Sep 16, 2008

Wheelchair tennis ends with Japan, Netherlands and France winners

Top seed Shingo Kunieda of Japan snatched the Men's Singles gold medal from Athens champion Robin Ammerlaan of the Netherlands to end the Wheelchair Tennis event on Monday. In the one-sided match, Kunieda challenged defending champion and second seed Ammerlaan, winning 6-3, 6-0 in less than an hour.

Kunieda went into the Games as the first Men's player to win all four majors in the same season in 2007. Kunieda led Ammerlaan slightly in head-to-head by 12 to 11 going in to the match and today he came out on top.
"I just thought, 'Yes. I did it,'" said Kunieda after the victory. "I will drink beer [to celebrate]. I cannot usually drink alcohol, but tonight I will."
In the Women's Doubles final, Dutch second seeds Korie Homan and Sharon Walraven stole the gold medal from their compatriots Esther Vergeer and Jiske Griffioen.

Vergeer and Griffioen won the first set 6-2, but Homan and Walraven fought back in the second, taking it 7-6 (4) and winning the final set 6-4 in two-and-a-quarter hours. Vergeer and Griffioen have been beaten only once in 39 tournaments, since first pairing up in 2004.
"It's amazing," said Homan. "I had a match point yesterday and it didn't work out. Today, after the first match point, I was thinking like, 'No, not again, not again.' At the second point, I was thinking like, 'We have to just go for it,' and it worked."
Second seeds Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz of France won the gold medal for the Men's Doubles over fourth seeds Stefan Olsson and Peter Wikstrom of Sweden.

This match was held on Monday after getting rained out. Houdet and Jeremiasz had taken the first set from Olsson and Wikstrom when the match was suspended. However, the Swedes led the second set 2-1 and 30-0 by the time the match was rained out.

The French pair then pushed ahead winning 6-1, 7-6 (5), after two hours on Monday.
Jeremiasz won the silver in Athens with a different partner. He was so elated to win the gold today that he ripped off his shirt, baring his chest at the end of the match.
"We decided, since the beginning, that if we are going to play, we are going to win," said Houdet. "Sometimes, we were a little bit too far back, and then they could be aggressive and win a couple of points. We just had to wheel back to the front, to go to the net, to be aggressive and I think in this game, we put the pressure on them."
(Via ITF Tennis Paralympic, Images via Yahoo! Sport)
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