Canadian Wheelchair tennis players off to a strong season start. Yann Mathieu wins Mexican Open (Feb 3 -6) The top Canadian wheelchair tennis players kicked off their pre- Paralympic season with a strong performance at the Mexican Open. Yann Mathieu from Trois-Rivières, QC, won the ITF Future Series event in Puerto Vallarta by beating Russel Rodriguez (USA) 7:5/7:6 in the final after coming from behind from 1:4 in both sets. “ After a slow start I found my rhythm and served and returned really well. I could have been more aggressive in my game. This is something I am working on in order to be able to compete with the top 20 players this season.” Mathieu, currently ranked 27 in the ITF World Rankings, also clinched the doubles title with his partner Éric Gilbert (Montreal, QC) to defeat Rodriguez and fellow Canadian Philip Bédard (Montreal,) QC) 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 in the championship match. Bedard, currently ranked 62 in the world and competing in his second full season on the pro circuit, made it to the semis of the tournament, where he conceded defeat to the American Rodriguez. The 3rd Canadian in the main draw, who had to concede to Rodriguez, was Eric Gilbert from Montreal, by the score of 4-6 3-6: “ This was my first competition after a 5 month break, so I am not too disappointed with my performance”, said Gilbert after his match. Next stop on the ITF circuit will be the South West Desert Classic in Tucson, Arizona (Feb 11 – 13). Joining Matthieu, Gilbert and Bedard on the men’s side in the quest for valuable ranking points will be Joel Dembe from Ontario and Corey Blatchford from Saskatoon. The top Canadian players are bracing for an intense season. Strong performances and results are crucial in order to qualify for the 2012 London Paralympic Games. .
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