Photo: Paul ZimmerAustralian Open champions Esther Vergeer and Sharon Walraven (NED)
There were Dutch winners of both the men’s and women’s doubles titles on the penultimate day of the Australian Open Wheelchair Championships, a part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, while David Wagner and Peter Norfolk reached the quad singles final after a fascinating last day of round-robin matches.
In the all-Dutch women’s doubles final second seeds Marjolein Buis and Aniek threatened to upset defending champions Esther Vergeer and Sharon Walraven after converting two of the five break point chances they had created to snatch the opening set.
Vergeer and Walraven, who won all four Grand Slam doubles titles together for the first time in 2011, produced the more solid tennis in the second set and needed just 32 minutes to level the match after capitalising on all three of their break point opportunities. The world’s top two ranked women’s doubles players then won the points that mattered in the deciding set, Vergeer and Walraven prevailing 46 62 64 after an hour and 58 minutes.
Ammerlaan and Vink win third Grand Slam doubles title
Second seeds Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink ensured they had the upper hand throughout the first set of the men’s doubles final against French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer. Both partnerships earned three break points chances apiece, but Houdet and Peifer were unable to convert any of their opportunities and Ammerlaan and Vink secured a double break to seize the advantage.
A much closer second set ended with just four points separating the two pairings, but this time Houdet and Peifer took three of their four opportunities to break and subsequently forced a decider.
However, Ammerlaan and Vink dominated the final set to wrap up their third Grand Slam doubles title together 62 46 61, having also beaten Houdet and Peifer to win the second of their two back-to-back Wimbledon titles in 2008.
Wagner and Norfolk to contest sixth Australian Open quad final
World No. 2 Peter Norfolk started the third set of quad singles matches unbeaten in his first two matches, but that was all to change against world No. 1 David Wagner as the Briton and the American renewed their rivalry.
Four-time Australian Open champion Norfolk won the opening game of both sets of the contest, but defending champion Wagner put together four games in succession in the opening set and five games in succession in the second set to build commanding advantages.
In both sets Norfolk reduced his arrears and saved two match points at 5-2 down in the second set before saving three more match points at 5-3 down. But Wagner refused to let his grip on the match slip and he eventually wrapped up a 64 63 victory after an hour and 18 minutes, having created nine opportunities to break serve compared to Norfolk’s two chances, both of which the Briton took.
In the day’s other quad match between world No. 3 Noam Gershony and world No. 3 Andrew Lapthorne, Lapthorne built a 5-3 first set lead, but he was unable to convert two set points in the ninth game and Gershony went on to snatch the set. Thereafter, reigning NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Gershony dominated the second set, eventually sealing a 75 61 victory.
With Gershony, Norfolk and Wagner all ending the round-robin phase of the competition on two wins apiece, on count back and the percentages of sets and games won it was Norfolk and Wagner who advance to Saturday’s final in Melbourne for a sixth time, Norfolk having won in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and Wagner claiming the second of his three Grand Slam titles last year.
Satuday's men's, women's and quad singles finals will all take place on Show Court 2 at Melbourne Park, starting at 1.00pm local time with the women's singles fnal.