03 Jun 2009

French players rule at Roland Garros


NEWS ARTICLE

All four French representatives have reached Thursday's men's singles and women's singles semifinals at Roland Garros after a fascinating first day of play on Wednesday at the second NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour event of 2009 to have Grand Slam tournament status.

World No. 2 Stephane Houdet (FRA) recorded the first big result of the day, ending Dutchman Robin Ammerlaan's hopes of reaching a third successive Roland Garros final. Houdet won eight consecutive games to beat world No. 3 Ammerlaan 63 60 in their men's singles first round match.

Nicolas Peifer made light of being the wild card entry for the men's singles and being the only player in the field ranked outside this week's top 10, when he became the second Frenchman to reach the semifinals after a 63 63 win over world No. 7 Martin Legner (AUT). Legner was a late call up for the event on Tuesday after the withdrawal of Tadeusz Keuszelnicki (POL).

World No. 4 Michael Jeremiasz made a superb comeback against Maikel Scheffers (NED) to ensure that all three Frenchmen in the draw featured in Thursday's semifinals. A tight match against Scheffers saw Jeremiasz clinch the last three games of both the second and third sets to prevail 36 63 63 after Scheffers had taken the last three games of the opening set.

The final men's singles quarterfinal on the first day of play at Roland Garros produced a fascinating contest between world No. 1 and defending champion Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and reigning Singles and Doubles Masters champion Stefan Olsson (SWE).

Kunieda sliced through the first set in 19 minutes as Olsson struggled on his service games, but after missing a chance to go 3-1 ahead in the second set the Swede broke Kunieda in the last two games of the set to see the Japanese player go to three sets for just the second time in 20 matches this season.

After a comfort break, Kunieda came out firing on all cylinders and dropped just two points in the first five games of the set, but Olsson was nothing if not determined and after saving a match point he sealed his fifth game point to get himself on the scoreboard. However, any thoughts of an Olsson comeback were soon dispelled as Kunieda soon closed out a 60 46 61 victory.

Kunieda will face Jeremiasz in Thursday's semifinals, wkith Jeremiasz going in to the match as the last player to beat Kunieda, at the end of 2007.

Meanwhile, Houdet takes on Peifer to see which of the two players will represent France in Friday's men's singles final.

Gravellier pulls through in three as Homan and Vergeer make sensational starts

The opening win of the day in the women's singles belonged to Sharon Walraven (NED). The world No. 4 withstood a stiff challenge from wild card entry Annick Sevenans (BEL) to prevail 63 75.

World No. 1 Esther Vergeer (NED) then opened her quest for a third Roland Garros title in hugely impressive form, beating her fellow Dutchwoman Aniek Van Koot 60 60 in 44 minutes. Van Koot won just nine points in the first set and then had her only game points of the match in the fifth game of the second set, but her efforts were to no avail.

The second 60 60 scoreline of the day belonged to world No. 2 Korie Homan (NED), who took five minutes less than Vergeer to close out victory over world No. 8 Lucy Shuker (GBR).

On a tremendous day for French players, Florence Gravellier snatched the last remaining semifinal place in the women's singles. The world No. 3 dropped the last three games of a cagey opening set to Jiske Griffioen (NED), but service holds in the fourth and eighth games of the second set saw her level the contest. After a comfort break before the start of the final set, Gravellier broke at the start of the decider and broke twice more to seal a 46 62 61 victory.

Vergeer will play Gravellier in the semifinals on Thursday, which will be a rematch of the 2007 final, when Gravellier stretched Vergeer to three sets.

Walraven will attempt to stop Homan from reaching her second successive final in Roland Garros.

Top seeds reach doubles final

Wednesday's action at Roland Garros concluded with the first of the men's doubles and women's doubles semifinals.

Top seeds and reigning Paralympic champions Houdet and Jeremiasz lost the opening game of their men's doubles semifinal against Legner and Peifer, but soon found their rhythm and went on to record a 63 63 vicory.

Meanwhile, Homan and Vergeer also lived up to their top seeding in the women's doubles and after their opponents, Shuker and Walraven, missed out on the opportunity to close to their second set deficit to 5-3, Homan and Vergeer went on to seal their place in the final with a 61 62 victory.

Thursday's semifinals will again take place on Courts 7 and 9 at Roland Garros, with play again scheduled to start on both courts at 11.00 local Paris time.

To access Thursday's full order of play, please click here.

Men's Singles Draw

Women's Singles Draw

Men's Doubles Draw

Women's Doubles Draw



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