Friday, 07 June 2019 10:47

Gordon in French semis

Written by Marshall Thomas


HELENSBURGH'S Gordon Reid and team-mate Alfie Hewett both booked a place in a Grand Slam singles semi-final for the first time since the 2017 US Open yesterday after they triumphed on the opening day of wheelchair tennis action at the French Open.

Hewett beat world no.3 Stephane Houdet of France 6-2, 7-6(4), while Reid earned a steely 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over world no.4 Joachim Gerard of Belgium on a remarkable day for the top two men’s players on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme.

Gordon, the mens singles runner-up in Paris in 2016, gathered some welcome momentum to break Gerard’s serve and lead 4-3 in the second set of his quarter-final. He carried the momentum into the final set and could do little wrong as he opened a 3-0 cushion. The Rio Paralympic champion dropped just one point in the final two games, with Gerard serving up a double fault on match point.

The 27-year-old now plays defending champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan.

Former Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Gordon said: I feel quite drained. It was quite a tense match — I was nervous going in, and my timing was a bit off in the first set, while he was serving and returning well. I’m glad I found my way into it in the second set, scrapping a bit, and in the third set I played some good tennis.

“Shingo’s no.1 in the world right now, and he’s back to what I would say is his best form. He’s always a tough opponent to play against, but I know I can beat him — I’ve beaten him in the past, and I’ve got the game to beat him. I’ll go away, prepare, and try and do that.”

With Hewett and Reid in opposite halves of the draw, an all-Brit singles final remains a possibility. Meanwhile, today’s second day of play in Paris also sees Hewett and Reid bid to reach the mens doubles final together.

The three-time Wimbledon and two-time US Open champions play their singles semi-final opponents Fernandez and Kunieda in their doubles semi-final. Hewett and Reid have played Fernandez and Reid in five Grand Slam doubles semi-finals since 2017 and have so far won each one.