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Wagner to play for bronze at 2016 Paralympics

david_wagner_paralympics2
September 14, 2016 03:26 PM

By Steve Goldberg, special to USTA

Rio de Janeiro – It was not a good night for David Wagner, yet the most accomplished American wheelchair tennis player almost pulled it out regardless.

In his semifinal singles match of the quad division, the 42-year-old Wagner, who has five Paralympic medals – two silver in singles (2004, 2012) and three gold in doubles (2004, 2008, 2012) with Nick Taylor – fell behind 3-0 to Great Britain's Andy Lapthorne, 25. He then won the next three games and it looked as though the ship had been righted.

Then, just as quickly, the No. 2 seed lost the next three games and the first set, 6-3.

"I have a tough singles and it didn't go my way," said Wagner. "Sometimes that happens."

Since 2010, Wagner held a 31-10 main draw record over Lapthorne, according to ITF records, not including last night's result. In their last match, the Australian Open in January, Lapthorne prevailed in three sets, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Monday's score would not be much different.

In the second set, Wagner came out quick, building a 4-1 lead. Lapthorne held serve to pull one back but Wagner closed him out, 6-2. 

The California-born but Washington-raised Wagner took the first game of the third set before dropping the next three. He fought back to 3-3 but Lapthorne would not succumb this time, winning 6-3 and earning a trip to his first Paralympic singles final.

Along with Peter Norfolk, Lapthorne lost in the London 2012 doubles final to Wagner and Taylor.

Wagner will face South African Lucas Sithole for the bronze medal on Wednesday. The No. 3 seed lost to top seed Dylan Alcott of Australia, 6-0, 6-3 in the other semifinal.

On Tuesday evening, Wagner will again team with Taylor in search for a fourth-straight quad doubles gold medal. The pair has never lost a Paralympic doubles match since the category was added in 2004.

 

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