Photo: Steve WylieNick Taylor (USA) and David Wagner (USA)
American top seeds Nick Taylor and David Wagner clinched their seventh quad doubles crown on Sunday in Mission Viejo, California, as the first of six titles were decided on the penultimate day of the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters.
The duo comfortably retained their title with a 61 62 win over their fellow American Greg Hasterok and Canada’s Sarah Hunter, the second seeds.
Taylor and Wagner dropped just the second game of the opening set and maintained their dominance in the second set to close out victory and win their seventh Doubles Masters title since 2005.
World No. 1 Wagner will now face South Africa’s world No. 2 Lucas Sithole in Monday’s quad singles final as Wagner goes for his sixth NEC Masters title, while US Open champion Sithole will bid to become the first African to win an NEC Masters title. Wagner finished the round-robin phase of the competition unbeaten, having beaten Sithole in their pool match.
World No. 1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan will play his doubles partner and world No. 6 Joachim Gerard of Belgium in Monday’s men’s singles final after they missed out on a place in the men’s doubles final.
French fourth seeds Michael Jeremiasz and Nicolas Peifer beat third seeds Gerard and Kunieda 63 63 in their Doubles Masters semifinal and will now go on to play top seeds Stephane Houdet of France and Gordon Reid of Great Britain for the title.
Houdet will bid for his second successive Doubles Masters title after he and Reid defeated Dutch second seeds and three-time Doubles Masters men’s champions Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink 62 63 in the other semifinal.
Kunieda will bid for back-NEC Masters titles after beating Houdet 62 26 62 when the world’s top two ranked players went head-to-head in Saturday’s semifinals. Meanwhile, Gerard has reached the men’s singles final on his debut at the NEC Masters, having remained unbeaten his in round-robin pool and then defeating Argentina’s world No. 5 Gustavo Fernandez in Saturday’s semifinals.
Gerard, Sithole and Yui Kamiji of Japan will all contest Monday’s singles finals after making their debuts at the NEC Masters this year, while Kamiji still holds ambitions of winning both the women’s singles and women’s doubles in Mission Viejo. She will meet Dutch defending champion and world No. 3 Jiske Griffioen in the women’s singles final as Griffioen bids to become a two-time NEC Masters champion and continue the unbeaten sequence of Dutch women’s champions.
Kamiji finished runner-up to Griffioen in the same women’s singles round-robin pool and then beat Dutch world No. 5 Marjolein Buis 64 26 75 in Saturday’s semifinals, while Griffioen eased past Britain’s world No. 6 Jordanne Whiley 62 60.
Kamiji partnered Whiley to win their doubles semifinal on Sunday as the top seeds and Wimbledon runners-up beat fourth seeds and Australian Open runners-up Lucy Shuker and Buis 62 63.
Meanwhile, Griffioen’s hopes of retaining both the women’s singles and women’s doubles titles came to an end in the doubles semifinals. Second seeds Griffioen and Sharon Walraven were beaten 62 62 by third seeds Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa.
Ellerbrock and Montjane’s victory means that two new names will appear on the women’s doubles roll of honour, while it will be the first time in the 14-year history of the Doubles Masters that the winning partnership will not include a Dutch player, with all-Dutch partnerships having won the last 12 women’s titles at the Doubles Masters.
Houdet claimed third place in the men’s singles for the second year running at the NEC Masters after earning a 64 36 63 win over Fernandez on Sunday. Meanwhile, Buis went one better than in 2012 when she claimed third place in the women’s singles after a 63 64 win over Whiley.