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Unusual Victories and Defeats at the French Open Wheelchair Tennis
In a surprising turn of events, Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne won his second French Open quad wheelchair doubles title alongside South Africa’s Donald Ramphadi. They beat second seeds Robert Shaw and Heath Davidson with an incredible score of 1-6, 6-2, 10-3.
However, three-time men’s wheelchair singles champion Alfie Hewett lost to Japanese player Tokito Oda in a devastating defeat that might have cost him his fourth Roland Garros singles crown. The young teenager also replaced Hewett as world number one with this victory.
The Rise of Tokito Oda
Oda became the youngest men’s wheelchair singles world number one after beating seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Hewett in straight sets (6-1,6-4). He claimed revenge for his defeat by Hewett in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
“You fully deserved that title today; that was simply amazing out there – and for a young lad, that’s seriously impressive,” said a gracious Hewitt during his post-match interview. “I’m sure there are going to be many more battles and finals between us ahead.” Oda twice broke serve in an outstanding first set before repelling a second-set comeback from experienced player Hewitt to see out the win. His coach was overwhelmed by the emotional scenes on Court Philippe Chatrier as they celebrated their historic achievement together. “This is my first major title, I can’t believe it! It feels surreal,” Oda expressed delight after being crowned winner.
Andy Lapthorne: A Remarkable Victory
Lapthorne secured another remarkable victory at Roland Garros claiming his 14th doubles Slam crown alongside Ramphadi. It was their first time playing together, and they ended up winning the title.
“Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come,” said Lapthorne, beaming with joy after the match. The duo came from a set down to beat Australia’s Davidson and Canada’s Shaw in an exciting game that went all the way to a third-set tiebreak (1-6, 6-2,10-3).
What Next for Hewett?
Hewett returns to action later on Saturday with partner Gordon Reid as they seek their fourth Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. They will face Spain’s Martin de la Puente and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez on Court 14. The top-ranked pair are contesting their 15th consecutive Slam final.
The Briton remained optimistic despite his earlier defeat by Oda: “We move on; there is Wimbledon next so I’m looking forward to that.”
The French Open wheelchair tennis tournament has witnessed some surprising results this year. While Andy Lapthorne secured yet another victory in doubles competition, Alfie Hewett lost out on winning his fourth Roland Garros singles crown against Tokito Oda – who became world number one himself.
We eagerly look forward to seeing what other surprises this tournament brings!