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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Tennis

Diede de Groot wins Super Series to become world No.1

Alfie Hewett and Dylan Alcott also emerge triumphant in Baton Rouge 26 Mar 2018
Imagen
a female wheelchair tennis player makes a shot

Diede de Groot is the new women's world No.1

ⒸGetty Images
By IPC

Diede de Groot won the year’s second Super Series at the Cajun Classic following a 6-3, 6-2 victory over China’s Zhenzhen Zhu to became the latest in a long line of world No.1 women’s singles players from the Netherlands.

It was also the first time that the 21-year-old beat Zhu, who had emerged triumphant in their three previous matches. De Groot also joined Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot among the Dutch wheelchair tennis player to top the rankings since the retirement of Esther Vergeer in 2013.

“I hadn’t won against her (Zhu) yet. I had a game plan and I just needed to get into it and play that game, but, yeah, the first few games were just a bit nervous,” said de Groot.

“A number of people have been asking me ‘will you be No.1, will you be this, will you be that and I haven’t even thought about it, I just wanted to play well.”

De Groot completed the tournament with both singles and doubles titles after partnering Great Britain’s Lucy Shuker to beat the all-Dutch top-seed pairing of Marjolein Buis and Aniek van Koot 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the doubles final.

Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Australia’s Dylan Alcott also celebrated in Baton Rouge as they claimed the men’s and quad singles titles, respectively.

Hewett wins first career Super Series singles title

Hewett achieved a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory over Japan’s world No. 4 Shingo Kunieda in the men’s singles final to seal his first Super Series singles title.

It was Hewett’s first win over Kunieda in three matches since the 20-year-old Brit beat Kunieda in the quarter finals of last September’s US Open. The result was also a reversal of the first Super Series men’s final of the year in Sydney in January, when Kunieda beat Hewett 6-4, 6-4.

“He’s (Kunieda) beaten me the last couple of times so I was really up for today, even though I felt tired. I really wanted to get on court and prove a point,” said Hewett.

“He’s had a really good start to the year and played some his best tennis for a long, long while. I knew it was going to be tough and I came out and played some of my best tennis.”

While finishing runner-up in the men’s singles, Kunieda also finished runner-up in the men’s doubles as French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer made it back-to-back Super Series titles after beating Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and Kunieda 6-2, 6-4.

Alcott leads Australian clean sweep in quad events

The first Super Series singles title to be won at the Cajun Classic went to world No. 3 Alcott as he led an Australian sweep of both the quad singles and quad doubles titles in Baton Rouge. The 27-year-old third seed dominated against world No. 2 Andy Lapthorne to win the singles final 6-0, 6-2.

With just one loss on his record to date this season, when he was beaten by current world No. 1 David Wagner in the round-robin phase of the Australian Open, Alcott took his tally of match wins for 2018 into double figures as he claimed the 13th Super Series singles title of his career.

“I had a blinder, I played awesome, I’m stoked, that’s as good as it gets, I’m really happy,” he said.

“I really enjoy playing Andy, we’ve got similar games. I won the last one at the Aussie Open, he beat me the time before at the US Open. Andy’s a great competitor, I love playing him. I love coming back, I’ll be here next year for sure.”

Alcott was again on the right end of the result when he partnered Heath Davidson to victory in the Australian-British quad doubles final later in the day. Having beaten top seeds Bryan Barten and Wagner in the semi-finals, Alcott and Davidson ended Antony Cotterill and Lapthorne’s hopes of defending the quad doubles title, winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 to clinch their second Super Series title of 2018.

Full story is available on the ITF’s website.