Even when American quads lose, they win.
A wild finish on between the U.S. and Great Britain saw a lengthy tie-break between the two rival nations, as Americans Nick Taylor and David Wagner were upset by the duo of Antony Cotterill and Adam Field, 7-5, 1-6, [11-9] – a small blemish in what was otherwise a commanding performance for Team USA, which now finds itself two team victories from a record eighth BNP Paribas World Team Cup title.
Earlier in the day, Taylor and Wagner both sailed to straight-sets victories in singles to assure a berth into Friday’s semifinals, where Japan awaits. Should the foursome of Taylor, Wagner, Bryan Barten and Greg Hasterok prevail, a final showdown with either second-seeded Israel or Italy waits. Overall, the quads finished up with an individual match record of 8-1 in Pool A play.
The Team USA juniors also matched up with Great Britain on Wednesday and appeared poised to provide the upset of top-seeded Great Britain, as 17-year-old Krystal Kelley won her second singles affair in as many days by defeating Lauren Jones, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, to put the U.S. up 1-0 early. However, world No. 1 Alfie Hewett saved what would have been a tremendously shocking defeat for his country by rallying to beat Chris Herman in singles, and he teamed with countryman Luz Esperanza Merry to defeat Herman and Kelley in doubles to snuff out the upstart Americans, 2-1.
"The juniors fought hard each day in what turned out to be an incredibly strong pool with not only Great Britain but Spain as well," said Team USA coach Dan James of the team, who will play Iraq on Thursday to determine a fifth- or sixth-place finish. "We couldn't be more proud and see a very bright future for American wheelchair tennis."
Also eliminated from a chance at the cup were the U.S. men, blanked 3-0 by perennial powerhouse Japan. Combined with yesterday’s loss to Argentina, the U.S., led by Stephen Welch and Steve Baldwin, will now wait a day in Turkey before taking to the red clay courts again to retain its spot in the World Group.
"Japan is one of the most talented teams in the new era of wheelchair tennis – a team we respect – so we knew it would be a tremendous challenge to overcome and beat a team of that caliber," said James. "In watching our own Stephen Welch, a former world No. 1, play Shingo Kunieda, who’s the current No. 1, I think that was a real treat for all spectators."
On Thursday, only two ties are on tap for the Americans as the juniors take on Iraq and the U.S. women return to action against Australia.