Buis and de Groot claim UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters glory on home soil
Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot became the latest all-Dutch partnership to win the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters women’s title on Sunday as the ITF’s year-end championship for the world’s leading wheelchair tennis doubles player came to an end in Bemmel, Netherlands, with Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid making a memorable comeback to claim the men’s title.
Three days after beating Sabine Ellerbrock and Aniek van Koot 61 64 in the round-robin phase of the competition Rio Paralympic silver medallists Buis and de Groot faced a similar challenge against the same opposition in the final.
With Ellerbrock and van Koot four matches in to their newly-formed partnership they had a more assured start and held serve to love in the fourth game as both pairings shared the early exchanges.
However, Buis and de Groot’s experience from almost 40 matches together soon came to the fore. They claimed the first break to go 4-2 ahead and finished a sequence of four games in a row with Buis delivering an exquisite forehand lob on their first set point.
Ellerbrock and van Koot earned their first service break at the start of the second set, but were prevented from building any significant momentum. Despite taking the lead for the second time at 4-3 it was to be their last real success and Buis and de Groot took the final three games to close out a 62 64 victory.
“This means a lot to me. It’s been a great year playing doubles and to finish it like this winning the Doubles Masters together with Diede for the first time is very, very nice,” said Buis. “In the end I think that we kept on fighting for every point; that made the difference. We still believed we could win the second set even though we were down and just to go for it over and over again, every point, well it turned out that that was the key factor, I guess.”
While it was a first UNIQLO Doubles Masters title for Buis it was a second successive victory in the event for de Groot, who partnered Lucy Shuker to victory in 2016.
“It’s still special, here playing in your home country it’s maybe even more special than the first time, but yes it’s very special,” said de Groot. “We can invite family and coaches and everyone who wants to come, so I think it (the crowd support) is very important.”
After last year’s victory with de Groot, Shuker finished third this year, partnering American Dana Mathewson. Mathewson and Shuker beat Charlotte Famin and Kgothatso Montjane 61 57 61.