12 Apr 2008

Norfolk reclaims Florida Open Quad title

News Article

Peter Nofolk (GBR) twice came from behind to beat defending champion David Wagner (USA) in Saturday's Quad Main Draw Singles final at the Florida Open, part of the NEC Wheeklchair Tennis Tour, while the top two seeds reached the finals in each of the Men's Main Draw Singles and Women's Main Draw Singles.

After wins in 2004, 2005 and 2006, Norfolk had to work hard to clinch his fourth Quad title at Boca Raton's prestigious ITF 1 Series event. Top seed Wagner won the last four games of the first set to seize the advantage before Norfolk built upon a 31 lead in the second set to level the match on his first set point.

With world No 2 ranked quad Norfolk struggling with his service game for much of the contest, Wagner took a 40 lead at the beginning of the deciding set. However, with the American world No 1 also starting to find the going tough in the heat, Norfolk found some form and some superb returns of serve to come back to 34 before Wagner earned another beak to move within one game of victory. However, he was unable to serve out the match and Norfolk launched another comeback, eventually converting his first match point to seal a 26 63 75 triumph.

In the semifinals of the Men's Main Draw Singles, world No 1 and defending champion Shingo Kunieda (JPN) continued in superb form, speeding to a 63 61 victory over third seed Stephane Houdet (FRA). Kunieda will play world No 2 Robin Ammerlaan (NED) in Sunday's final after Ammerlaan swept past his younger countryman and fourth seed Maikel Scheffers by the same 63 61 scoreline.

The Women's Main Draw Singles semifinals saw world No 1 Esther Vergeer (NED) claim her fourth 60 set of the week before wrapping up a 60 64 win over fourth seed and last year's runner-up Jiske Griffioen (NED). With the semifinals dominated by Dutch players, Vergeer will face second seed Korie Homan on Sunday as she bids for a seventh Florida Open title. World No 2 Homan booked her place in the decider after a 62 76(6) win over third seed Sharon Walraven.

All three Main Draw Doubles titles were decided during Saturday's penultimate day of play. In the Men's Main Draw Doubles final top seeds Kunieda and Satoshi Saida (JPN) were in unstoppable form as the powered their way past third seed Martin Legner (AUT) and Ronald Vink (NED) 60 61.

Meanwhile, Griffioen and Vergeer and Griffioen were 41 up in the second set of the Women's Main Draw Doubles final before Homan and Walraven managed to level the set at 55. However, that was as close as they came to upsetting the top seeds as Griffioen and Vergeer went on to cinch the title 63 75.

The Quad Main Draw Doubles produced a dramatic turnaround in fortunes. In Sydney in January, the British pairing of Norfolk and Jamie Burdekin had inflicted only the second defeat in four years on American top seeds Wagner and Nick Taylor. It looked like the Britons might repeat that win again on Saturday in Florida as they took a 52 lead and had three set points. However, Wagner and Taylor managed to produce a remarkable comeback and went on to prevail 75 60 to successfully defend their title.

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Day 1 - Polidori and Suter-Erath pull through tough openers

Day 2 - Wagner scrapes past Weinberg in Florida

Day 3 - Wagner and Norfolk reach Quad final in Florida

Lucy Shuker (GBR) blogs from Florida