“I changed my tactics a little bit from the second set, which worked.”
Japan’s Yui Kamiji and Shingo Kunieda both clinched the wheelchair singles titles at Roland Garros in Paris, France, on Saturday (9 June) as the second Grand Slam on the 2018 UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour came to an end
Kamiji needed three sets to take her third Roland Garros crown as she successfully defended her title against Diede de Groot of Netherlands, 2-6 6-0 6-2.
“I’m very happy, when I play against Diede, it’s tough, every time,” said Kamiji, who won the sixth Grand Slam singles title of her career. “I changed my tactics a little bit from the second set, which worked.”
Afterwards Kamiji admitted she had watched some of the men’s final in the locker room and had been inspired by Kunieda’s victory.
“He is Japanese, and I always want to win with him, so it was pushing me,” Kamiji said.
Kunieda took his seventh Roland Garros men's singles championship after a thrilling final, beating Argentina’s 2016 champion Gustavo Fernandez, 7-6(5) 6-0. He needed 10 set points to take the opening set, which lasted 82 minutes.
“I’m really happy right now,” said Kunieda. “I saved the set point 10 times and I gave everything today. It was very, very tough, very high quality and I just stayed aggressive.”
Kunieda aiming for Wimbledon
Kunieda’s 22nd Grand Slam singles title means he will regain the No. 1 ranking after Roland Garros for the first time since January 2016.
After battling so hard in the first set, a deflated Fernandez dropped the second set in just 22 minutes.
“Gustavo was disappointed he dropped the first set and then I felt really comfortable and I had confidence from winning the first set,” Kunieda said.
After winning the titles in Melbourne and Paris, Kunieda is looking forward to the grass-court season.
“I just go for Wimbledon,” he said. “I want it.”
When asked if he was the Rafael Nadal of wheelchair tennis, Kunieda said: “Rafa has won more than me...If I keep playing, I will try,” (to equal the Spaniard’s ten French Open titles).
Houdet and Peifer retain men's doubles title
Home French success at the second Grand Slam of 2018 was reserved for the men's doubles as top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer clinched their second Roland Garros and fifth Grand Slam men's doubles title together.
Houdet and Peifer recovered from 3-0 down in the second set to beat Frederic Cattaneo, the third French player in the final, and Sweden's Stefan Olsson 6-1 7-6(5).
Meanwhile, Dutch second seeds de Groot and Aniek van Koot wrapped up their first Roland Garros women's doubles title together.
De Groot gained some recompense for her earlier loss in the singles final when she and van Koot beat top seeds and defending champions Marjolein Buis and Yui Kamiji 6-1 6-3 in 66 mins.
De Groot and van Koot have now played Buis and Kamiji in the first two women's doubles Grand Slam finals of 2018, with both partnerships winning one title apiece.