The 9th annual Pensacola Open, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis tour and presented by the Pensacola Parks & Recreation Department, continues its string of successful events. This year’s tournament (March 28 – April 1), a USTA Nat’l Championship Cat. 2 and ITF Series 1 event, showcased a world-class field of 121 players from 22 countries.
"What a terrific week!" exclaimed Tournament Chairman David Mayo. "We had the best weather, great food, awesome competition and wonderful camaraderie with the players! I’m so grateful to the USTA and our local sponsors for making all this possible!"
A major headline was Israeli Noam Gershony (3rd seed) who came away with his first Quad Open Singles title in Pensacola taking out world No. 1 and defending champ Peter Norfolk (GBR) 4-6 6-2 7-5. Gershony trailed 4-1 in the final set before his dramatic comeback.
In the Women’s Finals, world No. 2 Anniek van Koot created quite a stir at Roger Scott Tennis Center as she won an intense 2nd tiebreak to take Esther Vergeer to a very rare 3rd set . However, Vergeer was unperturbed and went on to complete her first tournament in her new tennis chair with a solid deciding set to win her fourth title in Pensacola 6-3 6-7 6-2. Both players declared themselves satisfied with the result in their Twitter posts after the match."(That's) what a good focus can do... I was so close! (I'm) very satisfied with how I played," said van Koot." I beat world number 2 Aniek van Koot.... What a match! Happy with the result!" said Vergeer.
World No. 2 Stephane Houdet successfully retained his men's singles title after becoming the third player this season to defeat Dutch world No. 1 Maikel Scheffers. After winning last week's Cajun Classic, Houdet comfortably wrapped up his second successive title 6-3 6-1, earning his fourth Pensacola Open crown since 2007.
Fourth seeds Michael Jeremiasz (FRA) and Gordon Reid (GBR) won the men's doubles title. Jeremiasz and Reid defeated Dutch third seeds Tom Egberink and Scheffers 6-4 6-1 as Scheffers ended the tournament with two runners-up trophies, while Jeremiasz and Reid collected their first doubles title together.
There was an upset in the all-Dutch women's doubles final as Vergeer and Sharon Walraven, the winners of all four Grand Slam titles and the Invacare Doubles Masters in 2011, lost to Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot 6-7(3) 6-3 3-6 in a hard fought 3 hour battle. Top seeds Nick Taylor and David Wagner retained the quad doubles title, the American duo beating British second seeds Jamie Burdekin and Norfolk 6-7(5) 6-0 6-2.
The letter divisions delivered new Champions in each division. In the A’s, Michael Paul (Nashville, TN) beat local favorite David Mayo 1-6 6-1 6-2. Jerry Vaughan (Hampton, GA took out ‘up and coming’ junior Chris Herman (St. Petersburg, FL) 6-3 6-2. In the C div., Glenn Singletary (Baker, LA) also obtained his first crown with a 4-6 6-2 6-1 victory over Troy Eap (Upper Darby, PA).