Jordanne Whiley has spent the last several months working on the mental side of her game, hoping to exchange what is often frustration with a much more relaxed approach.
The 21-year-old from Great Britain had every opportunity to let anger get the best of her in Sunday's Women's Open singles final at the Professional Tennis Registry $17,500 Wheelchair Championships. She dropped three straight second-set games against top-ranked Lucy Shuker, trailing 5-4 in the process, and appeared to surrender any momentum she had with it.
"Maybe six months ago I would have been, 'Oh my God, I'm doing terrible,'" Whiley said. "I'd get really nervy. I was just like, 'You know what, keep calm. I'm on the shady end. Just play like I know I can play, because then I know I win.'"
She turned that relaxed approach into her latest victory, a 6-2, 7-5 upset win over Shuker to claim the title and $1,000 in winnings. She won the final three games after trailing 5-4, showcasing her latest payoff for a newfound outlook on wheelchair tennis.
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"I've just been working really hard at home," she said. "I've got a new coach and I've been changing my game a little bit. Basically the main thing was to keep calm and have fun, and just try out all my shots.
"I think that because I was so relaxed I was just pulling off all my shots."
She took control of the final early on against Shuker, who was going for her fourth title in five years at the event. The top-seeded female found herself at a disadvantage with Whiley's surprising speed and only compounded things with several serving faults.
"She knows that she's very quick and I'm not as quick as her," Shuker said. "I think at the end of the day, we both compete really well. She just hit far better balls than I did today. I made too many unforced errors, unfortunately."
While Shuker was unable to defend her title, the task wasn't so hard for men's open champion Gordon Reid. The Scot, ranked No. 6 in the world, took down fourth-seeded Marc McCarroll 7-5, 6-3 to claim his fifth consecutive championship in the event.
The 19-year-old Reid was truly tested for the first time this weekend, as he had won all four previous matches in straight sets -- with none closer than a 6-2 decision.
PTR $17,500 Wheelchair Championships
Sunday, at Chaplin Park and Hilton Head Island Motorcoach, Hilton Head Island
Men's Wheelchair Open Singles
(1) Gordon Reid def. (4) Marc McCarroll 7-5, 6-3
(1) Carlos Santos def. (2) Mauricio Pomme 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Men's Wheelchair A Singles
(1) Daniel Lachman def. (3) Larry Keeter, 6-1, 6-0
Mark Jenkinson def. Mike Sells 6-3, 6-2
Men's Wheelchair B Singles
(3) Jerry Vaughan def. (2) Stu Contant 7-6 (3), 6-3
Casey Ratzlaff def. (4) Wayne Bennett 6-1, 6-0
Women's Wheelchair Open Singles
(2) Jordanne Whiley def. (1) Lucy Shuker 6-2, 7-5
(1) Macarena Cabrillana def. (2) Katherine Stuteville 6-2, 6-4
Women's Wheelchair Open Doubles
(1) Shuker/Whiley def. Baron/Kaiser 6-0, 3-6, 6-1
Quad Wheelchair Open SIngles
(3) Bryan Barten def. (2) David Buck 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-4
Quad Wheelchair Open Doubles
(1) Buck/Hasterok def. Barten/Jordan 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Junior Wheelchair Open/A Singles
(1) Chris Herman def. (2) Casey Ratzlaff 6-1, 6-3