Saturday, 28 August 2021 17:44

Gordon in third round

Written by Marshall Thomas

RIO MENS singles gold and silver medallists Gordon Reid from Helensburgh and Alfie Hewett eased into the third round of the Tokyo 2020 wheelchair tennis competition on Saturday’s second of nine days of play.

With extreme heat causing a delay to matches on the outside courts at the Ariake Tennis Park for the second day in a row, Gordon made a confident start to his Paralympic mens singles title defence, defeating South Africa’s Leon Els 6-2, 6-0 under the cover of the roof on centre court. After his first round bye, he made it three wins from three matches against Els.

Gordon said: “It feels great, it’s been a long preparation, so to finally get on the match court and get the competition underway is really nice.

"Because of the heat the last couple of days I’ve trained indoors, anyway, but hopefully we can get the roof open later in the week.” 

"This year I’m maybe more one of the underdogs. I think there are a couple of players who have had better years than me and are more the favourites, but I think that suits me.

"I think it’s a bad idea for anyone to write me off. Being here at the Games and having won those big medal matches before gives me the confidence that I can do it again.”  

Doubles partner Alfie opened his bid to reach a second successive Paralympic mens singles final with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Poland’s Kamil Fabisiak.

On Sunday a ratio of 20 winners to their opponents two summed up the dominance of Rio men’s doubles silver medallists Alfie and Gordon as they powered past Austria’s Thomas Flax and Nico Langmann 6-0, 6-0.

Alfie expertly and calmly picked up a forehand at the net to seal a 51-minute victory for the 12-time Grand Slam doubles champions, who will face now Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Jef Vandorpe in their quarter-final.  

Gordon said: “It was a good first match for us. They made quite a lot of balls, so we got a good feel for centre court together. They were nice conditions and it was good to get out there and experience what it’s like to play on that court.

"I thought we performed well. We’re moving well and it’s a good starting place to develop from.” 

Alfie added: “Playing the Belgians will be an extremely tough match. We’ve played against them a few times now and so we know who we’re coming up against and it means we are going to need to be playing some of our best tennis to get through them.”