“It’s a pretty big honour. We came here to win, like everybody, and we came here with a plan and worked hard for it"
Nick Taylor and David Wagner claimed their 11th Wheelchair Doubles Masters quad title on Saturday’s (17 November) penultimate day of play in Bemmel at the 2018 edition of the ITF’s year-end doubles championship.
Meanwhile, Marjolein Buis and Aniek van Koot completed their comeback from losing their first match of the week to reach Sunday’s women’s doubles final and top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer set up their latest contest against Wimbledon men’s doubles finalists Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson.
Twelve months on from second seeds Taylor and Wagner taking their unprecedented tally of quad titles into double figures, the USA duo again found the answers to the questions posed by top seeds Antony Cotterill and Andrew Lapthorne.
Unlike 12 months ago, when 20016 champions Cotterill and Lapthorne won the round-robin pool match between the two partnerships, Taylor and Wagner beat the Brits for the second time in a week and wrapped up their fifth win over Cotterill and Lapthorne in eight carer meetings, prevailing 6-4 7-6(6).
“It’s a pretty big honour. We came here to win, like everybody, and we came here with a plan and worked hard for it. As we get older we’re not stronger and we’re not faster, so we have to strategise more and by sticking to our strategy our game plan is solid and legit and that’s important. I’m looking forward to the Masters in Orlando now and can’t wait to get that one started.” said Wagner.
“This is the best teams in the world here and it’s always really tough competition, so title No.11 feels just as good as No.1 did. It feels really good to do it this year with no losses in pool [round-robin] play or anything. We needed to stay focussed on what it takes to win and we just have to keep sticking to the game plan and not wavering from from it,” said Taylor
While the quad title stays in the hands of USA’s finest, the bronze medal match also went to a partnership from the Americas after Bryan Barten of USA and Brazil’s Ymanitu Silcva repeated their round-robin match win over Greg Hastrok and Lucas Sithole, this time wining 6-4 6-2.
Buis, van Koot to play Hunt, Mathewson for women’s title
After starting the week with a defeat against Brit Louise Hunt and USA’s Dana Mathewson, second seeds Marjolein Buis and Aniek van Koot will play the same partnership again in Sunday’s women’s doubles final.
Tuesday’s 6-4 5-7 7-6(5) loss to Hunt and Mathewson after three hours and 45 minutes on court remains the longest match of the 2018 Wheelchair Doubles Masters so far.
However, Buis and van Koot have now put together back-to-back match wins in Bemmel after defeating top seeds and 2016 champions Diede de Groot and Lucy Shuker 2-6 6-3 6-4.
“I think it’s quite amazing that we started the week off with a really long match against Dana Mathewson and Louise Hunt and we came off court as the losing party and today winning the match is much more fun,” said van Koot.
“We’re very, very focused to win this match tomorrow and we’ve very happy to play against them [Hunt and Mathewson] again so we can have our revenge,” said Buis.
Hunt and Mathewson won all the important points to extend their unbeaten winning sequence in Bemmel, defeating Katharina Kruger and Michaela Spaanstra 6-4 6-4.
“We’ve been coming together as a team throughout the week and we’ve defined our roles throughout the week. Louise did great at the net today and I was just trying to run around the back and I think we did well,” said Mathewson.
“A good bit of rest and then prepare tonight to do what we’ve done the rest of the week, tomorrow,” said Hunt.
Houdet and Peifer to play Gerard and Olsson for men’s title
With the women’s doubles final being a rematch of one of the round-robin pool contests from earlier in the week in Bemmel, the men’s doubles final throws up the exact same scenario as French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer prepare to take on Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Sweden’s Stefan Olsson.
Houdet and Peifer proved to be much the stronger partnership in their semi-final against Japan’s Shingo Kunieda and Takashi Sanada, the 2016 Doubles Masters champions running out 6-3 6-4 winners.
Reigning Australian Open and Roland Garros champions Houdet and Peifer will now attempt to beat Wimbledon finalists and British Open champions Gerard and Olsson for the second time this week, having taken their Pool A round-robin encounter 6-3 5-7 6-2.
Gerard and Olsson were rarely troubled by second seeds Gustavo Fernandez and Gordon Reid and already led by a set and 3-0 when Reid asked for the trainer to come to court. Reid received attention to his neck, but then the result was in little doubt and Gerard and Olsson completed a 6-2 6-0 victory.
You can watch Saturday’s action live on the International Paralympic Committee website.