10 Sep 2017

Kamiji sets US Open final against De Groot

News Article

By Bob Greene

Photo: Takeo TanumaYui Kamiji (JPN)

Wheelchair tennis may have taken a one-year hiatus from the US Open, but Japan’s Yui Kamiji is still the woman to beat.

The top-seeded Kamiji grabbed a spot in Sunday’s women’s singles final by defeating Dutchwoman Aniek Van Koot 64 26 62. Seeking her second US Open title, Kamiji will take on another Dutch woman, Diede de Groot, who got past yet another Dutch player, Marjolein Buis, in her semifinal, 64,64.

The wheelchair event was not held at last year’s US Open because the dates coincided with the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Kamiji is seeking her third Grand Slam title of 2017.

On Saturday, after fighting it out in singles, de Groot and Buis teamed up to win the women’s doubles, beating American Dana Mathewson and Van Koot 64 63.

“We played well,” de Groot said of their first Grand Slam title as a team. They began playing together 1½ years ago.

“We had a good strategy,” Buis added.

Great Britain’s Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett combined to win the men’s wheelchair doubles title, defeating the top-seeded French pair of Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer.

“We put a lot of pressure on them,” Reid said of their 75 64 victory.

Hewett, playing in his first US Open, said he and Reid are close friends both on and off the tennis court, one of the reasons he believes they are successful when they play. “We have spent so much time together,” Hewett said. “We know each other’s movements.”

That also showed in the men’s singles semifinals where Hewett edged his doubles partner 75 57 76(8). In what may or may not have been a joke, Reid was hesitant when asked if he would watch Hewett’s singles final against Houdet, a surprise 67(4) 63 64 winner over top-ranked Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina.

The US Open was the first Grand Slam tournament where Fernandez was the world’s No. 1 player on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour. The Argentine had won seven titles this season, but found it tough going at Flushing Meadows, needing three sets to get past Nicolas Peifer of France in the quarterfinals.

And Hewett’s win over Reid was an historic day at the US Open. It was the first time a Grand Slam singles semifinal was contested by two British players. After their singles, the two then returned to the court as a team to win the doubles title.

Still, Reid is glad that with the US Open coming to an end, he can take time off from the demanding sport. “I’m looking to taking a break from tennis,” he said, spending time with his family and girlfriend.

Dylan Alcott of Australia, the 2015 champion, surprised world No. 1 David Wagner in the final round of quad singles round-robin play. Alcott handed Wagner his first loss of the tournament, 67 (4), 75 62.

Andrew Lapthorne of Great Britain captured the other quad singles round-robin, stopping American wild card Bryan Barten 75, 62.