Tennis: Kamiji loses Australian Open women's wheelchair final

©Kyodo News

Japan's Yui Kamiji was unable to defend her Australian Open title Wednesday in the women's wheelchair singles final, losing a three-set thriller to world No. 1 Diede De Groot of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(4).

Having split the first two sets, the Japanese second seed and De Groot traded the lead in the third-set tie-breaker before the top seed produced four forehand winners to emerge victorious in 2 hours, 20 minutes.

"It's always fun playing against her," said Kamiji, who won her fourth French Open wheelchair singles title in October, just one month after losing to De Groot in the U.S. Open final.

The 26-year-old ended a seven-match losing streak against De Groot earlier this month at the Melbourne Open.

"Unfortunately I wasn't able to play the way I wanted to, but I'm happy with the way I performed today," she said.

De Groot, who claimed back-to-back singles crowns at the Australian Open in 2018 and 2019, won the women's wheelchair doubles title alongside Dutch partner Aniek Van Koot at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

Kamiji has won the singles title twice, in 2017 and 2020, and the doubles crown five times, in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020.