Photo: Dr Ivan VyvadilMichaela Spaanstra (NED)
For the second successive week Dutch players dominated on the clay courts at an ITF 2 Series event as Ronald Vink, Michaela Spaanstra and Dorrie Timmermans-van Hall all claimed back-to-back titles over the weekend with victory at the SMP CZ Czech Open in Prostejov.
Former world No. 3 and London 2012 men’s singles bronze medallist Vink has moved up three places to No. 13 in this week’s rankings after being the only seeded player to progress beyond the second round in Prostejov. Vink, who got married and became a dad for the first time in 2013, had his own scare in the quarterfinals before defeating German’s Stefan Sommerfeld 26 62 63, but went on to ease past Austria’s Josef Riegler 62 61 in the last four to earn his place in the final.
Three-time ITF World Champion and 1996 Paralympic champion Ricky Molier beat Australian fifth seed Keegan Oh-Chee and third seed Martin Legner of Austria to earn his place in the men’s semifinals, where he faced French top seed and defending champion after Cattaneo’s three set quarterfinal win over Polish seventh seed Kamil Fabisiak.
Cattaneo stepped up his level to move past Molier 61 64, but he was unable to secure a first career win over Vink, who claimed the Czech Open title 63 64, dropping one more game than he had to Cattaneo in the Polish Open final a week earlier. Vink also added the men’s doubles title, partnering Molier to victory.
Spaanstra hits second successive career best
A week after winning the first ITF 2 Series singles title of her career in Poland, Michaela Spaanstra clinched her second in Prostejov.
This time last year it was Cattaneo and USA’s Emmy Kaiser that were making the headlines at Europe’s ITF 2 Series clay court events. Top seed Kaiser reached her second straight women’s singles final in the Czech Republic relatively comfortably, with the exception of dropping the second set of her quarterfinal against Russia’s Viktoriia Lvova before prevailing a 60 46 61.
It was also a Russian opponent that gave Spaanstra her biggest test en route to the final, but Spaanstra held on to win her semifinal against fourth seed Ludmila Bubnova 46 62 64.
The Dutchwoman reached her first women’s singles final in Prostejov in 2013 and despite Kaiser putting up stern resistance in an attempt to keep her title this year, Spaanstra went on to record a 62 26 64 victory to reverse last year’s result.
Spaanstra, who took up wheelchair tennis in 2011 after surgery for a tumour in 2010, was a talented junior player between the ages of six and 19. She only won her first singles title as a wheelchair player last August and her latest victory sees the 36-year-old earn a career best singles ranking for the second successive week, this time moving up to No.14 ahead of attempting to make it a hat-trick of titles at this week’s ITF 3 Series Slovakia Open.
Like Vink, Spaanstra also ended the tournament with singles and doubles title after teaming up with Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Morch to beat Bubnova and Lvova 63 63 in the women’s doubles final.
Timmermans returns to world rankings
Formerly one of the highest ranked female players on the quad singles rankings, Timmermans-van Hall makes her return to the world rankings this week after earning her second ITF 2 title in as many weeks.
Timmermans-van Hall beat Austrian third seed Peter Tatschl 60 60 and American second seed Marc McLean 64 61 in her first two matches in Prostejov, while Israel’s Patrick Ben Uriel knocked top seed Adam Field out in the semifinals with a 63 63 win. But Timmermans-van Hall was rarely in trouble in the final, wrapping up a 63 62 victory.
Ben Uriel and Field cinched the quad doubles title after defeating McLean and India’s Harry Boniface Prabhu 75 60 in the final.