Dutch tennis sensation Sam Schroder has won his first Australian Open title, defeating 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott in the quad wheelchair singles final on Thursday.
Crowd hushed as big-hitting Schroder clinches first set
Before the match had even begun, Alcott was already revving up the crowd as he warmed up.
The energy of the crowd was at fever pitch throughout the first set, having just witnessed Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis reach their first grand slam final.
Playing against second seed Schroder, Alcott broke the Dutchman’s serve in the very first game of the match.
Powerful service returns from the 22-year-old’s were a highlight early, managing to instantly break back on Alcott’s serve, despite two aces from the world No. 1.
With Alcott trailing 2-1 in the first set, 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame was shown on the big screen, prompting Alcott to stop and join in the applause from the crowd.
After nine grueling deuces, the Aussie broke the left-handed Schroder’s serve to take a 5-4 lead, pointing at the court and mouthing ‘this is my court’ as he took advantage.
An energy-sapping first set ended with the world No. 2 silencing the Aussie crowd, hitting a superb winner to avoid a first-set tiebreaker.
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Schroder put the hammer down in the second set, racing to a 5-0 lead as a shell-shocked crowd didn’t know where to look.
The gameplay of Schroder was majestic, dominating a one-sided second set.
The 31-year-old Alcott hit 15 unforced errors in the second set alone, as his career ended in defeat.
The Dutch second seed reeled off ten-straight games to win his first Australian Open title, 7-5 6-0.
Emotional Alcott says farewell to adoring public
Speaking after the match, Alcott was full of praise for Schroder.
“Congratulations to Sam. Mate, you definitely deserved to win today. You were the better player,” he said.
“To the Australian Open, I love you so much.
“It’s been an incredible 8, 9… 31 years for some of us.”
An inspiring Alcott also spoke about how thankful he is to the crowd and the public of Australia.
“I hated myself so much growing up, and the reason I don’t is because of you (the crowd)… thank you so much,” an emotional Alcott said.
“It would’ve been nice to win, but to be honest I’m still the luckiest person I’ve ever met. I’m the luckiest guy in this country.”
Alcott leaves professional having cemented a legacy that has set a path for young people with disabilities to pursue their dreams. A true inspiration.
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