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Dylan Alcott

 

Dylan Alcott recorded his first grand slam win, surviving a scare to defeat Andrew Lapthorne in the Australian Open men’s quad wheelchair singles on Thursday.

After pushing number one seed David Wagner on Wednesday, the local hope again claimed the opening set.

Lapthorne squared the contest by winning the second set, but Alcott rallied to take a 5-2 lead in the third before failing to capitalise on three match points.

It opened the door for Britain’s Lapthorne, and he accepted the invitation to go ahead 6-5.

However, two-time Paralympic basketball medalist Alcott recovered to hold on 6-4 5-7 8-6.

“I never get nervous when I play basketball, but it’s a bit different when you’re from Melbourne and all your friends and family and you’re up 5-2 in the third and you get down 6-5,” said Alcott after the match.

Alcott will play doubles’ partner Lucas Sithole in the final round-robin match on Friday.

Meanwhile, number one seed Shingo Kunieda will defend his Australian Open title in the men’s wheelchair singles final.

Kunieda brushed past Dutch world number six Maikel Scheffers in just 41 minutes on Court 7, advancing to the final 6-0 6-0.

The Japanese world number one produced a clinical display, winning 21 of 26 first serve points while serving 87 per cent on his first serve.

Scheffers managed to win only 15 points for the match, as 29-year-old Kunieda again proved too strong after eclipsing Scheffers in the Melbourne Open final last week.

Kunieda will be aiming for his seventh Australian Open wheelchair singles title when he faces Gustavo Fernandez in the final.

The Argentine toppled second seed Stephane Houdet to reach his first grand slam decider.

Fernandez had little difficulty in the first set as he built on Thursday’s first singles win at a grand slam event, but the 20-year-old was forced to fight in the second set as the experienced Frenchman looked to force a third set. World number five Fernandez prevailed in a second set tiebreak, winning 6-1 7-6(4).

The women’s final will be contested between the top two seeds after Sabine Ellerbrock and Yui Kamiji reached the final in contrasting fashion.

First seed Ellerbrock had the easier path, defeating Great Britain’s Jordanne Whiley 6-1 6-1 in just 50 minutes on Court 5.

The German will be aiming for a second grand slam title after winning last year’s French Open.

Ranked second in the world, the 38-year-old will take on rising star Kamiji after the second seed outlasted Jiske Griffioen in three sets.

Japan’s Kamiji won 6-3 0-6 6-4 to advance to a second final in a week after winning the Melbourne Open.

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Post-Tournament
Monday, 22 September 2014
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