Great Britain’s Esah Hayat became the first world deaf youth tennis boys’ champion today at the World Tennis Championships at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
Meanwhile, on the penultimate day of the World Championships, Egor Panyushkin of Russia and Vincent Novelli of France reached the men’s singles final and Spain’s Beatriz Villamandos-Lorenzo and Emily Hangstefer of the USA reached the women’s singles final.
Thirteen-year-old Hayat won seven games in a row to win the boys’ singles final against Germany’s Johannes Behr 8-1.
“It’s an honour to be World Champion, I’ve worked really hard for this tournament and I’m really pleased” said Hayat.
“I was nervous going into today’s final as I lost to him last year, but I was also confident as I’ve become a lot stronger in the last year and my technique has improved and I got my tactics right.
“When he hit the net on match point it was a huge relief, all the stress was gone and a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was really happy.”
Israel’s Rotem Ashkenazy won the girls’ singles gold medal match after beating Slovakia’s Jana Janosikova 8-1, while Great Britain’s Phoebe Suthers won the bronze medal.
In the men’s singles semi-finals, third seed Panyushkin defeated second seed and multiple Deaflympic and European champion Mikael Laurent of France 6-3, 6-1.
In the other semi-final Novelli led reigning Deaflympic champion Gabor Mathe of Hungary 5-1 in the second set of their semi-final before Mathe launched a comeback. However, Novelli dug deep to seal a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory.
The women’s singles semi-finals saw fourth seed Villamandos-Lorenzo upset second seed Ho of Chinese Taipei 7-6(1), 6-0.
Villamandos-Lorenzo will play Hangstefer in Sunday’s women’s final after the American had a walkover. She was due to play German top seed Heike Albrecht in her semi-final, but Albrecht had to withdraw after being unable to recover from an injury sustained earlier in the week.
The first senior World Championships title to be decided was in the mixed doubles competition. Sofia 2013 Deaflympic silver medallists and third seeds Daniel and Emily Hangstefer beat Chinese Taipei’s Chun-Wei Wang and Ho 6-2, 6-1.
The youth mixed doubles gold medal was won by Behr and Ashkenazy, who defeated Alexandre Sanchez of France and Janosikova 8-5.
Organised by the Tennis Foundation, Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, in association with UK Deaf Sport, the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships is sanctioned by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). For more details visit www.worlddeaftennischamps.co.uk.