Vancouver, October 23, 2015 – Philippe Bedard and Eric Gilbert are among the players who captured victories at the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships at the UBC Tennis Centre on Friday to advance into the men’s championship draw.
Parapan Am bronze medalist Bedard had no trouble in a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over fellow Quebecer Maxime Beliveau to finish atop Group A. The top seed now has a bye into the semifinals. For his part, No. 2-seeded Gilbert also posted a double bagel, against Ontario’s Marko Golic, to win Group B and take his place in the semifinals as well.
British Columbian and three-time Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair basketball, Richard Peter also made the championship draw by coming back from 4-1 down to win 6-4, 6-1 over 16-year-old up-and-comer Tomas Bourassa. Also making the championship flight are Albertan Kyle Thompson and Jean-Paul Melo of Quebec.
“It was a good match today, it took me a bit to wake up but by the end it was a lot of fun,” Peter said. “It was good to play against Tomas. The next round will be a big challenge with a lot of the big hitters out there but it’ll be a lot of fun for the next round.”
In the quad tournament, No. 1 seed Gary Luker and No. 2 Rob Shaw, both from Ontario, won to maintain perfect records through the first two days of competition and maintain their respective leads in Group A and Group B. Luker captured a 6-0, 6-0 triumph against Peter Isherwood of BC, while Shaw was victorious 6-0, 6-0 opposite BC’s Alexis Chicoine.
“I’m hoping to make it to the final,” Shaw said on his goal at this year’s event. “I’ve only been to nationals one time before and I got knocked out in the semifinals, and so hopefully this year I can make it one step further and make it to the final in singles and hopefully doubles as well. And from there, we’ll see how it goes.”
Saturday’s action will determine the first-place finishers in both round-robin groups, with the winners advancing to play each other in the final.
The women’s event saw Tara Llanes clinch her second straight match. The top seed from BC secured a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Marni Abbott-Peter. Quebec’s Maude Jacques also is 2-0 in round-robin play following a 6-1, 6-0 win against Kiran Aujlay of BC. Another BC player, Kirsten Sharp, joined the winner’s circle on Friday by picking up a 6-0, 6-1 victory versus Abbott-Peter.
The Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships is the biggest wheelchair tennis tournament held in Canada each year, with the country’s top athletes competing for national titles. Action will continue on Saturday, with play commencing at 9 a.m. and continuing through the day. For the complete draws and schedules, please click here.