Photo: Hannie VerhoevenShingo Kunieda (JPN) and Stephane Houdet (FRA)
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda retained his men’s singles title on Saturday as the 6th ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament came to an end in Rotterdam with the Japanese top seed securing his first 60 60 win over world No. 2 Stephane Houdet of France in the 38 career matches between the world’s current top two ranked players.
After Kunieda had taken a commanding 5-0 lead a double fault from Houdet gave Kunieda three set points. Although Houdet saved the first set point after he sent his opponent the wrong way and slotted a forehand past the defending champion, Kunieda wrapped up the set with a forehand down the line.
Kunieda again wowed the large crowds watching courtside at Ahoy Rotterdam en route to taking another 5-0 second set lead. As Houdet served to try and keep himself in the match he earned two game points, but two fine service returns from Kunieda brought the score back to deuce and Houdet was unable to control a backhand to give the 2013 champion match point. Kunieda subsequently sealed a completely dominant victory as Houdet failed to reach the net with another attempted backhand retrieval.
'I played amazing today. I had a good serve and good returns, so I was very happy,” said Kunieda after his 29th career win over Houdet. “With inclusion again in an ATP Tour event it was a very good experience. It is great to share the same locker rooms and restaurant.”
The ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament was the latest ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour event to take place alongside an ATP World Tour or WTA Tour event and, for the sixth successive year again had seven-time Paralympic gold medallist Esther Vergeer as Tournament Director.