With Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda having both won the British Open men’s title over the last two years, the world No. 1 and world No. 2 served up in Nottingham a rematch of their recent Wimbledon wheelchair tennis final.
Japan’s defending champion came from 2-1 down to take the opening set, putting away his second set point with a short cross-court forehand winner.
The second seed continued in the ascendancy and served out to love to earn a second 5-3 lead. Drama ensued as Fernandez kept alive his hopes of a second British Open title in three years with a scintillating backhand down the line winner.
But a cross-court forehand pass set up Kunieda’s second championship point and Fernandez finally succumbed as he hit his next forehand return into the net to give Kunieda a 6-3 6-4 victory.
After claiming his seventh British Open men’s title, Kunieda paid tribute to his opponent. He said:
“Today’s match was very important to me because I have lost two times in a row to Gustavo. Gustavo, you give me a lot of motivation and energy, so I want to improve more because of you. I have had many good results here, so it is a lucky place for me.”
By the time they met in the men’s singles final, Fernandez and Kunieda had already combined with great effect to win their first men’s doubles title together, defeating Brits Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5.
De Groot earns back-to-back singles titles
World No.1 Diede De Groot completed the women’s singles and doubles ‘double’ after beating fellow Dutchwoman and first-time British Open finalist Marjolein Buis 6-2 4-6 6-2.
De Groot said: “It feels very good to be back in Nottingham and to end the week with two titles. It’s been a really nice week.
“Marjolein stepped up her game in the second set and played the right shots at the right moment, so it was really nice to get a good start in the final set and I continued on from that.
“I think the intentions of the points I played in those last few games were good, but the way I played them was not always good. After losing two games in a row I knew I needed to be on top of it, but still play with the same intentions.”
The women’s doubles final saw nine-time Grand Slam doubles champions Yui Kamiji and Jordanne Whiley losing to top seeds and reigning Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon champions De Groot and Aniek van Koot 7-6 (4) 6-4.
Niels Vink secures another Dutch victory
In the quad singles, Netherlands’ junior world No. 1 Niels Vink achieved a 7-5 3-6 6-2 victory over top seed Andy Lapthorne in the final.
“It’s amazing to win my first Super Series titles at my very first Super Series tournament,” said Vink, who started 2019 by becoming Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters champion.
“I was nervous and my emotions were going up and down in the match but I brought them back to get the win. At the end of the second set and the beginning of the third set I was a little bit down because I made a lot of mistakes. But I tried to stay positive. “
The quad doubles final was a rematch from one of the recent Swiss Open first round matches as Vink and Lucas Sithole of South Africa beat South Korean Kyu-Seung Kim and Japan’s Koji Sugeno 6-1 6-4.