10 Apr 2006

Vergeer and Norfolk retain Florida Open titles before rain hits


NEWS ARTICLE

Esther Vergeer (NED) and Peter Norfolk (GBR) completed successful defences of their Women's and Quad Main Draw Singles titles at the Florida Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, on Sunday. However, heavy rain in Boca Raton later in the day has has eventually resulted in the abandonment of the Men's Main Draw Singles and the Men's Main Draw Doubles finals.

The match of the final day came in the Quad Main Draw Singles final between defending champion Peter Norfolk (GBR) and World No 1 David Wagner (USA), who had fougth out two close finals in Boca Raton in each of the last two years. However, after three hours in hot, humid conditions it was World No 2 and second seed Norfolk who again just had the edge in a nailbiting finale as he sealed a 63 46 76(3) victory to claim his third successive Florida Open title.

With Wagner inflicting only Norfolk's second defeat in over two years in the final of the previous week's Pensacola Open, victory in Boca Raton will now see Norfolk close the gap on Wagner at the top of the world rankings.

In the Women's Main Draw Singles final World No 1 Esther Vergeer (NED) was given her sternest examination by any fellow player in the last 12 months as she went head-to-head with World No 2 Florence Gravellier (FRA). Gravellier is the last player to take a set of competitive tennis off Vergeer, something she achieved at the Swiss Open in August 2004. In Boca Raton it looked as if she might do the same again in the first set of the final, but the indomitable Vergeer held on before repelling another stiff challenge from the Frenchwoman in the second set to complete a 75 63 victory and claim her fifth Florida Open title.

Vergeer then paired up with compatriot Jiske Griffioen for the Women's Main Draw Doubles final, the top seeds maintaining their unbeaten record as a partnership this year as they eased past second seeds Gravellier and Sharon Walraven (NED) 63 61.

Shortly aftterwards heavy rain interrupted the Men's Main Draw Singles final between defending champion Michael Jeremiasz (FRA) and second seed and former champion Robin Ammerlaan (NED), which had gone to a third and final deciding set. While the match was originally scheduled to play to a finish on Monday, with the Men's Main Draw Doubles final to follow, the decision was eventually taken to abandon both matches, with the available ranking points and prizemoney being split equally between the respective finalists.

Florida Open Drawsheets.



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