US CHAMPS READY TO DE­FEND

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

ANDY Lapthorne and Jor­danne Whi­ley com­pleted prepa­ra­tions for their re­spec­tive US Open ti­tle de­fences by claim­ing Su­per Se­ries dou­bles ti­tles at the week­end in St Louis.

Lapthorne and Whi­ley were among four Brits on the Ten­nis Foun­da­tion’s Wheel­chair Ten­nis Per­for­mance Pro­gramme to leave Mis­souri for New York on Mon­day, in prepa­ra­tion for the fi­nal Grand Slam of the year, both hav­ing paired up with their New York dou­bles part­ners to clinch ma­jor hon­ours at the USTA Wheel­chair Cham­pi­onships.

On the eve of the one year to go land­mark for the Rio 2016 Par­a­lympics, where world num­ber two Lapthorne is likely to part­ner fel­low Brit Jamie Bur­dekin in the quad dou­bles, the East­cote 24-yearold joined forces for the first time with Aus­tralia’s Dy­lan Al­cott to de­feat three-time Par­a­lympic cham­pi­ons Nick Tay­lor and David Wag­ner.

“I’m so pumped af­ter that, tak­ing out the three-time gold medal­lists and in only our first tour­na­ment to­gether,” said Lapthorne.

“It bodes well for New York, but that’s a new chal­lenge for us. I’m dis­ap­pointed with my sin­gles.”

Ick­en­ham’s Whi­ley and Yui Kamiji jus­ti­fied top seed­ing in the women’s dou­bles as the six-time Grand Slam cham­pi­ons also earned two straight sets wins to reach their fi­nal and they then fought back from a set down for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over sec­ond seeds Jiske Grif­fioen and Aniek van Koot, the Dutch duo they have beaten in five of their last five Grand Slam fi­nals.

How­ever, Bri­tish Open cham­pion Whi­ley’s bid for back-to-back Su­per Se­ries sin­gles ti­tles came to an end in the quar­ter-fi­nals in St Louis af­ter the Bri­tish num­ber one and world num­ber five was edged out by Ger­man world num­ber four Sabine Eller­brock 6-7, 6-4, 7-5.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed to go out to Sabine this time,” said Whi­ley. “I’m not happy with my per­for­mance this week but some­thing good’s come out of it and I’m re­ally happy that we can go into our dou­bles ti­tle de­fence on the back of another big ti­tle.”

n SU­PER WINS: Andy Lapthorne and (inset) Jor­danne Whi­ley

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