31 Jan 2009

Kunieda, Vergeer, Norfolk retain Australian titles


NEWS ARTICLE

Esther Vergeer (NED) clinched her seventh Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open women's singles title on Saturday at Melbourne Park, but the final score of 64 62 does not quite tell of the drama of the match.

Meanwhile, Shingo Kunieda (JPN) won his third successive Australian Open men's singles title and Peter Norfolk (GBR) also retained the quad singles title.

In a rematch of the 2008 final, world No 2 Korie Homan (NED) made a scintillating start to the much- anticipated first meeting of 2009 between the world's top two players.

Homan took Vergeer to three sets four times during 2008 and looked like doing so again as she went 4-0 up in the first set. Homan clinched her second break point of the second game and had four break point opportunities in the fourth game before finally securing a double break.

The younger of the two Dutchwomen, Homan even had a point on her own serve that would have stretched her lead to 5-0, but she was not able to take it as Vergeer began a fight back that would see her win six games in succession. Both players had point to lead 5-4, but it was Vergeer who took the game on her second opportunity and she went on to convert her second set point.

If Vergeer expected Homan to be downcast after losing six games in a row she was to be disappointed as 22-year-old Homan came out strongly again at the start of the second set, securing another break immediately for a 2-0 lead. However, the set followed an almost identical pattern as the first set as Vergeer denied Homan any more game break points and the defending champion again reeled off six games in succession to stretch her winning streak to 357 matches after an hour and five minutes.

Kunieda and Norfolk clinch hat-tricks

Shhingo Kunieda (JPN) and Stephane Houdet (FRA) fought out a succession of deuce games in the first set of the men's singles final as the world No 1 and world No 3 players went head-to-head. However, it was Kunieda who had the final say in for the majority of the set as he opened up a 4-0 lead before holding his own service game to love for a 5-0 lead.

Houdet manged to put two games together to reduce the deficit to 5-2, but Kunieda had few problems closing out the first set.

The defending champion then secured the vital break in the second set to wrap up a 62 64 victory in 72 minutes.

In the quad singles final, Norfolk fell 2-0 behind to David Wagner (USA) in a rematch of the 2004 and 2008 finals in Melbourne. However, the defending champion managed to level at 3-3 before both players served out a series of games confidently to send the first set in to a tiebreak.

Norfolk double-faulted to give Wagner the first mini-break, but after putting together a run of three points the Briton went on to have two match points, converting the first to seize the initiative.

Norfolk faced a break point in the second game of the second set, but held on and won five games in succession to lead 5-1. With Wagner serving to stay in the match he opened up a 40-0 lead, but Norfolk managed to bring the game back to deuce and then converted his second match point to seal the title after a 76(5) 61 victory in 51 minutes.

DRAWS

Men's Singles
Women's Singles
Quad Singles
Men's Doubles
Women's Doubles
Quad Doubles

RELATED STORIES

Australian Open - Preview and Draws

Day 1: Di Toro upsets Griffioen in Melbourne

Day 2: Kunieda to play Houdet in Melbourne final

Day 1 review on the Official Australian Open website



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