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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Tennis

Success in France continues for Gustavo Fernandez

World number one takes Super Series title after Roland Garros win 18 Jun 2019
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Argentinian wheelchair tennis player Gustavo Fernandez hits a forehand

Gustavo Fernandez beat Shingo Kunieda and retained the Open de France title

ⒸYonathan Kellerman
By ITF and IPC

It’s seven years since Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina became the youngest player to win a Super Series title when he claimed the 2012 Japan Open men’s crown.

Sunday’s 6-3, 6-2 victory over top seed Shingo Kunieda of Japan saw Fernandez earn his third successive BNP Paribas Open de France title and fifth career Super Series singles tournament.

This victory in the tournament, which is part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, comes on the heels of Fernandez winning his second Roland Garros title at the French Open a week ago and reestablishing himself as the world No. 1.

A break ahead midway through the first set of Sunday’s final, Fernandez claimed the last two games of the opener, which he took with three breaks of serve to Kunieda’s two. He created a commanding 5-1 lead in the second set but needed a total of six match points before finally wrapping up the victory after 1 hour and 28 minutes.

Teenager Sam Schroder holds court

Before arriving at the fourth Super Series wheelchair tennis event of the year as world No. 6, 19-year-old Sam Schroder of Netherlands had never reached a Super Series final.

But Schroder claimed his first Super Series quad singles title and led a great showing for his country on the final day of the BNP Paribas Open de France.

Schroder wasted little time in the final in Antony on the outskirts of Paris, winning the opening set against world No. 4 Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain in just 22 minutes.

The second set was much closer and went back and forth until the 12th game of the set when Lapthorne was able to pull out the victory and make things closer.

However, Schroder reasserted himself at the start of the final set and took a 4-0 lead before Lapthorne could reply, finally wrapping up a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 victory for his second win over Lapthorne on French soil in a little over two weeks.

Diede De Groot remains unbeatable

The women’s singles final was all Dutch affair with Diede de Groot clinching her sixth Super Series title.

De Groot returns home after celebrating back-to-back Grand Slam and Super Series titles in France for the first time after securing a 6-1, 7-6(1) victory over fellow Dutchwoman Aniek van Koot.

The world No. 1 went back to her home town of Alphen aan den Rijn for a brief period at the start of the week, but with no significant time to celebrate her first Roland Garros title as she visited a wheelchair tennis camp at her home tennis centre to help inspire the next generation.

Still only 22, de Groot is on quite a roll.

With the victory, she is now a two-time Super Series singles champion this season. She’s the first wheelchair player to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles. She now also has six career Super Series singles titles to her name after avenging her loss to Van Koot in the final of the Cajun Classic in March.

Top seeds seal doubles titles

The latest Super Series doubles champions were decided on Saturday's penultimate day of play, with victory in each of the men’s, women’s and quad finals going to the top seeded partnerships.

One week on from Fernandez and Kunieda claiming their first Grand Slam men’s doubles title together at Roland Garros, there was a change in fortunes on the hard courts in Antony as home favourites Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer came out on top.

Fernandez and Kunieda recovered from being a set down to claim a deciding match tiebreak at Roland Garros, but Houdet and Peifer built on their first set lead this time to wrap up a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Current and former Roland Garros champions also went head-to-head in the women’s doubles final.

Dutch top seeds De Groot and Van Koot made it back-to-back Grand Slam and Super Series titles as they also claimed a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Marjolein Buis and Yui Kamiji.

A week on from David Wagner of the USA partnering with one Australian player to claim victory in the inaugural quad doubles final at Roland Garros, Wagner claimed the Open de France title with a new Aussie partner after a final set tiebreak.

Heath Davidson was Wagner’s partner this week as the duo extended their unbeaten record to nine career matches and three tournaments together, beating Kyu-Seung Kim and Sugeno 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) for their first Super Series title.