Tennis: Oda wins Aussie Open wheelchair title, Sakamoto junior champ

Tokito Oda won his third Grand Slam wheelchair tennis singles title, while another 17-year-old Japanese player, Rei Sakamoto, took the junior boys' singles crown at the Australian Open on Saturday.

In their respective finals, Oda defeated Britain's Alfie Hewett 6-2, 6-4, while Sakamoto came from a set down to beat Jan Kumstat of the Czech Republic 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 at Melbourne Park.

Oda got off to a brilliant start to the Paris Paralympic year, converting four of 11 break points.

"I was able to play aggressively," the left-hander said. "I was able to do what I wanted to do on the court. I'm happy with both my first Australian Open championship and my return to the top of the world rankings."

Oda has emerged as Japan's next wheelchair tennis star following Shingo Kunieda's retirement in January 2023, having won both the French Open and Wimbledon last year.

Meanwhile, Sakamoto became only the second Japanese junior boys' champion of a Grand Slam event and the first since Shintaro Mochizuki won Wimbledon in 2019.

"In Japan, people in the areas hit by a major earthquake on New Year's Day are still struggling," Sakamoto said. "What I can do as an athlete is bring positive news. I'm glad I won."

Also on Saturday, Diede De Groot of the Netherlands defeated Japan's Yui Kamiji 7-5, 6-4 in the women's wheelchair singles final.

© Kyodo News