Wimbledon and US Open champions Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid claimed their first UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters men’s title together as the ITF’s year-end doubles championship came to an end in Bemmel, the Netherlands.
Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot were the latest all-Dutch partnership to add their names to the women’s doubles roll-of-honour, while USA’s Nick Taylor and David Wagner extended their record as the most successful partnership at this event by wrapping up their 10th quad title.
The ninth contest of 2017 between Great Britain’s Hewett and Reid and French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer produced arguably the most memorable match of the year, with the former achieving a 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 hard-fought victory.
“It was another tough one. We never do it the easy way against the French guys it seems, but it was great to pull through in the end and win our first Doubles Masters title together,” said Reid, who had previously won the Doubles Masters twice before with two different French partners – Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz.
“I think we were sitting too deep in the first set so we just tried to be more aggressive with our movement after that and it was a great comeback.”
Hewett added: “I think we just remained positive, we knew what we had to do to change the match and it just took us a while to find our rhythm and find ourselves within the match, but after we got a few games on the board we did well it felt good.”
Recent Bath Indoor champions Joachim Gerard of Belgium and Stefan Olsson of Sweden took third place after defeating Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez and the Netherlands’ Maikel Scheffers 6-1, 7-5.
Three days after beating Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and Dutchwoman Aniek van Koot 6-1, 6-4 in the round-robin phase Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallists Buis and de Groot faced a similar challenge against the same opposition in the final, this time winning 6-2, 6-4.
“This means a lot to me. It’s been a great year playing doubles and to finish it like this winning the Doubles Masters together with Diede for the first time is very, very nice,” said Buis.
“In the end I think that we kept on fighting for every point; that made the difference. We still believed we could win the second set even though we were down and just to go for it over and over again, every point, well it turned out that that was the key factor, I guess.”
While it was a first UNIQLO Doubles Masters title for Buis, it was a second successive victory in the event for de Groot, who partnered British player Lucy Shuker to victory in 2016.
“It’s still special, here playing in your home country it’s maybe even more special than the first time,” said de Groot. “We can invite family and coaches and everyone who wants to come, so I think it (the crowd support) is very important.”
After last year’s victory with de Groot, Shuker finished third this year, partnering USA’s Dana Mathewson with whom she beat Charlotte Famin and Kgothatso Montjane 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in the third place play-off.
Taylor and Wagner sealed a 6-4, 6-3 victory against British top seeds Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne after an hour and 26 minutes.
“It’s awesome. We missed out on it last year against these guys and we really wanted to beat them this year and get that tenth title, so it’s huge,” said Taylor.
“I personally think that the more positive energy that the two of us have, the better off we are. I know the more pumped up I get, generally the better I play. Sometime it goes a little too far and I start missing everything but as long as I can keep it reined in then we’re OK and it was really, really important today.
Wagner added: “We just had a game plan that we stuck with and we know it can work if we stick with it. And that’s what we wanted to do, stick with the game plan."
"We prepared hard for that and we’re ready to give it our best every time and we showcased that today. We’re super-excited to get our tenth title after 13 finals in a row, so you couldn’t ask for a whole lot more.”
Full story is available on the ITF’s website.