18 May 2008

Kunieda and Vergeer retain Japan Open titles

News Article

Shingo Kunieda (JPN) and Esther Vergeer (NED) both won their third Japan Open Men's and Women's Singles titles apiece on Sunday in Fukuoka, but while Kunieda had a convincing win over Robin Ammerlaan (NED), Vergeer was pushed hatf by compatriot Korie Homan.

In the Men's Main Draw Singles final Kunieda sprinted through the first set to take it without dropping a game. The world No 1 then secured the decisive break to move 5-3 up in the second set and went on to his clinch third successive Japan Open title 60 64. Kunieda, 24, won the first Super Series title of his career in Fukuoka in 2006 and has only missed out on winning the 2006 British Open since then, bringing his tally of Super Series titles to eight.

Women's world No 1 Vergeer made her first visit to the Japan Open in 2004 and then returned to regain the title last season. However this year's final was by far and away her most difficult in Fukuoka to date as world No 2 Korie Homan matched Vergeer for much of the contest.

Vergeer secured the decisive break late in the first set and the two players swapped games throughout the second set until a tense 12th game ended with Vergeer hitting the ball in to the net to give Homan another service hold to force a tiebreak.

Vergeer started the tiebreak with an ace and opened up a 4-1 advantage before Homan slowly clawed back the deficit to level at 6-6. However, her efforts ultiamtely proved to no avail as two points later she hit the ball in to the net to give Vergeer a 64 76(6) victory. This year's Japan Open title gives the incredidle 26-year-old Dutchwoman the 23rd Super Series title of her career.

The Men's Main Draw Doubles final brought Kunieda another title as he paired up with compatriot Satoshi Saida to thrill the home crowd, the Japanese top seeds beating Dutch second seeds Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink in staight sets. Kunieda and Saida came from 4-3 down in the first set to secure the final three games of the set and after opening up a 5-1 advantage in the second set they broke Vink's serve one final time to clinch the title 64 61.

Meanwhile, in the all-Dutch Women's Main Draw Doubles final top seeds Jiske Griffioen and Vergeer powered to the first set against Homan and Sharon Walraven 60 before moving 5-1 ahead in the second set. The second seeds had brief hopes of a recovery when subsequently breaking Griffioen's serve, but with Griffioen and Vergeer holding two match points on Homan's serve, Griffioen hit a well place volley to seal a 60 62 victory.

Along with the Bavarian Open and the Croatian Open, the Japan Open is one of three NEC Tour events ending on Sunday that bring to a conlusion the 12-month qualification period for the Beijing Paralympics.

Final Japan Open Drawsheets

Japan Open Official Website


Japan Open - Preview, Draws and Order of Play

Day 1 report - Gerard edges out seed Rydberg in Japan

Day 2 report - Lee upsets Saida at Japan Open

Day 3 report - Griffioen survives Shuker test in Japan

Day 4 report - Norfolk and Wagner reach Japan Quad final

Day 5 report - Wagner lifts second Japan Open Quad title