08 Jun 2012

Houdet and Vergeer net Roland Garros titles

Match Report

Photo: Paul ZimmerStephane Houdet (FRA) and Esther Vergeer (NED)

Stephane Houdet of France won his first Grand Slam title, while Dutchwoman Esther Vergeer won her sixth title in Paris after two contrasting finals in the Roland Garros wheelchair tennis event, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, on Friday.

Houdet came from 4-0 down in a final set tiebreak to defeat four-time Roland Garros champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan 62 26 76(6) in the men’s singles final, with the Frenchman ensuring his move to the top of the world rankings in the process.

Meanwhile, Vergeer was once again completely dominant in the women’s singles final as she powered past her compatriot and world No. 2 Aniek van Koot 60 60 in just 44 minutes.

It was not only Vergeer’s second 60 60 victory in successive days after she beat another fellow Dutchwoman, Sharon Walraven, in the semifinals, but it was also her second Grand Slam final in succession that she had overcome van Koot 60 60 after the world’s top two players also met in the title decider at January’s Australian Open.

Vergeer, who has now extended her winning streak to 457th matches and has not been beaten since January 2003, has now won six of her last eight Grand Slam finals without dropping a game.

Houdet edges to thrilling victory

Houdet gained an immediate break at the start of the men's final and extended his lead to 4-1 after a love service game en route to taking the first set comfortably on his second set point.

Kunieda gained the first break of the second set to lead 2-1 and broke Houdet again to lead 4-1 before following the Frenchman's lead and serving out the set on his second set point.

As he had done in the first set Houdet broke again at the start of the third and deciding set for a 2-0 lead, but after Kunieda broke straight back a series of dominant service games from both players saw the match climax in a tiebreak, with Kunieda taking a commanding 5-1 lead.

However, in front of a home crowd and in his second Roland Garros final, Houdet refused to give in and fought back as Kunieda saw two match points at 6-4 and 6-5 disappear before he finally put in a double fault on Houdet's first match point.

Vergeer dominates

In the women's final Vergeer comfortably broke van Koot's serve in the second and fourth games, while yielding most points on her own service, but it wasn't until van Koot served to stay in the first set that she had her first game point, albeit briefly.

Van Koot had another game point in the first game of the second set, but once again Vergeer was more than equal to the challenge and confidently powered her way through to a 4-0 lead. Van Koot held two break points in the fifth game, but again Vergeer had all the answers and only need the first of two match points to wrap up victory at Roland Garros for the sixth successive year.

Buis and Vergeer, Cattaneo and Kunieda win doubles titles

Vergeer ended the tournament with the women's doubles title, too, although another 60 60 victory for the defending champion and her new Grand Slam-winning partner Marjolein Buis proved elusive as first-time Grand Slam finalists Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and Yui Kamiji of Japan snatched the fifth game of the second set.

Ellerbrock and Kamiji had another game point at 5-1 down, but this time they could not convert it and second seeds Buis and Vergeer rounded off a 60 61 win.

The men's doubles final was much closer as Frenchman Michael Jeremiasz and Stefan Olsson of Sweden came from 3-1 down to take the opening set against Frederic Cattaneo of France and Kunieda.

Cattaneo and Kunieda again broke early in the second set, but a repeat of the story of the first set looked to be on the cards as Jeremiasz and Olsson came back to force a tiebreak.

But, after seeing the singles final snatched from his grasp, Kunieda was not about to let the same thing happen and he and Cattaneo won seven of the last eight points in the second set tiebreak before moving away in the second half of the deciding match tiebreak to prevail 36 76(3) (10-6). 

Men's Singles Draw

Men's Doubles Draw

Women's Singles Draw

Women's Doubles Draw