Whiley bids for second Grand Slam
Lapthorne to face World number one in opener
With four Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme contesting the first Grand Slam of 2016, Andy Lapthorne will face world No. 1 Dylan Alcott in his opening quad singles match just a week after beating the Australian to win the ITF 2 Melbourne Open.
World No.5 Whiley will also partner fellow Brit Lucy Shuker in the women’s doubles. The former Wimbledon finalists will play top seeds Griffioen and Aniek van Koot in their semi-final in Melbourne.
Whiley said: “I pulled out of the Melbourne Open last week as a precaution as I’ve had an injury over the last week, but I’ve been hitting really well over the last few days and I’ve been looking forward to the draw, knowing that whoever I get I will be ready to play.”
Whiley reached the women’s singles quarter-finals of her first tournament of the year, the Sydney Open, where Lapthorne was runner-up to Alcott in the quad singles.
However, the world No.4 avenged that loss on his way to winning last week’s ITF 2 title in Melbourne, where he completed victory by defeating South African world No. 3 Lucas Sithole in the final.
He will play Alcott, the USA’s David Wagner and South Africa’s Lucas Sithole in successive days in the round-robin phase of the quad singles as the 25-year-old at- tempts to win his first Australian Open singles title. The top two players after the completion of the quad singles round-robin will go forward to Saturday’s final.
World No.4 Lapthorne, from Eastcote, goes into the first Grand Slam of the year having already beaten world No.1 Alcott and world No.3 Sithole back-to-back on his way to winning last week’s ITF 2 Series Melbourne Open.
Lapthorne, who partners Alcott later in the week as he bids to win his fifth Australian Open quad doubles title, said: “I’ve arrived here knowing I need to be ready to beat three of the world’s other top players over four days of intense competition if I’m going to reach the final and win the title.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence from beating two of them in two days to win last week and I feel I’m well prepared, so I’m looking forward to getting started and defending the doubles title, too.” Corey Eaton-McKnight.
The no-nonsense centre-back made his United debut in Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate with Hemel Hempstead Town alongside two other new faces in Charlie Burns and Ashley Lodge.
Purse brings a CV littered with 550 Premier League and Football League appearances at the likes of Birmingham, West Brom, Cardiff and Millwall to Garry Haylock’s side. That’s a welcome addition for Hayes & Yeading given fellow centre-backs Emmanuel Monthe and Devante McKain have a combined age of little more than Purse’s advancing years.
Even full-back Jim Fenlon, who was a professional with AFC Wimbledon and Ross County, is a relative newcomer to the game.
Purse, who will celebrate his 39th birthday next month, thinks he can offer the perfect foil for the squad’s young starlets.
He said: “There are a lot of lower league sides out there without the experience, and they just need that bit of experience in key areas and we’ll see where it takes us.
“They’re good quality defenders Jim at right-back, Manny [Monthe] and McKain in the middle and I’ll just try and talk them through the game. I’ll try and help them cut the little mistakes out which happen as a youngster and hopefully we’ll start keeping clean sheets sooner rather than later.
“If we put the work rate in every week like we did on Saturday then we can slowly move up the league and move away from the relegation zone.”
Hayes & Yeading are preparing for a crunch six-pointer with fellow strugglers Wealdstone this weekend.
Only goal difference separates the two sides going into this weekend’s derby clash, with United having to make do without striker Matt Jay following his return to Exeter City.
Meanwhile, Rob Hastings’ second-half winner kept Northwood on the heels of the play-off race at the expense of nine-man Beaconsfield on Saturday.
The Woods’ wide man scored from close range, adding to Nico Muir’s first half header, just as the visitors were threatening to wrestle control of the game from their hosts following Aaron Minhas’ leveller.
The Rams then lost discipline in what was always a fractious game as first Tom Gant and then Ashley Artwell were sent off. Elsewhere in Southern Central action Wayne Carter’s double helped Uxbridge end a miserable run of six successive defeats as they beat Ware 3-1. Carter’s goals were his first in the league since December 5, but he now has 13 for the season.
In the Combined Counties Premier, AFC Hayes were beaten 3-0 at Hartley Wintney.