Kunieda, Vergeer, Wagner win Australian Open titles

31 Jan 2011
Esther Vergeer in action at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games

Esther Vergeer in action at Beijing 2008.

ⒸLieven Coudenys

American David Wagner won his first Australian Open quad singles title and his second successive Grand Slam title on Saturday when he beat defending champion Peter Norfolk at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile, Japan's Shingo Kunieda and Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands also both took to Margaret Court Arena later in the day to retain their men's and women's singles titles, with Vergeer winning her fourth successive Grand Slam final with the astonishing distinction of not dropping a single game.

Wagner retained his world No. 1 quad singles ranking with his second successive win over Norfolk in a Grand Slam final, having won his maiden US Open title in New York last September.

The 36-year-old American took a 4:0 lead in both sets before Norfolk got on the scoreboard en route to wrapping up a 6:2, 6:3 victory in 67 minutes. Wagner missed three set point opportunities at 5:1 up in the first set, but fired down his third and fourth aces of the match in the next game to create two more set points, converting the second of them after exactly 30 minutes of play.

Norfolk fought back to 4:3 in the second set and had game points to level at 4:4, but he was unable to take them and Wagner regained a two game cushion. Norfolk's sixth and seventh doubles faults subsequently did little for his cause as he served to stay in the match and Wagner put the seal on a dominant win.

Just when there seem to be no words left to adequately describe Esther Vergeer's dominance of the women's game, the world No. 1 chalked up another amazing statistic on Saturday, winning her eight Australian Open crown by slicing through her third successive Grand Slam final without dropping a game.

Vergeer beat her fellow Dutchwoman Korie Homan 6:0, 6:0 in the 2009 US Open final and another of her compatriots Sharon Walraven 6:0, 6:0 to win the 2010 Roland Garros title. She did the same to Australia's Daniela di Toro in the 2010 US Open final in New York in September. Di Toro was again on the other side of the net, this time on home soil and in front of a home crowd and could do little to deny Vergeer another peerles performance. Vergeer won the first set in 19 minutes and needed just seven minutes longer to wrap up the second set without di Toro having had a single break point opportunity.

Kunieda ensured there were none of the dramas of twelve months ago, when he had to save two match points in the Australian Open final against Frenchman Stephane Houdet, winning 6:0, 6:3.

The world No. 1 clinched his second service game to love as he moved 4:0 ahead in the first set, with Houdet having won just three points in the first four games. Houdet earned a rare game point in the fifth game, but was unable to convert it and Kunieda sealed the opening set in 21 minutes.

Houdet finally got on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set, but soon found himself 4:1 in arrears. He briefly rallied as Kunieda served for the match at 5:2 up, but Kunieda once again pressurised Houdet's serve in the next game and needed just the first of two match points to win in exactly an hour.

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