Brits miss out at British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships
British tennis stars Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley missed out on British Open doubles titles and Andy Lapthorne finished runner-up in the quad singles competition at the British Open last weekend. The six day competition was the latest edition of the Super Series event on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, which is part of the LTA's summer series of major events.
Men’s singles finalists Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina and Shingo Kunieda of Japan combined with great effect to win their first men’s doubles title at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships on Saturday, defeating Brits Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-5 after a pulsating title decider at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
Hewett and Reid battled back from 3-1 down to take the opening set of the men’s double final in a tie-break but the reigning US Open champions and 2015 British Open champions could not build on a 2-0 lead in the final set. The Brits were two points from victory at 5-4 up in the decider, but reigning Roland Garros champions and last year’s British Open runners-up Fernandez and Kunieda held on, with Kunieda wrapping up a 6-7(5), 6-1, 7-5 victory.
Alfie Hewett said:
"There are a lot of positives to take from the match. A lot of things that we’ve been working on in training went well today, we just needed to be a little bit more clinical and consistent on the bigger points."
The women’s doubles final began outside on the LTA hard court event’s Centre Court, with nine-time Grand Slam doubles champions Jordanne Whiley and Kamiji recovering from 3-0 down to have advantage point at 5-5 before rain stopped play.
When the match resumed indoors, Whiley and Kamiji managed to take the set to a tie-break, but were unable to take full advantage of a 2-0 second set lead and reigning Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon champions Diede De Groot and Van Koot sealed their latest major title 7-6(4), 6-4.
After reaching the quarter-finals of the women’s singles before bowing out to world No.1 De Groot and then contesting only her second British Open women’s doubles final, Jordanne said:
"It was a big difference once we went indoors because Aniek and Deide are big, flat hitters so when the haven’t got the elements to contend with they are strong players. And Yui doesn’t particularly like having a roof when she plays her high balls. It wasn’t as if it was a bad performance, but I struggled to find my finishing shots today and that made a big difference.
"But I’ve performed well in all my matches this week and the margins against the top players now are a lot smaller than when I began my comeback from maternity leave five months ago."
World No. 3 Andy Lapthorne went into the quad singles final leading 16-year-old Vink 2-0 after their previous two meetings. Unable to build on a 4-2 first set lead, Lapthorne forced a decider after setting up set point, but Vink answered him to earn his first championship point. Lapthorne saved two match points, but he was unable to salvage a third and Vink’s first ever Super Series tournament ended in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 victory.
Lapthorne, who has now finished runner-up at the British Open in five of the last six years said:
"It’s always hard to lose in finals, but it was a good match. I’ve played some tough three-setters this week, winning two of them and almost coming through this one. I had my chances in the third set but just didn’t take them. It was high-quality tennis for the crowd and well done to Niels at 16-yer-old. Credit to him."
World No.1 Deide De Groot completed the women’s singles and doubles ‘double’ after beating fellow Dutchwoman and first-time British Open finalist Marjolein Buis 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
World No.1 Gustavo Fernandez and world No.2 Shingo Kunieda served up a rematch of their recent Wimbledon men’s singles final to warm the crowds as rain forced play indoors for the second successive day. The top seeds battled throughout, in the end it was Shingo Kunieda of Japan that emerged victorious, completing a memorable week at the Nottingham Tennis Centre by claiming his seventh British Open men’s singles title.
The last day of action at the Nottingham Tennis Centre also saw the conclusion of the British Open Junior Championships, with Ross Gourley winning the singles title and Abbie Breakwell and Greg Slade claiming the doubles title.
The British Open Junior Championships featured many of Britain's leading junior players, with the singles and doubles champions among the players on the LTA’s Junior Futures Potential and Junior Futures Potential Programmes.