Photo: William GreinerAdam Kellerman (AUS)
Australia’s Adam Kellerman and Korea Republic’s Ju-Yeon Park made winning starts to the 2014 ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour when lifting the men’s and women’s singles titles at the Queensland Open in Brisbane on Saturday.
Kellerman, who ended 2013 as Australian No. 1 and world No. 17, opened his account for 2014 with a contest against his compatriot Dylan Alcott, who will make his Grand Slam debut in the quad singles at the Australian Open later this month.
Kellerman prevailed 63 64 against Alcott, but enjoyed a much more comfortable 60 61 quarterfinal win over David Coulson to set up a quarterfinal against Australian No. 2 and world No. 18 Ben Weekes, the player Kellerman will face on 20 January in a play-off to decide which of them wins the men’s wildcard for the Australian Open.
Second seed Kellerman, who played tennis before undergoing hip surgery aged 13 due to cancer and subsequently took up wheelchair tennis at 16, defeated third seed Weekes 62 64 in their semifinal to earn a place in the final against Japanese top seed Takuya Miki, one of two Asian players in the top half of the draw.
After defeating Korea Republic’s Ji-Hwan Lee 60 60 in the last eight Miki moved into the final having dropped just two games in three matches and he looked to be on course for the Queensland title after dropping just one game in the opening set against Kellerman. However, the 23-year-old Sydney right-hander battled back strongly for a 16 63 64 victory to land the second ITF 2 Series title of his career after edging 2-1 ahead of Miki in career head-to-heads.
All three of Kellerman and Miki’s career matches have now gone to a third and deciding set.
“I'm really happy with my start in 2014, I've been training really hard for the Australian summer series and the work is paying off,” said Kellerman, who will now prepare for the Sydney International Open, the first Super Series tournament of the year, which starts on 10 January.
Park and Japan’s Miho Nijo occupied the two seeded positions in the women’s singles, which began with comfortable wins for Australia’s Sarah Calati and Janel Manns.
Top seed Park went on to beat Calati 63 61 in the semifinals, while Nijo also dropped just four games in her semifinal after a 62 62 win over Manns, but the final proved to be much closer as Park eventually held on for a 62 67(7) 64 victory.
Saturday’s win gave the Korean the second ITF 2 Series title of her career outside of her home country after she joined Kellerman in claiming major honours at last August’s Wroclaw Cup in Poland.
Despite Kellerman and Miki being tops seeds for the men’s doubles they had to be content with runners-up honours as second seeds Keegan Oh-Chee and Weekes secured and all-Australian victory, winning the final 62 62.
Nijo and Park claimed the first women’s doubles title of 2014 after winning both their round-robin matches in straight sets, earning a 76(3) 60 win over runners-up Calati and Manns.