Photo: Gregory PicoutShingo Kunieda (JPN)
Shingo Kunieda of Japan maintained his men’s single title defence after a remarkable semifinal on the penultimate day of the BNP Paribas French Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, ended with the fourth seed defeating French world No. 1 Stephane Houdet of France in a marathon final set tiebreak.
An eventful fifth day of play in Antony, Paris also saw world No. 5 Stefan Olsson defeat Dutch world No. 2 and 2011 runner-up Maikel Scheffers in the other semifinal, while Aniek van Koot and Marjolein Buis set up a rematch of their 2011 all-Dutch women’s singles final at the fourth Super Series tournament of 2012.
Just a 20 minute car journey away from Roland Garros, where Houdet won his first Grand Slam singles title three weeks ago after beating Kunieda in a final set tiebreak, the two players provided yet another memorable contest. However, this time it was Kunieda, world ranked No. 7 this week, who kept his composure to record a 64 26 76(10) victory.
The four-time ITF World Champion will now play two-time NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion Olsson after the Swedish fifth seed ensured that neither of the 2011 finalists would be in this year’s title decider as he eased to a comparatively comfortable 64 61 win over Scheffers.
Buis and van Koot set for rematch in women's final
In the women’s singles semifinals world No. 2 van Koot bounced back from losing a first set tiebreak to German world No. 4 Sabine Ellerbrock to take the second set with ease. With top seed van Koot leading the final set 1-0 Ellerbrock was forced to retire to leave her Dutch opponent a match away from retaining her title.
However, if she is to win back-to-back French Open titles van Koot will have to beat Buis in the final for the second successive year after the World No. 5 and fourth seed caused a minor upset after defeating her fellow Dutchwoman and world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen 62 64
The first two main draw titles of the week to be decided were in the quad doubles and the women’s doubles.
After finishing runners-up in the quad double in 2011 Andrew Lapthorne and Peter Norfolk justified their top seeding this year as the British duo came from a set down to defeat Israeli duo Noam Gershony and Boaz Kramer 46 64 62.
Meanwhile, Griffioen and van Koot kept their women’s doubles title after being awarded a walkover in their scheduled final against Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa and Annick Sevenans of Belgium.
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Order of Play - Sunday, 1 July 2012