Ickenham's Jordanne Whiley reached her first Grand Slam singles semi-final on Wednesday’s first day of the Australian Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships after beating Dutchwoman Sharon Walraven in straight sets.
World No. 7 Whiley, who is making her second Australian Open appearance after making her debut in Melbourne in 2011, came back from 2-0 down in the first set of her opening match against Walraven to beat the world No. 9 6-3, 6-3.
“I’m so happy to have finally won my first singles match at a Grand Slam after playing here in Melbourne and at Roland Garros in 2011 and making my US Open debut in New York last September,” said British No. 1 Whiley, one of four Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme playing at the first Grand Slam of the year this week.
“I was so nervous today and felt pretty tight at 5-0 in the second set, but I did what I had to do to win.”
Whiley will now play Germany world No. 2 and top seed Sabine Ellerbrock in the semi-finals, but British No. 2 Lucy Shuker was unable to reach a second successive Australian Open semi-final after slipping to a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Dutch world No. 4 Jiske Griffioen
British men’s No. 1 and world No. 4 Gordon Reid gave Japan’s defending champion and world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda a scare in the first set of their opening match, but ultimately bowed out of the men’s singles on his Australian Open debut.
World No. 4 Reid, who has already beaten Kunieda once this season, took an early 2-0 lead and had a set point at 5-3 and a point to force a tie-break at 6-5 down. However, Kuneida, who is unbeaten in the six Australian Opens he has played since 2007, went on to earn a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
Eastcote Andy Lapthorne, runner-up in the quad singles at the Australian Open in 2013, also made a good start to his opening round-robin match this year as he took a 3-0 lead against South African world No. 2 Lucas Sithole. Lapthorne was edged out in a deciding set tie-break against Sithole in the final of the Melbourne Open on Sunday, but the Brit was unable to take the US Open champion to a third set on this occasion as Sithole prevailed 6-4, 6-2.
Lapthorne will now aim to win his remaining two round-robin matches against Australian Dylan Alcott on Thursday and American David Wagner on Friday in an attempt to reach another final.
Thursday’s second day of wheelchair tennis action at Melbourne Park sees Whiley and Lapthorne in singles action again, while Lapthorne will partner Wagner for the quad doubles final against Alcott and Sithole.
The men’s and women’s doubles will also begin on Thursday, with top seeds Reid and Dutchman Maikel Scheffers playing Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Michael Jeremiasz of France for a place in the men’s doubles final.
Whiley will partner Japan’s Yui Kamiji in the women’s doubles semi-finals as the top seeds face Ellerbrock and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane, while Shuker and Walraven will also take on the all-Dutch second seeded partnership of Marjolein Buis and Griffioen.