Reigning Paralympic champions Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson proved their world-class status in the Australian Open quad doubles final tonight, with a commanding 6-0, 6-7, 10-6 win over wheelchair tennis icons David Wagner (USA) and Andy Lapthorne (GBR).
Buoyed by the support of an animated home crowd, the Aussie duo put on master class against the current world number one and two, taking the opening set in just 23 minutes.
With their 2017 Australian Open crown slipping away, Wagner and Lapthorne found an answer to the Australian onslaught in the second set, but Alcott and Davidson dug deeper to take the third set tiebreak (10-6), which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
“Happy days for us,” said Davidson, who with this victory, won his first grand slam crown tonight.
“I love getting out there and playing with this guy. We’ve played together in three massive tournaments and won two of them – Paralympic gold and now a Grand Slam.”
Taking in the hundreds of people on their feet and in their chairs at Melbourne Park, Alcott commented that the win was not only for them, but for Australian audiences.
“10 years ago, we were playing out here with just our families. Now it’s live on Channel 7 with 1.6 million people watching.”
The quad singles round robin tournament also continued today with Rio 2016 Paralympic doubles gold medallist Davidson beginning the day with a win against Lapthorne (6-2,6-1).
With no double faults and an excellent first serve percentage of 77, Davidson had no trouble convincing the crowd that his wild card entry into this year’s tournament was well deserved.
Currently ranked 5th in the world, Davidson said he was thrilled to beat the current world number two and exceeded his own expectations, after suffering a loss the previous day to Wagner in his first match of the Open.
“After my match against David yesterday, I was a bit rattled but I knew the tennis was there and I just had to get it out of my head,” he said.
“If I can keep my head cool, I can play good tennis and to be honest, I didn’t expect to beat him in two sets but I thought I’d have a good shot if I played well.
Tomorrow, Davidson will take on his doubles partner Alcott in the final round robin match before the final.
“We’re coming up head to head tomorrow. I guess now we have a grudge match, me and the boy. We’ve played each other 4000 times in training but I’ve got it in me to beat Dyl, 100 per cent.”
While Alcott was crowned a grand slam champion for the fifth time today, earlier on he found himself up against Wagner in a gruelling and bitterly disappointing defeat. (6-4, 6-7, 6-4)
Despite having a roaring crowd chanting behind him, he was unable to bring the win home in the two hour and 33 minute match. Alcott topped Wagner in both aces and winners, with six aces to four, and 58 winners to 53. Still, the American was just too classy.
In other results, Adam Kellerman competed in the open doubles tournament today with Sweden’s Stefan Olsson but lost 6-2,6-2 and will not progress further.
The Australian Open Wheelchair Tennis tournament can be viewed live at 7tennis.com.au or via the 7Tennis App.
By APC Media