Photo: Paul ZimmerSabine Ellerbrock (GER)
Jiske Griffioen and Sabine Ellerbrock both reached their second women’s singles finals at a Grand Slam and their first Roland Garros finals on Thursday as Shingo Kunieda and Stephane Houdet, the world's top two ranked players, booked a meeting in the men’s singles final in Paris for the third time since 2009.
World No. 3 Ellerbrock produced the outstanding result on the second day of the second Grand Slam on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, defeating world No. 1 Aniek van Koot for the third time in what was a repeat of January’s Australian Open women’s singles final.
Van Koot won in three sets in Melbourne to claim her first Grand Slam title, but it was Ellerbrock’s day in Paris as she came from behind to edge both sets for a 64 64 victory.
“It’s incredible. I am really happy. I think it’s my biggest win,” said a delighted Ellerbrock, who combines her tennis career with her job as a teacher and had been teaching on Tuesday before travelling to Paris.
“I don’t know how I made it after the last few weeks. I had a lot of work and practice and no time to recover. I don’t know how I made it, but it is a great feeling.”
World No. 2 Griffioen, who first reached a singles final at a Grand Slam in 2006, at the Wheelchair Classic 8s at the Australian Open, before wheelchair tennis became fully integrated in all four Grand Slams, dominated her semifinal against South Africa’s world No. 6 Kgothatso Montjane from the outset.
Griffioen eventually wrapped up a 61 63 win over Montjane, who became the first African player to win a wheelchair tennis match at a Grand Slam in Wednesday’s semifinals.
“I am very happy, especially for my singles, as it’s my first final here,” said Griffioen later, after also partnering fellow Dutchwoman to the women’s doubles final. “I played two solid matches today and hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.”
Kunieda and Houdet to contest another men’s final
After two three set matches on the clay in Paris, world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda and world No. 2 Stephane Houdet are level at 1-1 in their head-to-heads at Roland Garros, Houdet having saved two match points in a final set tiebreak in last year’s final to clinch his first Grand Slam title.
The world’s top two players will meet in the final for the third time on Friday after both recording straight sets wins in their semifinals.
In a rematch of the 2011 final Dutchman Maikel Scheffers fought back from a break down to level the opening set of his semifinal against Kunieda, but the Japanese four-time champion gained another break to move 5-3 ahead en route to taking the first set.
Scheffers, who won his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros two years ago, again recovered from 3-0 down in the second set, but despite being just one game adrift of Kunieda at 4-3 the world No. 3 could not get back on terms. At 5-3 down Scheffers saved two match points to again close on Kunieda, but Kunieda earned himself another two match points in the next game, eventually converting for a 64 64 victory.
Houdet secured the first service break in his semifinal against first-time Grand Slam semifinalist to move 3-2 ahead and ended the set with his second service break. Reid fought back from 4-1 down in the second set, but Houdet clinched the last two games to progress to the final 63 64.
Men's and women's doubles finalists decided
Houdet and Kunieda will bid for their second Roland Garros men’s doubles title on Friday in a rematch of last November’s Doubles Masters final.
The top seeds and 2010 Australian Open and Roland Garros champions trailed Michael Jeremiasz and Scheffers 3-1 in the first set of Friday’s second doubles semifinal when cause a suspension in play. After being 3-0 down Houdet and Kunieda went 4-1 down on the resumption before regrouping to take the set 6-4.
It was Jeremiasz and Scheffers who turned round a 3-0 deficit in the second set to win the last two games and force a championship tiebreak. However, another shift in momentum saw Houdet and Kunieda come from 5-2 down in the tiebreak to seal a thrilling 64 57 (10-8) victory.
Houdet and Kunieda will face second seeds Reid and Ronald Vink in Friday’s final, having come from a set down to beat Reid and Vink in November’s Doubles Masters final.
Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot, the reigning Doubles Masters women’s champions, will bid for their third successive Grand Slam doubles title on Friday.
The top seeds and 2012 Wimbledon and 2013 Australian Open champions dominated their semifinal against Germany’s Katharina Kruger and Montjane to record a 61 61 win that sets up a final against the Germany-Dutch partnership of Ellerbrock and Sharon Walraven.
Friday's wheelchair tennis finals at Roland Garros take place on court 7 from 11.00 local Paris time.
Men's Singles Draw
Women's Singles Draw
Men's Doubles Draw
Women's Doubles Draw
Schedule of Play - Friday, 7 June 2013