The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is one of my favorite events of the year. Only the top 8 players of the world ranking compete in this event. There are no easy matches. And instead of a knockout system, we play in a round robin phase first.
This year I’m placed in poule A, together with Jordanne Whiley, Sabine Ellerbrock and Lucy Shuker. The 1st match against Sabine is not very good, but I play solid on the important points and win the match 6-3 6-4.
On the 2nd day I play against Jordanne Whiley. And it will be one of the most memorable matches of my career. I have a good start of the match, racing to a 5-0 lead in the 1st set. Making some unforced errors, I allow Jordanne to come back to 5-3 but then closing out the 1st set 6-3. Jordanne keeps fighting and wins the 2nd set 6-4. The 3rd set is a thriller. Jordanne takes a 3-0 lead, but then I fight back. I take a 5-3 lead but then Jordanne fights back. And eventually a tiebreak has to decide who is the winner. And this tiebreak just keeps going and going. I face some matchpoints against me, but I’m able to level the score. I have some matchpoint, but I’m not able to convert. And eventually I win the tiebreak 16-14. It’s the longest tiebreak I’ve ever played.
The next day I play against Lucy Shuker. It was a really strange night, cause at 01.30 the fire alarm went off in hotel. At first I thought my fire alarm in the room was broken or something. But when I opened my door, I saw a lot of people dressed and walking to the stairs. I was staying on the 6th floor and three men carried me down the stairs. When we reached the evacuation area across the hotel, hotel staff informed us it was false alarm and we could return to our rooms. Because of the rough awakening and not knowing what was going on, I had some trouble to fall back a sleep. So not really fit to start the 3rd day of play. But as we were all in the same hotel, it was the same for all players. Back to my match against Lucy Shuker. She plays a really good match, keeping me under pressure the 1st set. But somehow I win the important points in the tiebreak and take the 1st set 7-6. In the 2nd set I’m able to put a little bit more pressure on my opponent and I win the 2nd set 6-3.
So after three round robin matches, I end on the 1st place in my group. So in the semifinal I play the 2nd player of the other group, Aniek van Koot. Last year I played the final against her. Both set are tight. We have to fight hard for every point and eventually I win the match 6-4 7-5.
In the final I play against Sabine Ellerbrock. She reached the final, beating Marjolein Buis in 3 long sets. And in the final she seems a little bit fatigued. I’m able to keep putting pressure on her and I win the final 6-2 6-2. In 2012 I won the NEC Singles Masters for the first time. And it’s great to win it this year for the 2nd time. It has been a great year and to finish the year with this title is just amazing!!!