Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez completed a memorable first visit to Rotterdam, the Netherlands on Saturday (14 February) when he beat Belgium’s world No. 5 Joachim Gerard 6-0 3-6 6-1 to win the first ITF 1 Series singles title of 2015 at the ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
The Argentinean world No. 4 won all the important points in an entertaining opening set, which he took 6-0 in 27 minutes after Gerard netted a forehand.
Gerard drew an appreciative round of applause from the crowd as he broke the Fernandez serve to claim the first game of the second set and then held to love for 2-0 and gained a second successive break to move still further.
Although Fernandez broke back for 3-2 he was not able to get back on level terms and as he served to stay in the set a double fault and a backhand that went straight into the net gave Gerard two set points. Gerard missed his target with a back hand on his first set point, but gave Fernandez little chance with his next backhand to force the deciding set.
Gerard put a smash into the net to hand Fernandez his second break of the final set and Fernandez served out to love for 3-1, which soon became 5-1. He placed a forehand wide on first match point and Gerard found his mark to make it deuce, but the Belgian hit the top of the net with a backhand when facing his third match point to give Fernandez his 12th win in 16 matches between the two players and levelling their head-to-head for 2015 at one win apiece.
“Thank you to Esther (Vergeer, tournament director) for inviting me. It’s a long way from home to be here, so I’m very happy to be here. You’ve done a wonderful job this week with the tournament. Everyone…the ball kids, the staff, thank you everyone,” said 20-year-old Fernandez after claiming his first singles title of the season.
“Thank you to my coach for always being there. We’ve worked really hard over the months to get this. Thank you everyone at home that will be there supporting me. I’m very happy to play the way I did, so hopefully next year I will be back to do it again.”
While Fernandez won his first title in Rotterdam, the tournament ended with France’s Stephane Houdet and Great Britain’s Gordon Reid having claimed their second doubles title in the Netherlands in three years. The top seeds defeated Stefan Olsson of Sweden and Nicolas Peifer of France 6-3 3-6 (10-7) in the final as Reid made it three doubles titles in his three successive visits to Rotterdam.