Ten­nis heroes re­turn from Rio

Lapthorne and Whi­ley bring home three medals PAR­A­LYMPICS

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Mar­shall Thomas tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

Be­tween them, Lapthorne and Whi­ley won three of the record six medals won at a sin­gle Par­a­lympics by play­ers on the Ten­nis Foun­da­tion’s Wheel­chair Ten­nis World Class Pro­gramme.

Sil­ver medal­list in the quad dou­bles in Lon­don four years ago, world num­ber four Lapthorne achieved the same medal colour in sin­gles this time after win­ning his semi-fi­nal against Amer­i­can sec­ond seed David Wag­ner 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

Ear­lier straight sets wins over Italy’s Al­berto Cor­radi and Aus­tralian Heath David­son saw Lapthorne book his place in the last four, but after de­feat­ing Wag­ner, Lapthorne’s quest for the gold medal ended in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to David­son’s coun­try­man and world num­ber one Dy­lan Al­cott.

The two Aus­tralians also thwarted the Bri­tish quest for the quad dou­bles gold medal in the semi-fi­nals, but Lapthorne and Bur­dekin dug deep to earn their own unique place in Par­a­lympic his­tory in the bronze medal match.

They com­bined to edge out Is­raeli duo Itay Erel­nib and Shraga Wein­berg 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 after four hours and 25 min­utes on court, mak­ing it the long­est THE Ghosh fam­ily reigned supreme at North­wood Ten­nis Club’s fi­nals day.

Play­ing with con­trolled ag­gres­sion, John Ghosh won the sin­gles, gain­ing re­venge over his neme­sis for the last five years, Dun­can Chorley, be­fore go­ing on to win the men’s dou­bles too with Fer­gal Dav­ern, de­feat­ing first team cap­tain Colin McCarthy and wheel­chair ten­nis match Par­a­lympic Games his­tory.

Lapthorne said: “I sur­passed my own ex­pec­ta­tions to get to this fi­nal, but once I beat the world num­ber two in the semis, I re­ally thought I had a chance at gold. I’ve had my re­demp­tion since Lon­don, and I’m so proud to leave Rio with two medals, and my first in the sin­gles. Three-time Par­a­lympic medal­list has a pretty good ring to it.”

Whi­ley’s bid for medals was hin­dered by a wrist in­jury, and after two straight set wins she bowed out of the women’s sin­gles to Dutch world num­ber six Diede de Groot in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

But she and Lucy Shuker showed great de­ter­mi­na­tion in their dou­bles bronze medal match, re­cov­er­ing from a mid-match dip in form to de­feat Ja­pan’s Yui Kamiji and Miho Nijo 6-3, 0-6, 6-1.

Whi­ley said: “The med­i­cal team have done an in­cred­i­ble job to help man­age the pain in my wrist.

“I could feel it a lit­tle bit, but I was us­ing pain di­ver­sion tech­niques to take my mind off it! I am sad that my Games is over so quickly, but to get an­other bronze is still an achieve­ment to be proud of.”

Fel­low Ick­en­ham player Marc McCar­roll reached the sec­ond round of the men’s sin­gles, beat­ing Italy’s Fabian Mazzei 7-5, 6-3, be­fore bow­ing out to even­tual bronze medal­list and world num­ber two Joachim Ger­ard of Bel­gium.

McCar­roll and David Phillip­son also reached the sec­ond round of the men’s dou­bles, be­fore los­ing to French top seeds and even­tual gold medal­lists Stephane Houdet and Ni­co­las Peifer. in part­ner Peter Wrig­glesworth.

Mean­while, wife An­gela, to­gether with Fer­gal’s wife, Alita, con­trolled the ladies dou­bles with a com­par­a­tively easy win over Vim Fer­rand and Tracy Led­erer, but Led­erer did re­tain her sin­gles ti­tle, win­ning sur­pris­ingly eas­ily against former cham­pion Cathy Pil­bor­ough.

To cap the Ghosh suc­cess story, John’s brother, Owen, to­gether with Fer­rand, played through heavy rain to win the veter­ans mixed dou­bles against Mi­wako He­mus and David Ge­orge.

The mixed dou­bles fi­nal be­tween Chorley and Alita Dav­ern, and Led­erer and Fer­gal Dav­ern, was aban­doned be­cause of the con­di­tions and will be played at a later date.

The ju­nior fi­nals saw yet an­other Ghosh in ac­tion, but Han­nah was beaten by Anisha Shah in the girls fi­nal, while in the boys fi­nal, Teddy de­feated Harry Lad.

Alex An­delkovic also won the U10 tour­na­ment.

Dur­ing the win­ter months, the courts and flood­lights are be­ing re­placed, but the club will con­tinue to op­er­ate run­ning an in­ter­nal club mixed dou­bles tour­na­ment, as well as so­cial and ju­nior ten­nis and matches against other clubs.

For more de­tails, visit www. north­woodten­nis­club.co.uk. Man­gan

n MEDAL­LISTS: Andy Lapthorne and (below) Jor­danne Whi­ley (right) with part­ner Lucy Shuker

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