Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid reach Roland Garros finals
Alfie Hewett will bid to make history on Saturday when he attempts to become the first British player to win the men’s singles wheelchair tennis title at Roland Garros.
On what will be another big day for players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme, Hewett will also partner Gordon Reid in the men’s doubles final. The Wimbledon champions will bid to become the first all-Brit partnership to win a wheelchair doubles title in Paris.
Hewett will play defending champion Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina after reaching his first Grand Slam singles final. The Rio Paralympic silver medallist secured his first career win over former world No.1 and six-time Roland Garros champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan in the semi-finals, beating Kunieda 6-4, 6-4.
Hewett was the first player to consolidate a break, taking a 4-2 advantage. Kunieda levelled the set, but at 5-4 up Hewett created a string of set point opportunities before finally converting to take the lead. Nineteen-year-old Hewett led the second 2-0 before Kunieda again levelled up. However, the Brit was never behind and closed out on his first match point after an hour and 36 minutes.
“Today was another tough day, as I expected. Shingo played well and made me really push for the win. It was a very close one and thankfully I was able to hold serve at 5-4 on both occasions,” said Hewett.
“It’s a great feeling to get to my first Grand Slam final. I didn’t think I would get this far. I’m going to give it my all against Gustavo tomorrow and I expect another very strong opponent.”
Hewett and Reid broke the broke the deadlock towards the end of the first set of their doubles semi-final against Fernandez and Maikel Scheffers of the Netherlands to win the last three games. They subsequently recovered from 3-1 down in the deciding match tie-break to beat Fernandez and Scheffers to match point before wrapping up a 6-4, 3-6, (10-8) victory.
“To get back on court and win the doubles in a tight match was really pleasing. With the home French crowd tomorrow supporting Stephane and Nico, I’m sure that the final will be another great match,” added Hewett.
Second seeds Hewett and Reid will face French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in the final in a rematch of last year’s final at SW19 and the Rio Paralympic men’s doubles final.
In her first tournament back in competition since recovering from injury, Jordanne Whiley’s hopes of adding a third Roland Garros doubles title came to an end in the semi-finals.
The first-time partnership of Whiley and Diede de Groot of the Netherlands lost out to second seeds Marjolein Buis and Yui Kamiji 7-5, 6-1.