Friday, 07 June 2019 17:34

Gordon in French final

Written by Marshall Thomas

HELENSBURGH'S Gordon Reid produced a sensational comeback in blustery conditions at Roland Garros today to reach his second French Open mens singles final.

He beat world no.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan 2-6, 7-6(2) 6-2 and will now face Argentina’s world no.2 Gustavo Fernandez in tomorrow’s final.

In a rematch of his 2018 semi-final in Paris against Kunieda, Gordon narrowly missed out in a succession of long and close games in the opening set.

Although he broke the defending champion’s serve at the start of the second set it was not until the tie-break that the world no.8 started to show signs of getting on top with a series of clinical points that earned him a 5-0 lead.

After earning the first hold of the final set to take a 3-1 lead he never looked back and broke Kunieda to love for 4-1. A crisp forehand winner set up match point and after two hours and 45 minutes Kunieda sprayed a service return wide to send Gordon into his fourth Grand Slam singles final.

The 2016 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion said: I think yesterday — beating world no.3 Stephane Houdet in the quarter-final) — almost took it out of me more, emotionally. Today I was more focused and a little more calm, so I don’t feel as drained as I did yesterday.

"I’ve played in wind nearly as bad, or worse, but it was difficult today when the clay is going in your eyes half the time. It was tough, but I used the wind to my advantage and it became a weapon for me rather than a hindrance.

I wasn’t taking my opportunities on the bigger points at the start of the match, but as the match went on I became more clinical with my depth. I got more depth on my ground strokes and my serve and return were more solid and were going into areas he doesn’t like, so it was a combination of all those things.”

Gordon will play Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez, conqueror today of Alfie Hewett, in a French Open final for the second time. Fernandez won their meeting in the title decider in Paris in 2016.

A second British win on the day proved elusive as three-time Wimbledon and two-time US Open champions Hewett and Reid bowed out to Fernandez and Kunieda 6-2, 7-5, despite having beaten them in all five of their previous Grand Slam doubles semis.


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