The 34-year-old maestro Kunieda lifted his 22nd Grand Slam singles title - and a men’s record 42nd in total - with a 7-6(5) 6-0 victory over his Argentinian doubles partner and former Roland-Garros winner Gustavo Fernandez.
The triumph came after an epic first set in which Fernandez provided remarkable resistance before he eventually succumbed in a tiebreak after 85 minutes. With his pal’s spirit broken, Kunieda then ‘bagelled’ him just another 22 minutes to land his first title here since 2015.
When it was suggested to him that he had once again underlined his position as the Nadal of wheelchair tennis at Roland-Garros and could be in line to go on and win 10 titles himself, Kunieda laughed: “Rafa has won more than me but if I keep playing, I will try!”
Having won the Australian Open already this year, the man from Tokyo who has reinvented himself since overcoming a series of injuries, undergoing elbow surgery and changing his backhand technique, is back to something like his peerless best as he now targets the prospect of completing a calendar Grand Slam.
“Now, I just go for Wimbledon, which is the last one that I haven’t won, so I really want it,” said Kunieda, whose win ensures that he will be back to world No.1 when next week’s rankings are published.