Lapthorne has time of his life
EASTCOTE’S Andy Lapthorne described Monday night as the best of his life after reaching the Paralympics quad singles final in Rio.
Lapthorne will face Australia’s Dylan Alcott in the final tonight (Wednesday) after defeating old rival David Wagner in the semi-final.
It will also be a chance for Lapthorne to avenge his quad doubles semi-final defeat, with Jamie Burdekin, to Alcott and Heath Davidson. Their bronze medal match, against Israel’s Itai Erenlib and Shraga Weinberg, was due to take place yesterday afternoon.
Lapthorne said: “That was the best night of my life bar none. I will forever love Rio for this night. To lie there on Centre Court and take it all in that I’ve guaranteed myself a medal is incredible.
“I’ve been struggling with my backhand for ages and I won the match with a backhand slice down the line! It feels like my destiny.
“The crowd really embraced my passion and I needed them after losing that second set. I kept thinking about what would happen if I’d win and I let it distract me, but the crowd roared me back into the match and it’s the best performance of my career, even though I can’t remember most of it. I still want that gold, and I’ve had some amazing matches with Dylan, so I know we’ll be able to showcase our sport and I hope everyone gets behind me at home and here in Rio.”
Ickenham’s Jordanne Whiley, meanwhile, got a dose of double Dutch. She bowed out to Diede de Groot in the women’s singles quarter-finals, having also, with Lucy Shuker, lost in the doubles semi-final to Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot. Their bronze medal match was due to be played yesterday.
Whiley said: “I’ve got a wrist injury that has flared up and it’s causing me a huge amount of pain. I’m so gutted that I couldn’t give it my all out there, and Diede played really well. I just couldn’t hit my shots properly, but I wanted to carry on because I’ve worked four years for this moment, and I really wanted this one.
“I’m going to ice it now because nothing will stop me coming out and giving it everything in the doubles with Lucy. It makes me even more determined to try and win a medal.”
n ‘BEST NIGHT’: Andy Lapthorne