Peter Willcox won his 12th men’s singles title and Beth Simmons claimed her second women’s singles title as the 2014 National Tennis Championships for the Deaf drew to a close on Monday at Gosling High Performance Tennis Centre, Welwyn Garden City with both players earning a full house of singles and doubles titles.
West Byfleet-based Willcox, who won the first of his men’s singles titles in 1999, took on 2012 champion Lewis Fletcher in the men’s final for the third successive year after the top two seeds had won their quarter-final and semi-final matches comfortably on the first two days of competition. In the first three set final between them Willcox finished the stronger for a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 victory.
“I am delighted to win my 12th national singles title. All the hard work I have been putting into training has paid off,” said Willcox. “Today it was about executing my game and in the first and third sets I did this very well. In the second I let Lewis back in and he raised his level, which made it tough for me. However I played a great third set and served brilliantly.
“I am grateful for all the support I have had from my family and friends over the last year and for the support of the Tennis Foundation, who have provided us with a fantastic set up.”
There was a thrilling end to the women’s singles final after Beth Simmons beat her twin sister Alex Simmons 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) after a final set tie-break. It was the first time that the Oxfordshire twins had met in the final, with Beth having previously lifted the title in 2005.
Earlier in the tournament Alex secured a surprise straight sets win over defending champion Bethany Brookes in the round-robin phase of the event, while Beth defeated Brookes in Sunday’s semi-finals.
I am overwhelmed about beating Alex in the final. It was a very close and tense match,” said Beth. We had lots of close rallies. The funding I’ve had from SportsAid has helped me massively to prepare for this tournament, so I would like to say thank you to them and to the Tennis Foundation for their support.”
Later in the day there was further success for the Alex and Beth Simmons in the women’s doubles when they claimed a 6-2, 6-1 win over Brookes and Valerie Copenhagen to win their third National title together after previous victories in 2005 and 2007.
Fletcher and Willcox clinched their fifth men’s doubles title as a partnership and their third in a row after the top seeds earned a 6-2, 6-0 win over second seeds Nicolas Ansell and Jack Clifton in the final. It was a 15th successive men’s doubles National title for Willcox.
Top seeds Willcox and Beth Simmons also won the mixed doubles in another exciting conclusion, defeating second seeds Fletcher and Brookes 6-4, 3-6, (11-9) after a championship tie-break to regain the title they first won together in 2012.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, this year’s Championships gave members of the National Deaf Tennis Squad the chance to put in eye-catching performances ahead of the announcement of selections for the Great Britain team for the Dresse and Maere Cup, the Davis and Fed Cup of deaf tennis, which will take place in Chattanooga in the USA in July.
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