ASH Priors’ Lucy Shuker reached her first women’s singles final at Super Series level over the weekend before finishing runner-up in the US Open USTA Wheelchair Tennis Championships, one of the world’s top six tournaments outside of the Grand Slams.
The British No. 1 went into the prestigious tournament world ranked No. 8 and her performance in St. Louis has consolidated her place inside the world’s top eight to confirm her qualification for November’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, the year-end highlight for the world’s leading players.
Shuker is one of only two British females on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme to have ever qualified for the NEC Masters and will play in the event for the third time since 2008.
Shuker regained her place in the top eight after starting her two weeks in the USA by winning the women’s singles at the PTR Championships on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina before opening her campaign in St. Louis by defeating Germany’s Katharina Kruger, the player she had beaten in the PTR Championships final.
The London 2012 Paralympic doubles bronze medallist beat Kruger 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals and then secured her second victory of the season over Dutch world No. 7 Sharon Walraven 6-2, 6-2, having beaten Walraven for the second time in her career at May’s Atlanta Open, where Shuker was also runner-up.
In the final Shuker put up a good effort against top seed and world No. 3 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany, but Ellerbrock finally pulled away in the third and deciding set to take the title 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
Shuker said: “It's been a good two weeks in the States again.
“Both of my other two wins against Sharon have been in three sets and she beat me in three sets earlier this year, so I am really pleased to have done it quite convincingly in straight sets this time and, of course, to have reached my first Super Series final.
“I made a pretty good start in the final against Sabine and these kinds of matches against fellow top 10 ranked opposition stand me in good stead for the upcoming Nottingham Indoor and the Masters events.”