BRITAIN’S top wheelchair tennis stars claimed two UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters titles in Mission Viejo, California.
Antony Cotterill, Andy Lapthorne and Lucy Shuker clinched victories in the quad doubles and women’s doubles finals.
Cotterill and Lapthorne secured an all-British triumph in the quad doubles, while Shuker partnered Diede de Groot, of the Netherlands, in a women’s doubles final that also featured fellow Brit Louise Hunt.
Lapthorne and Shuker will now look to try and translate their latest doubles victories into singles success when they line up for the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, which begins in London later this month.
Cotterill and Lapthorne went into the tournament as quad doubles second seeds and won two of their three round-robin matches to book their place in the final.
The only loss showing on their record was to Taylor and Wagner after Lapthorne had to withdraw after the first set of the match-up between the two partnerships due to illness.
However, Cotterill and Lapthorne dug deep in the final to snatch the opening set and after taking a 3-0 lead in the decider they were never headed again, closing out a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 victory.
“After a tough week it’s great to come out and finally win the Doubles Masters again,” said Lapthorne, who also won the 2010 title partnering another fellow Brit, Peter Norfolk.
“I’m thrilled to have won after such a long time. Big thanks to Ant and the Tennis Foundation Team out here for looking after me this week. It’s going to be great to go back home with this title and I’ll be working hard to try and add the singles title at the NEC Masters in front of a home crowd in a few weeks.”
Cotterill added: “This is a fantastic end to the week. I’m really pleased Andy was able to play after his sickness and he played really well. I’m delighted to get my first ever masters title under my belt.”
In the women’s doubles Hunt and her American partner Dana Mathewson beat the second seeds Katharina Kruger and Michaela Spaanstra in their round-robin matches to ensure they would avoid meeting top seeds Shuker and de Groot in the semi-finals, with both Brits and their partners topping their pools.
Both partnerships won their semi-finals in straight sets as Shuker reached her fourth Doubles Masters final and Hunt her second final in three years.
After splitting two close sets in the final, the deciding set saw the momentum shift both ways, Hunt and Mathewson stringing together four games in a row to lead 4-2.
However, Shuker and de Groot edged the last four games to wrap up 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
Shuker said: “I’m very proud to have claimed my first Doubles Masters title alongside Diede. It’s been an absolute pleasure playing with her here and I feel our styles complement each other extremely well so I look forward to partnering her again in a couple of weeks’ time at Bath Indoors, where I’ll continue my build up to the NEC Masters.”
A memorable final day for the Brits at the Doubles Masters saw Alfie Hewett and David Phillipson better their pre-tournament fourth seeding to finish in third place.
Hewett and Phillipson defeated Brazilian duo Mauricio Pomme and Carlos Santos 6-1, 6-3 for the highest Doubles Masters finishing position yet for both players.
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is the ITF’s year-end championship for the world’s top ranked wheelchair tennis singles players. The top eight men’s and women’s players and the top six quad players in the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Rankings are invited to battle it out to be crowned master of their division.
PICTURED: Main image – Andy Lapthorne (left) and Antony Cotterill
Insert – Lucy Shuker (right) and Diede de Groot