The 8th annual Pensacola Open, presented by the Pensacola Parks & Recreation Department, continued its string of successful events. This years tournament (March 30 – April 3) of the USTA ITF/NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, showcased a world-class field of 118 players from 18 countries and is likely to be the 3rd largest wheelchair event in the US this year.
"What a terrific week! The warm sun and warm hospitality are superb combos!" exclaimed Tournament Chairman David Mayo. "In addition to the great weather, there was great food, organization, shuttles, awesome competition and wonderful camaraderie with the players! I’m so grateful to the USTA and our local sponsors for making all this possible!"
Stephane Houdet (FRA) secured his third championship defeating defending champ Robin Ammerlaan 7-5, 6-2 and Esther Vergeer (NED) continued her dominance easily taking out compatriot Jiske Griffieon 6-2, 6-0 clinching her third singles title as well.
Peter Norfolk won his first Pensacola Open quad singles title, beating world No. 1 and five-time champion David Wagner of the USA 6-1, 6-3. The British world No. 2, who dropped a set in his opening match of the week and then came from behind in the second set of each of his quarterfinal and semifinal matches, remained on top of defending champion Wagner for the majority of the final to win his first NEC Tour title of 2011
Houdet had more reason to celebrate later in the day after partnering fellow Frenchman Michael Jeremiasz to victory in the men's main draw doubles final. With Jeremiasz still rebuilding his doubles ranking after time out of the sport in the second half of 2010, the reigning Paralympic champions came into the Pensacola Open unseeded. However, for the second day in succession they came from a set down, beating Dutch top seeds and reigning Doubles Masters champions Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to lift the title.
There was better news for Griffioen in the women's doubles final after she paired up with Aniek van Koot to win another all-Dutch affair. Griffioen and van Koot comfortably took the opening set of the final against second seeds Marjolein Buis and Sharon Walraven, but lost some of their focus from 3-0 up in the second set before eventually wrapping up a 61 75 victory.
Another pair of Paralympic champions, David Wagner and Nick Taylor (USA), never lost more than 3 games in a set cruising through the quad open doubles draw and so picked up their fourth title in a row defeating the Canadian team of Sarah Hunter and Adrian Dieleman 6-1, 6-0 in the finals.
In the Letter Divisions, Dan Lachman (Hoover, AL) earned his second Pensacola Open singles title in the A div. defeating David Williams 6-4, 6-1. Lachman’s fellow Lakeshore player Mike Neville secured his first championship defeating Canadian Maxime Beliveau 7-6(3), 6-3 in the B’s. In the C div., Victor Vaughn (Hardy, AR) garnered his third singles crown in a row with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Steve O’Brien (Tucson, AZ).