Stephane Houdet and Diede de Groot took the men’s and women’s singles titles away from the inaugural Surbiton Wheelchair Tennis Tournament on Saturday. Both players ended the pre-Wimbledon grass court event organised by the Tennis Foundation with singles and doubles victories.
World No. 3 Houdet played just three games in singles competition on the final day as the Frenchman, Gustavo Fernandez and Stefan Olsson all finished their round-robin matches with three wins apiece.
Fernandez came into his final contest against Houdet unbeaten. However, with the third Grand Slam of thee year taking place next week, the Australian Open champion retired with Houdet leading 2-1.
With Roland Garros champion Alfie Hewett also eyeing more Grand Slam glory next week he also withdrew from his last scheduled match against Houdet, giving world No. 2 Houdet a walkover.
Houdet’s three singles games on the last day of competition in Surbiton followed a much tougher start to Saturday’s play.
Houdet and Olsson opened the action with a thrilling 6-3, 2-6, (12-10) victory over Shingo Kunieda and Fernandez in the men’s doubles final.
Olsson later edged another enthralling contest against Kunieda, taking their singles round-robin match 6-4, 7-6(5) for his third win. However, Houdet took the inaugural trophy on the percentages of sets won.
Having partnered Lucy Shuker to win the women’s doubles, de Groot defeated Shuker 6-1, 6-3 in the women’s singles final. The Surbiton top seed and world No.3 will now play at Wimbledon for the first time.
The day’s play also saw the USA’s David Wagner and Britain’s Andy Lapthorne entertain the crowds with an enthralling quad singles demonstration on the grass. World No.1 Wagner just had the edge to defeat world No.3 Lapthorne 7-5, 6-3.
Gustavo Fernandez narrowly maintained his unbeaten record at Surbiton Wheelchair Tennis Tournament ahead of Saturday’s last day of play.
Meanwhile, current British No.1 Lucy Shuker and Diede de Groot of the Netherlands won the inaugural women’s doubles event. They will also meet in the women’s singles final.
But another fascinating day’s play saw Wimbledon champions Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid bow out of the men’s doubles.
World No.2 Fernandez edged Japan’s Shingo Kunieda 6-3, 3-6, (10-7) to make it three men’s singles wins in a row. Argentina’s Australian Open champion now plays world No.3 Stephane Houdet of France in his last match. Houdet has his last two round-robin singles matches on the third and final day of competition. So far the Frenchman has one win and won loss from the opening day.
Stefan Olsson also plays Kunieda in his final match on Saturday after defeating Alfie Hewett 6-4, 6-3. Olsson has two wins and a loss to date, while Kunieda has two losses and a win.
Shuker’s grass court preparations for her ninth Wimbledon began with a thrilling 1-6, 6-3, (10-8) victory over USA’s Dana Mathewson. Shuker will play de Groot in the singles final after the Dutch world No.3 beat Whiley 6-1, 7-6(4).
Later in the day de Groot and Shuker claimed the women’s doubles decider with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Mathewson and Whiley.
The two men’s doubles semi-finals were decided in two very different matches. Houdet and Olsson bounced back from losing a first set tie-break to beat Hewett and Reid 6-7(7), 6-1, (10-7).
However, no deciding match tie-break was needed in the other semi-final. Second seeds Fernandez and Kunieda defeated Dermot Bailey and Marc McCarroll 6-0, 6-0.
Saturday’s last day of play in Surbiton also includes the quad singles demonstration match between Brit Andy Lapthorne and USA’s David Wagner.
Reigning Australian Open champion Gustavo Fernandez completed day one of Surbiton Wheelchair Tennis Tournament with two wins in two matches.
The world No.2 was the only player to end the first day of the grass court event with two round-robin wins. Wimbledon 2016 men’s singles finalist Stefan Olsson, Stephane Houdet and Shingo also secured wins heading into Friday’s second day.
Fernandez began with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Brit Alfie Hewett to reverse the outcome of last month’s Roland Garros final. The Argentinian then beat Sweden’s Olsson 6-1, 6-1.
Olsson, runner-up to Gordon Reid at Wimbledon last year, won the last match on court in a thriller.
The world No.7 edged out world No. 3 Houdet of France 6-4, 1-6, (12-10) after a deciding match tie-break.
It was a mixed day for Houdet and Shingo Kunieda of Japan, with Houdet winning a close match against Kunieda 7-6(5), 6-3. However two-time Paralympic men’s singles champion Kunieda ended his day with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Hewett.
Hewett will hope for a better day on Friday, when he faces Olsson and also renews his Wimbledon men’s doubles-winning partnership with Gordon Reid.
As well as the start of the men’s doubles, the second day also features the start of the women’s singles, including Brits Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley.
The draws have been confirmed for this week’s groundbreaking new grass court wheelchair tennis tournament at Surbiton. The tournament takes place from 6th – 8th July.
The invitational tournament has been organised by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, and is seen as the first step towards creating a grass court season for wheelchair tennis in the build up to Wimbledon.
The event, hosted at Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club in Surrey, takes place at the same prestigious venue that hosts the annual Aegon Surbiton Trophy.
It becomes only the second elite level grass court tournament in the world for wheelchair tennis, after The Championships, Wimbledon.
With the event featuring both singles and doubles competitions, some of the world’s best players contest the Men’s and Women’s draws, providing them with crucial grass court match practice ahead of the third Grand Slam tournament of the year. The wheelchair tennis competition at Wimbledon takes place from 13th – 16th July.
The five-way round-robin Men’s singles event begins on Thursday with a fascinating schedule that starts with a rematch of last month’s Roland Garros final between Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez.
Australian Open champion and world No.2 Fernandez will play his second match of the day against 2016 Wimbledon Men’s singles finalist Stefan Olsson of Sweden. Meanwhile, Olsson also faces current world No.3 Stephane Houdet of France on the opening day of competition.
Hewett and Houdet also play two-time Paralympic Men’s singles gold medallist Shingo Kunieda of Japan on the first day of round-robin competition.
The Women’s singles will be a four-way round-robin competition featuring Brits Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley, USA’s Dana Mathewson and Diede de Groot of the Netherlands.
In addition to the Men’s and Women’s draws, there will also be a demonstration match for Quad wheelchair tennis during three-day tournament, between Great Britain’s Paralympic silver medallist Andy Lapthorne and USA’s David Wagner. With the Quad division not currently featured at Wimbledon, the match will provide a rare opportunity to see Quad players showcase their skills on a grass court, and is an important part of the division’s future development towards inclusion at a third Grand Slam alongside the Australian and US Open events.
Geoff Newton, Executive Director of the Tennis Foundation, said:
“This tournament marks a significant moment in the development of the wheelchair tennis calendar and our efforts to create a grass court season for the players. Last year’s inaugural singles event at Wimbledon was a huge success, so we are delighted to be able to build on that by putting on this grass court tournament at Surbiton”.
Emphasising how important the opportunity of grass court match practice will be for the players, Roland Garros champion and current World No.6, Hewett, said:
“Playing on grass requires a different approach to the clay of Roland Garros or hard courts of other tournaments. We’ve not previously had the opportunity to play competitive matches on grass ahead of Wimbledon so this tournament will form a crucial part of my preparations as I aim to transfer my recent form on to the grass.”