Vancouver, October 25, 2015 – Philippe Bedard and Rob Shaw were crowned champions at the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Vancouver on Sunday, with Bedard claiming his third straight national singles crown and Shaw winning his maiden title at the University of British Columbia Tennis Centre.
No. 2-seeded Shaw came through 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 against No. 1 seed Luker in a very high-quality quad final lasting two hours and 35 minutes. After Shaw engineered a 5-2 lead in the third set, defending champion and world No. 22 Luker climbed back to make it 5-4. But Shaw, who entered the match trailing the ITF circuit head-to-head versus Luker 2-4, was finally able to serve out the victory and claim his first national singles title. His win comes a day after the 25-year-old from North Bay and Luker teamed up to capture the doubles championship.
“It feels awesome, it hasn’t completely sunk in yet,” Shaw said. “I’m still replaying a lot of the match in my head. I don’t think the magnitude of the situation has hit me quite yet. I know on court I had a lot of emotions and definitely feeling quite pleased with the result.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better match, it was amazing to play in. It was really fun to give each other a good match in the final.”
In men’s action, Bedard came out on top in an all-Quebec final 7-5, 6-1 over No. 2-seeded Gilbert to capture his third consecutive national singles trophy. The last time the two athletes played, Gilbert clinched a close duel 10-7 in the match tiebreaker in the Texas Open semifinals in May. He started strong again by taking a 5-2 lead in the opener, but Bedard was able to close the lead, take the first set, and assume control early in the second to emphatically take the title.
Bedard, who won a bronze medal in men’s doubles at the Parapan Am Games this summer, is the highest-ranked men’s player in Canada at world No. 29.
“It was a relief because Eric played a very good first set, he had some set points and I managed to come back,” Bedard said. “I am very happy with this win. It means a lot to me. To do it far from Montreal – I won two nationals in Montreal – and to win in BC is a good achievement for me.”
“It’s the last tournament of the year and I always want to finish the year strong to give me some motivation to train hard in the off-season so it’s very good for me to win the title here.”
Later, Bedard and Gilbert joined sides to clinch the doubles championship, winning 6-0, 6-0 over British Columbian-Albertan team Richard Peter and Kyle Thompson. It is Bedard’s fifth straight doubles crown at nationals after he also won the last four with Joel Dembe, who recently retired from the sport. For Gilbert, the win was a turnaround from the past three years in which he finished as runner-up to Bedard and Dembe.
The Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships is the biggest wheelchair tennis tournament held in Canada each year, with the country’s top athletes competing for national titles. The 2015 event was held from October 22-25 at the UBC Tennis Centre in Vancouver. For the complete final draws and results, please click here.