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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Tennis

US Open 2019: Andy Lapthorne leads Grand Slam winners

British quad player ends Dylan Alcott's wheelchair tennis calendar Grand Slam dream as Alfie Hewett and Diede de Groot also triumph 09 Sep 2019
Imagen
a male wheelchair tennis player holds up a trophy
Andy Lapthorne shocked Dylan Alcott to win the 2019 US Open title
ⒸGetty Images
By ITF

The US Open started with two men - Dylan Alcott of Australia in the quad singles and Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina in men’s singles - vying to win a coveted calendar Grand Slam.

Now that it has all played out in New York it turns out that a wheelchair calendar Grand Slam in singles will have to wait for another time to be achieved.

Fernandez had seen his bid ended on Saturday when he fell 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to France's Stephane Houdet in the men's semi-finals.

Then on Sunday, Alcott surprisingly could not find his way in the quad singles championship match. 

He seemed lost in an environment where he usually dominates as Andy Lapthorne captured a second career US Open singles trophy, having won his first in 2014.

Lapthorne, a southpaw playing in top form, closed Alcott out 6-1 6-0 in 56 minutes. The only game Alcott won was when he held serve in the sixth game of the first set.


"A long time coming"

“I’m a bit speechless to be honest,” said Lapthorne, in his winner’s speech. “Congrats to Dylan, you’ve had a great year. To play like that and come out and win is amazing. I’ve lost a lot of big finals so this is a long time coming and very sweet.”

Alcott was clearly disappointed with his result, but understood he was simply out-gunned on the court.

“I was just flat and probably didn’t enjoy myself enough to be honest, which is very unlike me,” Alcott said. “Normally when I’m having fun I play well, but I didn’t have any fun. Also, credit to Lappo. I pumped him at Wimbledon and he pumped me today.”

In Alcott’s runner-up speech, he said, “Congratulations to Lappo, you came out and played unbelievable and deserve it today, And to my team, sorry I let everyone down but I had a shocker.”

While the result was indeed a ‘shocker’ from the perspective that it was so one-sided, Lapthorne stated he’s always had it in him to play at this type of superior level.


“It was amazing,” said Lapthorne, smiling. “I’ve been saying for a long time the day I switch on and allow myself to play will be the day that people see the real me, the guy who comes into train every day and works so hard.

“It’s been so disappointing over the last three, four years to keep getting into finals, and putting myself into position, and not do myself justice and play the way I can. To finally come out today and show everyone what I’m about - you have to be able to do that on the big stage and today I managed to do that for the first time in my career.”

Alcott assuaged some of the pain of failing to capture a calendar singles Grand Slam by teaming with Lapthorne to win a calendar doubles Grand Slam. 

He won the Wimbledon and US Open doubles with Lapthorne, partnered fellow Aussie Heath Davidson in Melbourne, and David Wagner at Roland Garros.

The Alcott and Lapthorne duo defeated Americans Bryan Barten and Wagner 6-7(5), 6-1(10-6) in the final.

Hewett holds out to retain title

In the men’s and women’s singles competition, Alfie Hewett and Diede de Groot successfully defended their US Open singles and doubles titles.


The 21-year-old Hewett survived a close 7-6(9), 7-6(5) battle against Stephane Houdet of France to take a second consecutive US Open singles title.

Nevertheless, Houdet grabbed a slice of history for himself on Sunday despite finishing as runner-up. At 48 years old, Houdet was the oldest man to ever compete in a Grand Slam men’s singles final.


Houdet already claimed the distinction of being the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles trophy when defeating Hewett in the 2017 US Open final. 

The closest oldest Grand Slam singles winners to Houdet are Ken Rosewall, who took the 1972 Australian Open title at 37 years old, and Serena Williams, who won the 2017 Australian Open aged 35.

Triple triumph for de Groot

In women’s singles, top seed Diede de Groot of Netherlands was pushed the distance by second seed Yui Kamiji, but rebounded for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.


The US Open title was a third Grand Slam trophy this season for de Groot, who also won the honours at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

“It was a tough match but that makes it feel even better,” de Groot said. “The second set I thought it was a whole new match, and that’s how I tried to see it.”

De Groot knows that as the No. 1 player in the world the other players are all focused on pushing her off the throne.


“It’s definitely a whole different game when you’re No. 1,” de Groot said. “A lot of years you work to get to that point, to that No. 1 spot, and then once you’re there everyone is after your spot and trying to chase you.”

De Groot teamed with fellow Dutchwoman Aniek van Koot to complete a calendar doubles Grand Slam by defeating Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany and Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa 6-2 6-0 in the final.

Hewett and fellow Briton Gordon Reid made it three US Open doubles titles in a row by beating Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda of Japan 1-6, 6-4, 11-9.