Four previous champions and two former runners-up will feature in Sunday’s men’s, women’s and quad singles finals at the 25th Wheelchair Tennis Masters at Lake Nona, Orlando.
Either Dylan Alcott or Andy Lapthorne will be the newest addition to the quad singles roll of honour, while 2015 finalists Joachim Gerard and Shingo Kunieda will contest this year’s men’s singles final. Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji will go head-to-head in the women’s singles final for the second year in a row.
New quad champion to be crowned
On a warm, blustery day all six semi-finals at the year-end championship were decided in straight sets, with Briton Lapthorne’s 6-0 6-2 quad singles semi-final victory over world No. 4 Koji Sugeno of Japan arguably one of the performances of the week.
World No. 3 Lapthorne raced to a 5-0 lead before Sugeno offered a measure of resistance, but the second set was all one-way traffic and Lapthorne booked his place in his fourth final 6-2 6-0.
Australian Alcott will contest his second Masters final since 2014 after defeating another former finalist, South African world No. 6 Lucas Sithole. 6-2 6-3. Sithole led the second set 2-0 before Alcott regained control and the Rio 2016 Paralympic champion now looks set to return to quad singles world No. 1.
Belgium’s world No.6 Gerard put up a remarkable performance against his regular doubles partner and two-time Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson of Sweden to reach his fourth Masters men’s singles final.
Runner-up to Kunieda on outdoor courts in USA in the 2013 final before beating Kunieda on indoor courts in the 2015 final, Gerard wasted little time in getting the first set on the board in this year’s semi-final and soon completed a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory.
The only one of the four men’s singles semi-finalists never to have lifted the trophy, world No. 3 Gustavo Fernandez, secured an immediate break against three-time champion Kunieda in the last four this year. Kunieda battled back to lead for the first time at 6-5 and again struck late to earn the first of two set points at 6-5 in the tiebreak before ultimately taking the set.
The Argentinian again secured the early break in the second set, but Kunieda would not be denied and from 4-3 down he took the last three games of the match. Aided by a Fernandez double fault that set up three match points, Kunieda finished the job with a backhand down the line winner to earn victory 7-6(6) 6-4.
Final showdown repeat
With de Groot facing fellow Dutchwoman, 2014 champion and world No. 3 Aniek van Koot in her women’s singles semi-final, the world No. 1 produced a devastating display to win their semi-final 6-2 6-0.
After becoming the first non-Dutchwoman to secure the Masters title in 2013, world No. 2 Kamiji made it back-to-back finals as she ended the admirable run of Masters first-timer Giulia Capocci of Italy.
Capocci took the first game of both sets of her semi-final, but she was never able to live with the experience of Kamiji and the Japanese second seed progressed 6-1 6-2.
You can watch the finals of the 2018 Masters live here on the International Paralympic Committee website.