The Netherlands won both the Men's World Group 1 and Women's titles during Sunday's final day of the 2006 Invacare World Team Cup in Brasilia.
The Men's World Group 1 final produced the epic enounter that had been anticipated and hoped for, the result going down to the deciding doubles rubber.
The opening singles between Stephane Houdet (FRA) and Maikel Scheffers (NED) set the tone for a close tie. However, with Scheffers giving away points with a string of double-faults and the talented Frenchman's performance belying his comparative lack of experience as a wheelchair player, it was Houdet it edged the first set. Scheffers had a chance in the second set when he went 31 up, but Houdet fought back and clinched the final two games of the match to secure a 64 75 victory and give France the lead, much to the delight of the full stands of spectators.
All eyes were on the second singles rubber between the world's top two players, Michael Jeremiasz (FRA) and Robin Ammerlaan (NED) and it looked as it was going to be France's day as Jeremiasz secured the first set 62 with a great long shot down the line.
However, despite being behind in recent head-to-heads against Jeremiasz, Ammerlaan has proved himself time and again to be a man for the big occasion and he blitzed through the start of the second set to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Although Jeremiasz then reeled off three games in a row, Ammerlaan snatched the set 63 to level the match.
The third and final set was more balanced and it was 33 before Ammerlaan managed to break, but Jeremiasz came back once again to level the score at 55. However, urged on by his team mates Ammerlaan dug deep to take the next two games and finalise a 26 63 75 victory to bring the tie all square.
Ronald Vink partnered Ammerlaan for the deciding doubles rubber against Jeremiasz and Frederic Cazeaudumec, with another close match played out in front of an enthralled crowd captivated by some great rallies. But, ultimately, the Dutch duo of Ammerlaan and Vink proved to be the more balanced and focused team as they ground out a 64 64 victory to give the Netherlands their fifth Invacare World Tem Cup Men's title and their third in succession.
The Netherlands dominance of the Women's event continued on Sunday's in Brasilia against second seeds Switzerland in a rematch of the 2004 final. Jiske Griffioen gave the Dutch a solid start as she held off a stern first set challenge from Sandra Kalt (SUI) to eventually take the first singles rubber 64 61. From there on the final result was never in doubt as World No1 Esther Vergeer put herself within just a few matches of 200 successive international singles wins as she powered majestically past Karin Suter-Erath (SUI) 60 60, sealing an unprecented 19th Invacare World Team Cup Women's title for the Netherlands afte just one and a half hours of play.
Franceso Ricci Bitti, President of the International Tennis Federation and one of the guests of honour during the final weekend of the 2006 Invacare World Team Cup, presented the trophies to the winning teams.
Poland justified their pre-event seeding to clinch third place in Men's World Group 1 after a 2-1 win over Austria, while forth seeds France pipped third seeds Canada 2-1 to secure third place in the Women's event.
The 20th successive Invacare World Team Cup for British Men's No 1 Jayant Mistry ended with very mixed fortunes as Great Britain, 14th in Men's World Group 1, took on Thailand, third in World Group in the Men's promotion and relegation play-offs.
While Mistry won the second singles rubber and his last singles match of the 2006 event against Thailand's Sunitchai Merngprom 60 60, the deciding doubles rubber saw Mistry and Alex Jewitt beaten by Merngprom and Sumrerng Kruamai 57 76(4) 62. Great Britain are therefore relegated to World Group 2 for the 2007 Invacare World Team Cup and Thailand are promoted to World Group 1.
In the other play-off Korea won both their singles rubbers against Switzerland in three sets to earn promotion to World Group 1, while Switzerland will join Great Britain in World Group 2 in 2007.