Houdet retains British Open Wheelchair Tennis men’s title
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Stephane Houdet claimed his second successive British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships men’s singles title when he beat Belgium’s Joachim Gerard in straight sets on the final day of competition at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
American pairing David Wagner and Bryan Barten and Dutch pairing Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen were also crowned winners as they won the quad doubles and women’s doubles titles respectively.
After Gerard saved three match points at 5-3 down in the second set, Houdet eventually closed it out to seal the title 6-3, 6-4 to add the singles title to his doubles success from the penultimate day of competition.
“Last year was my first British Open title and I couldn’t imagine winning it back-to-back, so it’s great. To also win the doubles with my friend Nicolas Peifer, it’s been a great week,” said Houdet.
“It is good preparation for Rio but in tennis we are always looking forward to the next tournament so there is not much time to sit and enjoy your win. I hope to be in a place in Rio to play good tennis and a result like this would be amazing.”
Wagner and Barten upset home favourites Andy Lapthorne and Jamie Burdekin as they fought back from a set down to win the quad doubles title.
Lapthorne and Burdekin raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set before Wagner and Barten pegged them back, however they eventually closed out the set 6-3. The Americans fought back to win the second 6-1 and despite Lapthorne and Burdekin saving two match points in the final set, Wagner and Barten clinched it 6-4.
“I was nervous at the start when we went 5-0 down, I thought it would be over quickly,” said Barten. “However we got it together and played some good stuff, I’m delighted to win here with David.”
"We started well and had a lot of togetherness in the first set, but our heads went down a bit when they took that second set,” said Burdekin. “But we were strong enough to come back in the third and we had points to go 5-4 up and it could have been so different. It just wasn’t there with us today and we’ve got four weeks now before Rio to change it round."
Meanwhile, the women’s doubles title went to the Dutch pairing of van Koot and Griffioen. Defending champions from 2015, they faced another all-Dutch pairing on the other side of the net in their countrywomen Marjolein Buis and Diede De Groot.
The experience of van Koot and Griffioen showed through as they took the title with a 6-3, 6-1 win to claim their fifth British Open doubles title.
“It’s the best preparation we could have for Rio. The first few games didn’t go to plan and we started with a few unforced errors but we stayed calm and were relaxed,” said van Koot. “We had our game plan which in the end worked.”