13 Jan 2013

Houdet survives scare in Sydney

Match Report

Photo: Philippe BuissinStephane Houdet (FRA)

World No. 1 Stephane Houdet survived a final set tie-break on Sunday’s captivating third day of play at the APIA Sydney International Open as two of the four men’s singles quarterfinals at the first Super Series event on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour went to a deciding set and Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen set up an all-Dutch women’s singles final.

Houdet and his men’s singles quarter-final opponent Gordon Reid had been to three sets in three of their previous eight matches on the NEC Tour and Reid took the second set in Sydney to force another decider. However, French top seed Houdet won the vital points in the tie-break to prevail 6-3, 2-6 7-6(4).

Houdet’s semifinal opponent will be world No. 3 Maikel Scheffers of the Netherland after the Dutchman ended the title defence of world No. 6 Michael Jeremiasz of France after another gripping encounter.

Scheffers edged out Jeremiasz 76(3) 75 ending any hopes of Jeremiasz repeating the kind of feats he attained at the start of 2012, when he won all four of his tournaments in Australia en route to building a 20 match winning streak.

In the bottom half of the draw French world No. 8 Nicolas Peifer edged ahead of world No. 4 Ronald Vink of the Netherlands in career head-to-heads after coming from a set down to win their quarterfinal.

Peifer won through 26 64 63 and will come up against world No. 2 Shingo Kunieda in the semifinals after two-time Paralympic men’s singles gold medallist Shingo Kunieda beat Arentina’s 18-year-old world No. 5 Gustavo Fernandez 61 63.

Van Koot edges out Buis to set up Griffioen final

World No. 2 Aniek van Koot and reigning NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Jiske Griffioen will contest the first Super Series women’s singles final of the year after van Koot fought back to win a fascinating semifinal against her fellow Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis.

Even without outgoing champion and world No. 1 Esther Vergeer, the top Dutch players dominated the semifinals and world No. 2 van Koot took her number of career wins over Buis into double figures despite Buis making an encouraging start from the world No. 5.

Van Koot edged through to the final 57 64 63 and will now play Griffioen, who avenged her recent Queensland Open loss to German world No. 3 Sabine Ellerbrock in no uncertain terms.

Ellerbrock beat Griffioen 63 63 in the final of the season opener in Brisbane, but this time Griffioen asserted herself from the outset to secure a 61 60 victory.

Rain brought a premature end to Sunday’s play with only one of the four scheduled doubles semifinals completed. Second seeds Jeremiasz and Kunieda beat third seeds Reid and Scheffers 62 62,  thereby ending the unbeaten doubles record of Reid and Scheffers, who arrived in Sydney having won their last two tournaments together.

Jeremiasz and Kunieda will face either top seeds Houdet and Vink or Fernandez and Martin Legner of Austria in the men’s doubles final, while both women’s double semifinals have been rescheduled for Monday’s penultimate day of play.