on sale starting from just £2 for community groups and schools up to a maximum of £15 for the weekend semi-finals and finals. All kids can come along for a quid and there is an Activity Zone full of entertainment for all the family. Tickets can be purchased here: www.wheelchairtennismasters.com.