11 Sep 2011

Wagner and Norfolk to contest quad singles final


NEWS ARTICLE

The last of the singles finalists in the wheelchair tennis event at the US Open were decided on Saturday as David Wagner and Peter Norfolk advanced to the quad singles title decider in New York for the fourth time after a dramatic conclusion to the round-robin phase of the competition.

Meanwhile, Stephane Houdet and Nicholas Peifer upset Dutch top seeds and defending champions Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink to lift the men's doubles title and Sharon Walraven and Esther Vergeer narrowly managed to complete a full set of women's doubles Grand Slam titles in one calendar year.

Wagner and Norfolk advance to quad singles final

The third and last day of round-robin matches in the quad singles started with the prospect of three players ending the group phase with either one or two wins apiece from their three matches.

Current world No. 1 David Wagner ensured that he booked his place in Sunday's final after the American kept his title defence alive with a 64 62 victory over world No. 2 Peter Norfolk of Great Britain.

The opening exchanges saw Wagner miss the opportunity to go 4-2 ahead in the opening set, while in the very next game Norfolk came from 0-40 down to give himself the chance of a 4-3 lead. However, Wagner maintained a narrow advantage before taking the final two games of the set.

With Wagner a game to the good in the second set rain briefly returned to New York, causing play to be suspended, but when the players returned to court Wagner got the better of a tight third game and extended his lead to 5-1 as Norfolk struggled with injury. The Briton, a two-time US Open champion himself, managed to reduce his deficit to 5-2, but Wagner soon closed out the victory to leave both players on two wins apiece.

Israeli world No. 3 Noam Gershony started the day having beaten Wagner, but losing to Norfolk in the first two matches of his Grand Slam debut. But Gershony looked like he might join Wagner and Norfolk on two wins apiece after he saved a set point at 4-5 down in his match against Nick Taylor and went on to clinch the opening set 7-5.

Gershony and Taylor left court for the rain delay at deuce in the first game of the second set and on the resumption Gershony gained the first advantage. However, Taylor held on to snatch a slender advantage, which he extended to go 3-1 ahead. Taylor had chances to go 4-1 ahead, but the opportunities disappeared as Gershony put together a sequence of three games to lead 4-3.

Throughout the match there were a host of marathon games in which both players regularly exchanged deuce and advantage points, none more so than in the ninth game of the second set as Taylor eventually regained a narrow lead a 5-4. The American world No. 5 then created two set points for himself in the next game, finally converting a third opportunity to level the match.

By the time Taylor started the third set his chance of a place in the final had gone, with Norfolk and Wagner on two wins apeice, but the American No. 2's resolve remained strong and he broke Gershony's serve to love to lead the deciding set 3-2. Gershony held on in another deuce game after Taylor had points to open up a 5-3 lead, but there was even greater drama to come.

Taylor held three straight match points at 6-5 up, but each one disappeared and Taylor went on to see a total of seven match points go by the wayside in a titanic battle before Gershony finally forced a deciding set tie-break.

A remarkable contest came to a close as Taylor earned a commanding 5-1 lead in the tie-break and then had four more match points at 6-2. He saw his eighth match point opportunity also pass by, but the undoubted match of the quad event so far eventually ended on Taylor's ninth match point for a 57 64 76(3) victory.

Houdet and Peifer clinch men's doubles title

After finishing runner-up in the men's doubles in New York in 2010, Nicolas Peifer finally tasted victory in the final Grand Slam of the season when as he and Stephane Houdet ended the title defence of top seeds Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink.

Houdet and Peifer built up 4-1 leads in both sets of the final, but while Scheffers and Vink put together two games back-to-back to reduce their deficit to 4-3 in the opening set there was no sign of a similar resurgence in the second set as the French second seeds dominated before wrapping up a 63 61 victory.

It was by far the most important of Houdet and Peifer's two titles as a partnership, following their maiden title together at this year's Swiss Open, which also came at the expense of Scheffers and Vink.

Vergeer and Walraven complete set of 2011 Grand Slam titles

As anticipated, the all-Dutch women's singles final produced an enthralling encounter before ending with top seeds Esther Vergeer and Sharon Walraven securing their fourth win in a Grand Slam final this season against their compatriots Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot.

The defending champions, whose Grand Slam record together only shows one loss, at Roland Garros in 2010, clinched the last two games of the final set before the second set came down to a tiebreak.

Having taken Vergeer and Walraven to three sets at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon this season, Griffioen and Vergeer took a commanding 6-1 lead in the tie-break before being reeled in by Vergeer and Griffioen, but the second seeds kept their composure to finally take the tie-break 10-8.

The deciding set remained tight, but for the third Grand Slam in succession it was Vergeer and Walraven that gained the crucial breakthrough to prevail 75 67(8) 64 and end 2011 with all four Grand Slam titles.

Sunday's three singles finals in New York take place on courts 7 and 11.

Court 7 stages the women's singles and quad singles finals as the third and fourth matches on court after 12.00pm local New York time.

Court 11 sees Houdet and Kunieda go head-to-head in the men's singles final, which is scheduled as the third match after 12.00pm, following the junior boys singles and doubles finals.

US Open Grand Slam Draws

US Open Schedule - Sunday 11 September

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