Wagner Wins 11th Title
at NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters
Victoria Chiesa | November 26, 2019
ORLANDO, Fla. - In the quad singles final at the 2019 NEC Wheelchair Masters, the teacher gave the student a lesson.
American veteran David Wagner defeated upstart Niels Vink of the Netherlands in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to seal his 11th title in 16 editions of the year-end event.
Sixteen-year-old Vink, already crowned a champion in the quad doubles alongside Australia's Heath Davidson on Monday, was looking to become the third player to pull off a sweep of the quad singles and doubles titles in the same year.
Nonetheless, the American, who won his first title in 2002—the year Vink was born—denied the teenager a dream Masters debut to return to the winner's circle at the event after his six-year streak of championship appearances was snapped last year.
"It was a tough match. All the players here came to win. ADVERTISEMENT No one came here for second through sixth place," Wagner said after the match.
"It was a tough competition all the way through, and I knew that, going in, Niels is a strong player. I was prepared and had a great strategy."
After the first seven games of the opening set went with serve, Wagner scored the decisive break in the eighth game of the opener after a pair of untimely backhand unforced errors from the teenager.
"I think it started to change the momentum of the match, when I went more to the backhand," Wagner assessed.
"He's a grinder, and [my coach] and I talked about how to maneuver him around the court a little bit, when to close out, when to not close out, while taking my chances staying back, and taking my chances going in.”
The second set moved into the American's favor as he was the first to break, but after the players traded breaks twice, the veteran ultimately won three of the last four games from 3-3.
The teenager authored some late resistance, as he saved a pair of match points on his serve in the ninth game, but Wagner sealed victory with an emphatic hold that clinched the match.
“I had two other match points earlier in the set, and he hit first serves… four points in a row, I didn’t put his serve back in play,” Wagner continued.
“Coming into [the last game], I’m 5-4 up, and I served out to his forehand, and he rolled it into the bottom of the net. I’m up 15-0 right off the bat off of a forehand, and that’s big. Then it was back to my mindset to go back to the backhand.”
With the victory, Wagner captured his fifth overall Masters title on American soil, and his second in singles, in the event's second year at the USTA National Campus.
"I'm just overwhelmed by the whole thing. It's an honor to be here in the U.S., represent the United States and play in front of some home American crowds," he said.
"The USTA National Campus did an awesome job once again. Last year was their first year, and it was awesome, and this year was even better. It's hard to believe that every year can get better than the first year. I love it... and it really was a top-notch event this year."
In the men's singles final, Belgium's Joachim Gerard won his second straight title, and fourth in the past five years, with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Great Britain's Alfie Hewett, while world No. 1 Diede de Groot beat world No. 2 Yui Kamiji in a rematch of the US Open final in women's singles, 6-2, 6-3.