WHEELCHAIR TENNIS TAKES CENTER STAGE ON ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM FOR FIRST TIME AT THE U.S. OPEN

Written by: on 7th September 2017
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USA TENNIS US OPEN 2017
WHEELCHAIR TENNIS TAKES CENTER STAGE ON ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM FOR FIRST TIME AT THE U.S. OPEN

epa06191080 The New York City skyline with the Empire State Building at left and the Chrysler Building at right as seen from Arthur Ashe Stadium as Sloane Stephens of the US plays Venus Williams of the US during their US Open Tennis Championships semifinals round match at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 06 September 2017. The US Open runs through September 10. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO  |

By Ricky Dimon

 

For the first time in U.S. Open history, wheelchair tennis was played in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday afternoon. In men’s doubles, No. 2 seeds Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid of Great Britain Alfie Hewett defeated Japan’s Shingo Kunedia and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez 6-3, 6-2 in the history-making match.

 

A women’s doubles match followed, with American Dana Mathewson and Dutchwoman Aniek van Koot ousting the second-seed duo of Japan’s Yui Kamiji and Great Britain’s Lucy Shuker 0-6, 6-4, 10-5.

 

“We knew a few days ago that some matches would be played on Ashe,” said the 19-year-old Hewett. “I found out at 8 p.m. last night–it was a nice surprise.”

 

“It was incredible to have that opportunity as wheelchair players,” Reid added. “It’s showing the respect that wheelchair tennis is gaining, a great first match here. It’s probably the nicest court I played on, so for me, it really is the stuff that dreams are made of, to play on Ashe. Hopefully, it’s not the last time.”

 

The U.S. Open Wheelchair Tennis Competition continues through Sunday in the men’s, women’s, and quad divisions. It follows almost all of the same rules as able-bodied tennis– except that the ball can bounce twice before being hit back across the net.

 

In the intercollegiate championship, Martin Redlicki of UCLA beat Christopher Eubanks of Georgia Tech 6-2, 6-4. Eubanks also got a wild card into the main draw of the men’s tournament and lost in the first round to Dudi Sela. The Atlanta native did, however, enjoy a career highlight during his fortnight in New York. He got to practice earlier this week with none other than 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.

 

Eubanks posted the following on Twitter: “Had a blast today striking a few with the GOAT! Thanks and good luck tomorrow @rogerfederer #Usopen2017 #GOAT.”

 

Unfortunately for both players involved, the practice session did not pay dividends. In addition to Eubanks’ loss, Federer fell in the quarterfinals 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 to Juan Martin Del Potro on Tuesday night.

 

Eubanks returned to Twitter thereafter: “I’m sorry @rogerfederer #blamethepractice.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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