Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid created British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships history on Thursday after the Rio Paralympic gold and silver medallists set up the first all-British men’s singles semi-final to guarantee that there will be a Brit in Sunday’s Super Series final at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
British players secured a clean sweep of wins on the third day of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour Super Series event, organised by the Tennis Foundation, after second seeds Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne also reached Saturday’s quad doubles final.
World No. 2 Reid, already twice a finalist in Nottingham, booked his place in the last four this year with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 victory over French sixth seed Nicolas Peifer.
“It was even more difficult conditions than yesterday. It was quite blustery at times, it was a little bit cold and a little bit drizzly, but I thought I played some pretty good tennis in the third set. Nico started to be a little more consistent in the second set and I wasn’t missing by much, but it didn’t matter in the end and I was reading the ball better in the third set and used the wind to my advantage, too,” said reigning Paralympic champion Reid.
Hewett, who is at a career best world No.3 ranking for the first time this week, came from 5-2 down and two set points down to wrap up a 7-6(4), 7-6(3) victory over 2013 British Open champion Joachim Gerard of Belgium in his semi-final.
“I’m not sure how I got to be 5-2 down as I didn’t feel like Jo was doing to much on the court, but then I won eight straight points and that gave me the confidence to fight back and then save the two set points at 5-4,” said Hewett. “It’s great for everyone here to have an all-Brit semi-final and a Brit guaranteed to be in the final, I just need to do all I can now to make sure that it is me.”
The other men’s singles semi-final will see world No. 1 and Wimbledon runner-up Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina take on reigning British Open champion Stephane Houdet of France.
Fernandez kept himself on course for a possible first British Open title after earning a thrilling 6-2, 0-6, 7-5 win over five-time British Open champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan, recovering from 4-2 down in the final set.
Houdet maintains his hopes of a third successive British Open title after ending the winning sequence in Britain this summer of Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson of Sweden. Third seed Houdet clinched their quarter-final 7-5, 6-2.
Cotterill and Lapthorne ensured that there will be a British pairing in Saturday’s quad doubles final after beating Australian Heath Davidson and South Africa’s Lucas Sithole 6-4, 6-2.
“We’ve been on something of a roll since winning the Doubles Masters in the USA in November and have only lost the one match since then, at the French Open Super Series in June, so it’s nice to be back in another Super Series final and our first together here at the British Open,” said Lapthorne. “We’ve got a great partnership and will be all out to win in front of the home crowd on Saturday.”
Cotterill and Lapthorne will play American top seeds Bryan Barten and David Wagner in the final after Barten and Wagner’s 6-1, 7-5 win over Greg Hasterok and Ymanitu Silva.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s women’s doubles final will see Dutch top seeds and Rio Paralympic silver medallists Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot take on the second seeds, Dana Mathewson of the USA and Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa.
Tickets are available on the gate at Nottingham Tennis Centre all week. Entry is free for children, with adult tickets priced just £2 for a weekday ground pass and £5 for a Saturday or Sunday (finals weekend) ground pass. For more details, or to purchase tickets online in advance, visit www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/britishopen.
Photo courtesy of the Tennis Foundation