9:33am Monday 7th July 2014
HALESOWEN’S Jordanne Whiley made history by becoming the first British woman to lift a wheelchair tennis trophy at Wimbledon as she clinched the doubles title with Japanese partner Yui Kamiji.
The pair, who had already won the Australian and French Open titles this year, got the better of defending champions from the Netherlands Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in a hugely enthralling encounter at The Championships to take the title out of Dutch hands for the first time in its six-year history.
An edgy first set saw the Dutch pair assert control and it looked like the title would once again be going their way after winning it in 2012 and 2013.
But doubles world No.1 and No.2 Kamiji and Whiley regrouped at the start of the second and, after breaking at 2-2, didn’t look back to wrap up the set with four straight games.
Despite leading at 2-0 and 5-3 in the third, the momentum kept shifting and they found themselves tied at 5-5. But another break of serve meant Whiley was serving for the Championship and the duo claimed the title on their second match point with a superb lob from Kamiji.
“I have literally dreamt of winning Wimbledon since I was a little girl and it does feel like my dreams have come true,” said Whiley, who also won a doubles bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games with Lucy Shuker.
“I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go but I think when Aniek’s serve started to go in the third we felt we had to take advantage.
“I was annoyed with myself at the end of the first set and I’m proud of the way I was mentally strong to start playing much better tennis after that.
“To be a three-time Grand Slam champion with Yui is just an amazing feeling. We love playing together and can’t wait to play at the US Open now to see if we can lift them all!
“Without the support of my team, friends and family, I wouldn’t be here today so I want to thank them, as well as the Tennis Foundation and UK Sport, who support me to be able to play professionally on the world tour.
“I hope my success can be an inspiration to other girls to encourage them to try tennis and I’d love to see more people with a disability coming along to try wheelchair tennis as part of the Ticket2Tokyo Talent ID programme I’m involved with.”
Fellow Brits Lucy Shuker and Gordon Reid also finished their Wimbledon campaigns on a winning note after winning their third place play-off matches.
British No.1 Reid teamed up with Dutchman Tom Egberink to defeat Frederic Cattaneo from France and Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 6-2, 6-4.
Meanwhile, Shuker and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock won against German Katharina Kruger and Sharon Walraven from the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4. The world’s best players will all be in action at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham the week after next at the Super Series event from 15 to 20 July.
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