Korie Homan and Esther Vergeer (NED) secured victory in the inaugural Wimbledon Women's Wheelchair Doubles final on Sunday, while Frenchmen Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz made it a good day for top seeds after edging a thrilling Men’s Wheelchair Doubles final to conclude the action on Court 4 at The Championships.
Homan and Vergeer, the world’s top two singles and doubles players earned a 61 63 victory over Daniela di Toro (AUS) and Lucy Shuker (GBR) in the women's final.
After winning their semifinal 60 60, Homan and Vergeer were on course to record there third successive set win without reply as they started confidently, producing trademark powerful ground strokes that either resulted in clean winners or errors off their opponents. Shuker produced a small handful of backhand volleys at the net to keep Homan and Vergeer with something to think about, but the Dutch duo had two set points in the sixth game. However, di Toro and Shuker’s persistence paid off as they firstly earned their first deuce of the match, then their first game point of the match and finally Vergeer sent a forehand down the line wide to give di Toro and Shuker their first game.
Nevertheless, any hopes of a comeback from the Anglo-Australian pairing were halted in the next game, Vergeer earning two more set points on her serve and this time another forehand down the line found its mark on the third set point.
Homan hit three forehand winners as the first game of the second set passed very quickly, but an unexpected turn of events followed. Unbeaten in 360 singles matches, Vergeer made a few uncharacteristic errors and di Toro and Shuker won three games in succession to move a break ahead. Homan and Vergeer had not lost a match in six tournaments before coming to Wimbledon, but after being a break down they soon ended any propsect of that possibly happening, putting together four games in succession to leave Shuker with the task of serving to keep her and di Toro in the match.
Shuker knocked a backhand in to the net to bring up two match points and Homan completed the historic victory with an unstoppable cross court forehand winner.
“It’s amazing to win this,” said Vergeer. “I watched Wimbledon at home all my life and just to be here in the grounds the other day gave me goose bumps, so to get playing was a great feeling. Of course you think about winning, but to actually do it is another thing and to win the inaugural Wimbledon Women’s Wheelchair Doubles title is another great thing I can add to my list,” said the 27-year-old nine-time world champion, who remains unbeaten in singles and doubles wheelchair events at Grand Slams.
Houdet and Jeremiasz earn thrilling victory
The men's doubles final provided a dramatic contest as top seeds and Roland Garros champions Houdet and Jeremiasz made a slow start against Australian Open champions Robin Ammerlaan (NED and Shingo Kunieda (JPN).
Houdet and Jeremiasz, the 2008 Beijing Paralympic men’s doubles champions, saved one set point in the sixth game before going on to take their only game of the set, Ammerlaan and Kunieda finally clinching it on their fourth set point.
A tense second set followed a pattern of two service holds and two breaks of serve, a pattern that culminated in the rally of the match, one of numerous breathtaking exchanges that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
With the spectators largely cheering for the French pairing, the encouragement was finally rewarded in the tenth game of the second set, Houdet placing a superb half volley out of Kunieda’s reach to bring up two set points. Ammerlaan cooly executed a winning drop shot to save the first set point, but Houdet made no mistake with an over head smash on the second set point to level the final.
Houdet held serve in a marathon game that started the third set and he and Jeremiasz proceeded to move a break ahead. However, Ammerlaan and Kunieda came back to level the match again and then inched ahead for the first time in the decider at 4-3.
Ammerlaan and Kunieda did well to stick to their game amid increasing French support and the final eventually came down to a third set tiebreak, with Houdet and Jeremiasz gaining the first mini-break to further please their supporters. The cushion was to prove vital and they kept their advantage, with Houdet shooting down an ace to bring up the first of three match points. After finishing runner-up in last year’s final, Houdet then made sure he went one better this year, sending a forehand rocketing down the centre of the court to wrap up a remarkable 16 64 76(3) victory.
"We have achieved so much as a partnership and this is certainly one of our career highlights along with our Beijing gold medal," said Jeremiasz, who was winning his second Wimbledon Men’s Wheelchair Doubles title after partnering Britain 's Jayant Mistry to victory in the inaugural event in 2005.
"I think communication played a big part in our victory - we spoke a lot and helped each other on when the other was struggling. We now need to go on and hopefully came win the other two Grand Slam titles we have yet to win,” said Houdet.
Men's Doubles Draw and interactive player profiles
Ladies' Doubles Draw and interactive player profiles
The Championships, Wimbledon - Official Website
Top seeds head Wimbledon men's finalists
Di Toro and Shuker make Wimbledon final
Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Preview
Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Players & Draws