They did it!
Britain’s Lucy Shuker and the Netherlands Diede de Groot successfully defended their doubles title in Bath today defeating Marjolein Buis and Sabine Ellerbrock in straight sets 6-0 7-5.
I think we moved well together as a pair, I think we served well together as a pair and it just all came together and I loved every minute of it. Lucy Shuker
It means that not only are the pair unbeaten in three tournaments together they also remain unbeaten in Bath – not a bad set of statistics to have on your side.
Shuker said: “It’s amazing – I think we played really well together.
“Diede was striking the ball so heavy and so big which is what I thought she would do but she did it so well it just allowed me to pick things off at the net. I had a good eye and a good hand today and it just went really well for us.
“I think we moved well together as a pair, I think we served well together as a pair and it just all came together and I loved every minute of it.”
Once again Shuker had lots of praise for her doubles partner’s performance.
She continued: “It was really nice to see her again today having the confidence to come forward because that’s the one part of her game that she hasn’t been doing but obviously has the ability to.
“Anyone would want to play with Diede, she’s the up and coming youngster who moves exceptionally well, who strikes a ball exceptionally well so I’m just lucky that she decided to play with me here.”
Humble as ever Shuker forgets to point out that she is also an incredibly popular player on the UNIQLO wheelchair tennis tour to partner up with in doubles because of her superb ability to set up shots and hit a winner from the net.
When asked about this she said: “I hope so – I think I have the hands that a lot of the other girls don’t seem to have, probably from my badminton days and my movements getting better and I’ve been working hard at fitness so I don’t think I got drop shotted today which was good.”
De Groot will also have the chance to lift back-to-back women’s singles titles here in Bath after coming through her all-Dutch semi-final today against Marjolein Buis in straight sets 6-0 6-3.
She will see a familiar opponent on the other side of the net after Ellerbrock came through a hard fought semi-final in straight sets against Kgothatso Montjane 6-2 7-6 (4).
A match of two sets
The first set went by in the flash and it wasn’t long before top seeds Shuker and De Groot had taken it 6-0.
It was the fourth game in the second set where this final started to get really interesting, a game which saw Buis and Ellerbrock got their first game on the board and come from 3-0 down in the second to take not one, not two but three games in a row to level up the score.
At three all Shuker and De Groot then found their form again and were 5-3 up with De Groot only needing to hold her serve to hand them the second set and the match.
But this set had a little bit of drama still left in it as Buis and Ellerbrock took the next two games to level it up again at five all.
Then the top seeds switched it up another gear and at 6-5 up game out fighting, breaking the Buis serve and eventually taking the set 7-5 and the match.
Shuker said: “I think there were a couple of mistakes crept in between us in that set but to be fair to Marjolein and Sabine they both played well and started to change their tactics a little bit.
“They both have the ability to get so many balls back and Sabine has the ability to change it up and does her little angles and her drop shots but Diede just chased them down today which was great.
“But we turned it around – enjoyed the long rallies, enjoyed the short ones and enjoyed every minute of it and got the win.”
Make it a triple?
For Shuker and De Groot Bath seems to be one of many places where they shine on a doubles court, so will they be returning next year to see if they can keep up this unbeaten record in the Somerset town and turn their doubles double into a hat trick?
Shuker said: “Quite possibly. If it’s in her tournament schedule I think we’ll partner up together but obviously it’s a year away and there’ll be lots of tournaments inbetween then so she’ll be picking and choosing what she does.
“Obviously for me it’s a home tournament so I love to support it, so I’ll be back.”