Photo: Paul ZimmerStephane Houdet (FRA)
Stephane Houdet of France and Shingo Kunieda of Japan will contest Friday’s men’s singles final at the Roland Garros wheelchair tennis event, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, while Esther Vergeer will face Aniek van Koot as the world’s top two ranked Dutch players go head-to-head in the women’s singles final.
Second seed Houdet led Dutchman Ronald Vink 2-0 in the first set of their semifinal with the score poised at deuce in the third game when play was suspended due to rain.
On the resumption Houdet won the points he needed to extend his lead to 4-0 before Vink picked up his first game. However, Houdet got the better of the remaining exchanges to dropping take the set in 26 minutes.
Houdet, who came into this week’s tournament as world No. 2, broke again at the start of the second set and although Vink had more success than in the first set it was the Frenchman who wrapped up a 61 63 victory to reach his second Roland Garros final and his sixth Grand Slam final since 2009.
If Houdet is to lift his first Grand Slam title he will have to beat four-time Roland Garros champion, Kunieda, whose semifinal had not started when the rain arrived. However, when he did get underway, Kunieda made light work of putting his semifinal exit in 2011 behind him as he sped through the first set against Sweden’s Stefan Olsson in 16 minutes for the loss of just five points.
Olsson had as much success in the first game of the second set as he had throughout the entire first set and briefly led 1-0. But Kunieda was soon back on top of his opponent and closed out a 60 62 victory to reach his fifth Roland Garros final in six years.
Later in the day Michael Jeremiasz of France and Olsson ensured that neither seeded partnership contest Friday’s men’s doubles final.
Jeremiasz and Olsson came from a break down to take the opening set of their semifinal against second seeds Houdet and Dutchman Maikel Scheffers to a tiebreak and Jeremiasz and Olsson went to take the initiative.
Houdet and Scheffers came from 4-1 down in the second set to force another tiebreak, but once again Jeremiasz and Olsson won the points that mattered to eventually seal a 76(3) 76(5) victory.
Jeremiasz and Olsson will play Frederic Cattaneo of France and Kunieda in the final.
World No. 1 Esther Vergeer’s passage into her sixth successive Roland Garros final came after the kind of dominant performance that she has produced so often in the past and she eased past her compatriot Sharon Walraven 60 60.
The second of the all-Dutch semifinals was altogether different as world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen dominated the first set against world No. 2 Aniek van Koot. However, van Koot regrouped for the start of the second set and forced a decider before reaching her third Grand Slam final and her first at Roland Garros 16 62 62.
There was an upset in the remaining women’s doubles semifinal to be played. Sabine Ellerbrock and Yui Kamiji, whose only previous doubles match together had ended in them winning just two games against Vergeer and Walraven in this year’s Australian Open semifinals, defeated top seeds Griffioen and Annick Sevenans of Belgium 63 62.
Ellerbrock and Kamiji will play their first Grand Slam final against Dutch second seeds Marjolein Buis and Vergeer.
Friday's men's and women's singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros will all take place on court 7, starting with the women's singles final, from 11.00 local Paris time.
Men's Singles Draw
Men's Doubles Draw
Women's Singles Draw
Women's Doubles Draw
Order of Play: Friday, 8 June 2012