Israel experienced a surprise semifinal win against Great Britain in the Quad Doubles - Open, as the Chinese team bowed out of the Paralympic Games Wheelchair Tennis event at the Olympic Tennis Center on Thursday, September 11.
In a surprise win for Israel in the Quad Doubles - Open semifinals, unseeded pair Boaz Kramer and Shraga Weinberg of Israel beat second seeds Peter Norfolk and James Bbrdekin of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4. Athens gold medal duo, Nick Taylor and David Wagner of the United States, won 6-3, 6-4 over male-female team Bas van Erp and Dorrie Timmermans-van Hall of the Netherlands.
The most keenly-watched match of the day played out on Center Court first up in the morning, with home crowd favorite, Dong Fuli of China taking on World No.1 and reigning champion Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands in the Women's Singles - Open quarterfinal. Crowds waving Chinese flags packed the venue to about three-quarter capacity. Their support, however, did not deliver Dong a home-soil win. She lost to Vergeer 6-2, 6-0, as the Dutch woman claimed her 347th successive win. Vergeer will face up to her Dutch teammate, Jiske Griffioen, in Friday's semifinals.
China's other Women's Singles player, Hu Dandan, also bowed out in the quarterfinals, losing to second seed Korie Homan of the Netherlands, 6-1, 6-1.
Dong and Hu paired up for the Women's Doubles - Open quarterfinal in the afternoon but lost 6-0, 6-2, to Homan and her partner, Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands, spelling the end of the Paralympic Games for the Chinese Wheelchair Tennis Team.
In another Women's Singles match, Florence Gravellier of France beat Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-4 in less than an hour. Although Walraven is the No. 3 seed and Gravellier is No. 5, Gravellier had a 12-9 lead in head-to-head between the two players, reflected in Thursday's win.
The Dutch team of Jiske Griffioen and Esther Vergeer also did well in the Women's Doubles - Open, making short work of Japan's Yuko Okabe and Mie Yaosa, winning 6-1, 6-2 in just 52 minutes. Beth Arnoult and Kaitlyn Verfuerth of the United States beat the British pair, 16-year old Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker, in a three-set match 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, lasting two-and-a-half hours. The Dutch and US teams will now face off in Saturday's semifinals.
In the Men's Singles third round, non-seeded former World No.1 champion Stephen Welch of the United States, who had been a strong contender to take on the World No.2 and defending champion Robin Ammerlaan of the Netherlands, suffered a swift 6-2, 6-3 loss lasting 47 minutes. Ammerlaan will now face the No. 9 seed, Satoshi Saida of Japan, in Friday's quarterfinal. Saida defeated the No.5 seed and three-Paralympic veteran Tadeusz Kruszelnicki of Poland 6-2, 6-3. Top seed Shingo Kunieda of Japan won easily against Jon Rydberg of the United States, 6-1, 6-1, which will see him play the seventh seed, Stefan Olsson of Sweden in the quarterfinal.
In the Men's Doubles, top seed and gold medal favorites Shingo Kunieda and Satoshi Saida of Japan easily beat Spain's Alvaro Illobre and Francesc Tur 6-1, 6-1. The seventh-seeded Dutch team of Robin Ammerlaan and Eric Stuurman of the Netherlands beat Josef Felix and Marek Gergely of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2.
(BOCOG September 12, 2008)