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2017 Midwest Wheelchair Tennis Championships attract top players

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Top-ranked wheelchair tennis players from around the world will compete July 7-9 in the 2017 Midwest Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Grand Rapids. The outdoor tournament, an International Tennis Federation 3/United States Tennis Association Category II event, is presented by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program.

More than 60 players are set to participate in the tournament at MVP Athletic Club, 115 Crahen Ave. Match play begins at 8:30 a.m. all three days.

In the Men’s Open division, three of last year’s semi-finalists return:  Kouhei Suzuki of Japan, ITF-ranked No. 16, leads the field. Right behind him, at No. 17, is Ben Weekes of Australia. Satoshi Saida, of Japan, and Casey Ratzlaff, of the United States, at No. 25 and No. 35 respectively, round out the top four.

The Women’s Open field features the Japanese duo of Saki Takamuro, ITF-ranked No. 19, and Momoko Ohtani, ranked No. 44.  Last year’s semi-finalist, American Elizabeth Williams, comes in ranked No. 44.  Maude Jacque, of Canada (No. 67), rounds out the top four.

This year also boasts a very strong field of Quad Open competitors, said tournament director Alex Palladino. American Bryan Barten (pictured) – a Hart, Mich. native (ranked No. 9) – will look to repeat as tournament champion.  Canadian Robert Shaw (No. 20) and Julio Rueda, of Guatemala (No. 23), will offer strong competition. Gary Luker, of Canada (No. 28) rounds out a very strong top four, Palladino said.

More than 10 members of the Mary Free Bed Wheelchair Tennis Team also will compete.

The total purse for the weekend is $14,000, which will be awarded to the winners of each division.

Admission is free. Spectators are encouraged and welcome to attend.

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital. For more than 125 years, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results. For additional information, visit maryfreebed.com.

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