US CHAMPS READY TO DEFEND
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