21 Jul 2012

Vergeer and Gershony win British Open titles

Match Report

Photo: ITFEsther Vergeer (NED)

World No. 1 Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands won her 12th women’s singles titles in succession at the British Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, on Saturday, while Israel’s Noam Gershony won his first British Open quad singles final.

Meanwhile, world No. 10 Gordon Reid reached his first Super Series men’s singles final and will now face three-time British Open champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan.

Vergeer wins 12th successive British Open title

Vergeer won three games in succession to take a 4-1 first set lead against her compatriot and world No. 2 Aniek van Koot in the women’s singles final and after maintaining her three game cushion to make it 5-2 the defending champion made a few uncharacteristic errors before edging a close game to take the set.

Vergeer dominated the second set as she forced van Koot into more errors and with van Koot serving to stay in the match she dropped her serve to love as Vergeer wrapped up a 62 60 win in 58 minutes.

“Today I didn’t feel great confidence coming into the match, but after the first couple of games I felt I got into it and I’ve very happy to win the British Open for the 12th time. It gives m confidence heading into London 2012,” said Vergeer after completing her last tournament before the London 2012 Paralympic Games by extending her unbeaten winning streak to 465 singles matches since the end of January 2003.

Gershony claims British Open quad title

In the quad singles final Gershony made a slow start and a string of double faults in the second game allowed first-time British Open finalist Jamie Burdekin of Great Britain to draw level at 1-1 before taking a narrow 2-1 lead after a strong service game.

However, a solid service game from Gershony allowed him to take a 5-3 lead and after seeing four set points disappear the world No. 3 finally took the set with a backhand winner on his fifth set point.

Gershony broke to love to take a 3-1 lead in the second set and after a string of deuces in the sixth game of the set he maintained his lead to make it 4-2 before completing a sequence of three games in succession to seal a 63 62 victory and his third Super Series title after also winning the Sydney Internatonal and the BNP Paribas French Open..

“My game is not based on power and aggression, it is based on accuracy and putting the ball where he is not,” said Gershony. “ So I played well today and went into the net more times than I can remember in any other match, so I am very happy with the way I’ve played all week and have given myself lots of confidence for the Paralympics. But I hope I don’t get drawn against Jamie as he has improved a lot over the last few months.”

The first of the men’s singles semifinals saw Reid race out of the blocks and into a 4-0 lead against 2010 runner-up and world No. 4 Ronald Vink. Although Vink fought back to make it 5-3, and despite Reid never having gone beyond the quarterfinals of a Super Series event before, the unseeded British player remained in command to complete a 63 62 victory.

“I’m pretty buzzing at the moment,” said Reid. “It was another big result for me and I’m really happy with my performance as well. I had a good warm up this morning and started really well. I knew I’d have to return well and serve well, because he’s a strong server and I tried to play to his backhand as much as I could because he’s got one of the best forehands in the game.

“There’s no pressure on me tomorrow against Shingo. I’ve already played him a couple of times this year and had set points in one of those.”

In the other men’s semifinal 2007, 2008 and 2009 British Open champion Shingo Kunieda eased to a 61 61 win over Michael Jeremiasz of France.

“I’m very happy with my performance, I played aggressively today he made some mistakes. I am looking forward to playing Gordon. I’ve played him two times this year and so I think I know how to play him now.”

Men's doubles and quad doubles finalists decided

The men’s doubles and quad doubles semifinals also took place on the penultimate day of play in Nottingham.

In the men’s doubles top seeds Stephane Houdet and Jeremiasz of France took a 5-2 lead in their semifinal against Japan’s Takuya Miki and Kunieda, but Miki and Kunieda came back strongly to level at 5-5 before forcing a tiebreak. However, Houdet and Jeremiasz took a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak and finally claimed the set.

The Beijing Paralympic champions then eased into a 4-1 second set lead before finally recording a 76(3) 62 victory.

In the other men’s semi Dutch second seeds Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink raced into a 5-0 lead against Beijing Paralympic silver medallists Stefan Olsson and Peter Vikstrom of Swede n and although the unseeded Swedish duo won the next three games Ammerlaan and Vink went on to reach the final 63 63.

The closest of the doubles semifinals came in the quad doubles as Israeli partnership Noam Gershony and Shraga Weinberg took the opening set against American second seeds Bryan Barten and David Wagner 6-3, but Barten and Wagner came from 3-0 down in the second set to take it 6-4 and force a decider.

Gershony and Weinberg gained the early initiative in the final set as they opened a 3-0 lead, but Barten and Wagner took the next three games before the momentum swung again and Gershony and Weinberg  finally wrapped up a 63 46 63 victory.

Top seeds Burdekin and Andrew Lapthorne dominated the opening set of their semifinal against Sweden’s Anders Hard and Lucas Sithole of South Africa, but there was never more than one game separating the two partnerships in the second set and a thrilling conclusion saw Burdekin and Lapthorne come back from 5-2 down in a tiebreak to secure their place in the final 61 76(5).

British Open Draws

Order of Play - Sunday, 22 July 2012