Whi­ley bids for se­cond Grand Slam

Lapthorne to face World num­ber one in opener

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT -

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.

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