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Dana Mathewson wins Wimbledon in doubles, first U.S. woman to win wheelchair Slam
For the first time in tennis history, an American woman has won a Grand Slam in wheelchair tennis: on Sunday at Wimbledon, Dana Mathewson partnered Japan’s Yui Kamiji to a 6-1, 7-5 win over No. 1 seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands to take home the women's doubles title at the Championships.
It's the latest chapter in what's been a trailblazing career for Mathewson, who was already the first American woman to play in all four Grand Slams; she played her first Roland Garros last spring—also a first for the U.S.—and played at Wimbledon in singles for the first time this year. She's the top-ranked American woman in the world rankings, and sits in the Top 10 in both singles and doubles.
Wheelchair tennis dates back to the 2002 Australian Open, and has been played at all four majors since 2009.
"It doesn't really feel real," Mathewson said in the pair's victory speech. "I'm actually really excited that I got to play with Yui. ... I'm just overjoyed."
Kamiji added: "We know each other well, we've played against each other often, so we know how to play. We just enjoyed it, on the court and off the court."
That showed: Mathewson and now 26-time major-winner Kamiji, partnered for the first time, didn't drop a set. They lost 12 games in four sets played, and after leading 6-1, 2-0, came from 5-2 down in the second set against de Groot and van Koot to win the title in straight sets. They saved three set points along the way.
"Diede and Aniek played so well in the second set, but we never gave up," Kamiji said. "I was a little bit nervous, but still, we had passion, talked, and never gave up until the end of the match."
Mathewson last played in a Grand Slam final five years ago, when she and van Koot were the doubles runners-up at the 2017 US Open; ahead of this championship match, the 31-year-old said she was a different player in almost all facets, thanks in part to relocating to Orlando, Fla. full-time to train with USTA Player and Coach Development just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more at usta.com: Retooled Mathewson aiming higher - 'I want to see how good I can get' (published 2021)
"Our teams put in so many hours with us off the court that not everybody sees," Mathewson said, "and that's a huge part of why we're here today."
Americans went 1-for-2 in Wimbledon finals played on the Championships' last day, as David Wagner and his British partner Andy Lapthorne fell just short of defending the quad doubles title they first won last year. After winning the first set, the second-seeded pair fell to No. 1 seeds Sam Schroder and Niels Vink of the Netherlands, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-3.
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