Eastcote’s Andy Lapthorne gained his latest major wheelchair tennis title over the weekend after partnering fellow Brit Antony Cotterill to win the quad doubles at the South Africa Open in Johannesburg.
Lapthorne and Cotterill won their second doubles crown at Super Series level, the highest tier of tournament outside of the Grand Slams, after coming from a set down to upset the top seeds in the final. Lapthorne has subsequently moved up to No.2 in this week’s quad doubles world rankings.
The second seeds reached the semi-finals for the loss of just one game and were faced with the prospect of finishing their semi-final and playing the final all on the penultimate of the tournament until bad light intervened.
However, with both matches going to three and both being suspended on successive days t to the following day, Lapthorne and Cotterll eventually completed a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 semi-final victory over Israel’s Itay Erenlib and Ymanitu Silva to earn a decider against Jamie Burdekin and American David Wagner/
With three Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme contesting the final, Lapthorne and Cotterill fought back from dropping the opening set to lead Burdekin and Wagner 5-1 in the second set before the action was interrupted
Lapthorne and Cotterill then came out strongly on Saturday’s last day of competition at Ellis Park and maintained their momentum to seal a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory and follow up their first Super Series title together at the Open de France last June.
“It’s always good to get a win with a fellow countryman. This latest win looks good for us for the future. Johannesburg has been special for us and there’s plenty to look forward to,” said Lapthorne, who partnered Cotterill to the final of February’s USN Bolton Arena Indoor tournament.
The London 2012 doubles silver medallist and four-time Australian Open doubles champion also partnered Burdekin to win the quad doubles at the ITF 1 Series Cajun Classic in March, beating the USA’s world No. 1 ranked partnership of Nick Taylor and Wagner. Following his latest success in Johannesburg Lapthorne has moved up one spot to replace Taylor at No. 2 in this week’s quad doubles rankings.
“To win two major titles doubles titles in successive months with Jamie and now Antony shows that British quad wheelchair tennis is in really good shape and it bodes well for our World Team Cup and Rio 2016 ambitions,” added Lapthorne, whose quest to regain the quad singles title in Johannesburg ended in the semi-finals against South Africa’s world No. 4 and eventual champion Lucas Sithole.
“I would have loved to have regained my singles title after beating Lucas in front of his home supporters in 2013, but it was not to be this time. But we’re very closely matched at the top of the rankings and there will be another day.”