Kamiji and Whiley seal third Australian Open doubles title
Japan’s Yui Kamiji was in tears as she celebrated winning a third Australian Open wheelchair doubles title with her British partner Jordanne Whiley, who picked up her first Grand Slam trophy since becoming a mother.
Kamiji and Whiley, who have now captured 10 Grand Slam titles together, posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Dutch pair top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot in a 90-minute battle that took place in challenging weather conditions.
The unseeded Japanese-British pair needed 90 minutes to overcome the Dutch No.1 seeds after a delayed start to the match due to soaring temperatures.
“It’s really good to be back, I’ve only been back 11 months after having a baby so I’m so pleased I’ve won this with Yui and that I’m back with Yui. Thank you to the Japanese fans, I feel like I’m half Japanese, arigato,” said the 27-year-old Whiley, who’s last Grand Slam triumph had come at Wimbledon 2017. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her son Jackson at the time.
Kamiji was emotional during the trophy ceremony, and expressed how grateful she is to have her long-time doubles partner back with her in the winner’s circle.
“It’s always difficult to speak after an English person,” laughed Kamiji.
“I’m just very happy to be with you on the court again and that you’re playing with me again,” she said while choking back tears.
Kamiji and Whiley went up a double-break 4-1 early on. The Dutch pair got one of the breaks back but their opponents regained their advantage, winning a 68-shot rally to go up 5-2. Kamiji, a Paralympic singles bronze medalist, served out the set in style to take a one-set lead after 35 minutes of play.
The Japanese-British duo opened up a 5-3 gap in the second set and that service break was all they needed to wrap up a hard-fought win.
Kamiji’s Australian Open is not over yet as she takes on Van Koot in the singles final. The 25-year-old Japanese has now won 15 Grand Slam doubles titles, including five at the Australian Open.