12 Jan 2018

Super Series singles finalists decided in Sydney

News Article

Photo: Tom BrassilAniek van Koot (NED)

Shingo Kunieda will contest his first Super Series final since  June 2015 and Aniek van Koot will play her first Super Series final since July 2016 after both progressed though Friday’s men’s and women’s singles semifinals at the Sydney International Open, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, with David Wagner and Dylan Alcott advancing to the quad singles final.

The men's, women's and quad doubles titles were also decided on the penultimate day of conpetition, with the second seeds prevailing in all three finals.

Seventh seed Kunieda faces world No.2 and last year’s beaten finalist Alfie Hewett in Saturday’s men’s singles final after earning a 64 64 win over fellow Japanese and world No. 9 Takashi Sanada to reach the singles title decider of a Super Series for the first time since winning the 2015 BNP Paribas Open de France.

While Kunieda will bid for his fifth title in Sydney, Hewett will be out to try and land his first career Super Series singles title after defeating fellow Brit and former Sydney champion Gordon Reid 60 64. Saturday’s final also gives Hewett the opportunity to move ever closer to Gustavo Fernandez at the top of the world rankings and follow up his NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters title last month, when his only match loss was to Kunieda in the round-robin phase of the competition.

Van Koot upsets de Groot to reach women’s final

Fifth seed van Koot beat reigning NEC Masters women’s champion and world No. 2 Diede de Groot for the first time since the 2016 Masters as the 27-year-old dug deep to wrap up a 76(5) 64 victory – her first against de Groot in five matches.

Van Koot will now contest a Super Series final for the first time since the 2016 British Open as she goes up against world No. 1 Yui Kamiji of Japan. Kamiji, who lost out to  de Groot in the 2017 semifinals in Sydney, raced past third seed Sabine Ellerbrock 61 60 this time and now attempts to regain the Sydney title she won in 2015.

Alcott to bid for Sydney four-timer

World No. 3 Alcott is one win away from making it four successive Sydney International Open quad singles titles after beating South Africa’s Lucas Sithole 61 62. The Australian goes into his first UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour final since November’s Bath Indoor after beating Sithole in Sydney for the first time since they met in the 2015 final.

When Alcott contested his last final in Bath in November he lost out to world No. 1 David Wagner and the USA top seed will be on the opposite side of the net in Sydney once again on Saturday. Wagner held firm to defeat world No. 5 Heath Davidson 63 63 in his semifinal, denying the home fans of an all-Australian final and ensuing there would be no repeat of Davidson’s semifinal win when they met at the last Super Series of 2017 in St. Louis.

Second seeds claim main draw doubles titles

All three second-seeded partnerships secured victories in the men’s, women’s and quad doubles finals.

Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer made it a hat-trick of Sydney International Open titles as the French partnership beat Hewett and Reid in the final for the third successive year, their latest win over the reigning UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters champions coming 26 63 63.

It was a second straight Super Series women’s doubles title for Kamiji and Lucy Shuker as the Japanese-British combo followed up their victory last September at the US Open USTA Championships. As they did in St. Louis four months ago Kamiji and Shuker beat the tournament’s Dutch top seeds, although this time the opponents were de Groot and van Koot, with Kamiji and Shuker sealing the title 64 63.

While the home fans were denied the prospect of an al-Australian quad singles final, the quad doubles ended with an Aussie victory as Rio Paralympic gold medallists Alcott and Davidson produced a polished performance to beat Antony Cotterill and Wagner 63 61.

2018 Sydney International Wheelchair Tennis Open Draws