MIRAFLORES — There were three matches on the docket today for Team USA at Wheelchair Tennis.
In the first match, Daniel Rodriegues of Brazil took on Casey Ratzlaff of the United States. After winning the first game for Brazil, Rodriegues dropped the next two to Ratzlaff giving the United States a lead in the first set. Rodriegues would then come back and win the next four, coming back strong 6-2, winning the first set..
Ratzlaff took Rodriegues for a ride, winning three games in the second set. Though, before you knew it, the Brazilian took control and finished off the United States. It was in 6-3 after Rodriegues won four games in a row, sweeping the U.S. tennis athlete.
The next match was the women’s doubles with the team of Emmy Kaiser and Dana Mathewson. Mathewson already took home a bronze medal earlier this week by coming back from two games down in the second set to defeat her doubles partner. However, now was the time for them to come together for the sake of the red, white, and blue and in this case, gold. They would take on the Columbian team of Angelica Bernal and Johana Martinez.
In the first set, the women of the United States would go up 3-2, but the Columbians would tie it up at three games a piece. They would never transfer power over to the Columbians and before you knew it, the team of Kaiser/Mathewson was one set away from a gold medal, winning the first 6-3.
Like the second set itself, the score would volley back and forth between the two teams. At one point, Bernal/Martinez were up by two, 5-4… but then as Yogi Berra would say, “It’s deja vu all over again.”
“I think for me, this whole tournament has been about resistance because there have been times that I have really been down. It was to the point where I was like, ‘okay, we’re gonna win this now’ because I have a teammate now.” said Mathewson.
The tandem of Mathewson and Kaiser would bounce right back into it, tying the score at 5-5, then in a fashion that Mathewson knows all too well, her tandem would pull away from the competition. Finishing the match by winning the second set as well, 7-5.
“For me it’s trying to keep confidence throughout the whole match is really hard for me, in singles and doubles. If I miss something [Dana Mathewson] is always there. It’s goodness, just make sure to do what your goal is, regardless of whether you miss it before, so you don’t back off of it. And we wanted to play the way that we play”, said Emmy Kaiser as she continued, “We wanted to be the ones who make it happen.”
After the awards ceremony it was time for the third match of the day, Canada’s Robert Shaw vs. USA’s David Wagner in the Men’s Quad Final match. Gold was in the sights for one of these gentlemen.
In the first set, Shaw took an early 3-0 lead and then proceeded to light up Wagner like the Northern lights winning the first set 6-1.
After going up 4-0 Shaw was ready to put the final touches on this match and a new gold medal. However, coming crawling back was David Wagner giving the Canadian hell, getting the next three games and putting the score at 4-3 in the second set. Alas, Shaw was too much for Wagner who would drop the last two sets and ultimately, the match losing 6-3. Wagner, with head held high, grabbed the silver medal. He commented after the medal ceremony,
“It’s always an honor to play for the United States of America. That’s what we live for and train for. I am always honored to do that whether it’s here or there or the Paralympics or whatever it is,” said Wagner.
In addition to Wagner, the medal ceremony had another Team USA Men’s Quad representative, Bryan Barton who placed bronze in the tournament on Thursday.
“It’s nice to have that extra hardware around my neck, that’s what I train for“ Barton said, brandishing his new bronze.
With all these medalists, United States Wheelchair tennis team certainly caused a racquet at Lima 2019.
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