25 Jun 2006

Kunieda and Griffioen net Czech Open glory

News Article

Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and Jiske Griffioen (NED) won the Men's and Women's Main Draw Singles finals on Sunday at the Czech Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, in Prostejov.

Kunieda averted an all-Dutch final in the Men's Main Draw Singles when he produced another top class performance to defeat top seed Robin Ammerlaan 63 62 in Saturday's semi-finals. The young Japanese star has now beaten both the world's top two players this year, Michael Jeremiasz (FRA) and Ammerlaan.

Meanwhile, with at least one Dutchman guaranteed to be in the final, eighth seed Ronald Vink (NED) came from a set down to battle past compatriot and sixth seed Maikel Scheffers 26 64 75 in the other semi-final to also book his place in Sunday's final.

The Dutchman again fought hard in the final, giving Kunieda arguably his sternest test in his last four tournaments as he took the Japanese ace to two tie-break sets. However, it was Kunieda who held on to gain the upper hand in both tie-breaks, sealing a 76(2) 76(3) victory to gain his fourth successive title on the 2006 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour. The result should propel Kunieda to his highest ever world ranking in the next NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour rankings to be announced shortly and could mark the beginning of a sensational European tour for the 22-year-old this summer.

Griffioen sealed her first singles title of 2006 as she denied compatriot and top seed Sharon Walraven a second clay court title in successive weeks after a three set victory. World No 4 Grifioen breezed through the first set against her higher ranked countrywoman before Walraven hit back strongly to claim the second. The final set proved more evenly balanced than the previous two, but it was Griffioen who won the important points to record a 61 16 75 victory.

Griffioen and Walraven also paired up to win a four-way round robin contest for the Women's Doubles title, winning all three of their matches.

Meanwhile, third seed Ammerlaan and Vink won the Men's Main Draw Doubles title after neither of the top two seeded partnerships reached the final.

Top seeds and reigning Paralympic champions Satoshi Saida and Kunieda (JPN) were humbled in the semi-finals, beaten 46 61 61 by Tadeusz Kruszelnicki (POL) and Scheffers. Meanwhile, Ammerlaan and Vink overwhelmed second seeds Miroslav Brychta (CZE) and Martin Legner (AUT) 60 60 in the other semi-final before easing past Kruszelnicki and Scheffers 62 63 in the final