Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett added to their growing list of historic achievements on Friday when they guaranteed that there will be a Brit in Sunday’s US Open wheelchair tennis men’s singles final
Reid and Hewett will go head-to-head in Saturday’s semi-final, the first time that two Brits from the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme have contested a Grand Slam singles semi-final. Later in the day Reid and Hewett will be on the same side of the net when they contest the men’s doubles final.
One year and one week on from meeting in the Rio Paralympic men’s singles gold medal match, the two Brits both won three-set quarter-finals in New York as world No. 2 Reid reached his second US Open singles semi-final since 2013 and world No.3 Hewett booked his place in the last four on his debut at the final Grand Slam of the year.
Reid made his US Open debut in 2013 with a quarter-final victory over Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Gerard was on the other side of the net again on Friday as Reid earned a 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Despite earning an immediate break of serve Reid narrowly dropped the first set tie-break, but he came from behind to serve out the second set to love. Thereafter he dominated the deciding set to seal victory after two hours and 15 minutes.
“I’m very happy to come through a tough match against Jo today. Sometimes, to get the win it’s more about the desire rather than the quality of the tennis and that was the case in the final set today,” said Reid.
“There were definitely positives to take forward from the match into the semi tomorrow against Alfie, which will be a great occasion and one that I can’t wait for.”
Hewett came from 3-1 down to level both of the first two sets of his quarter-final against former world No.1 and six-time US Open champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan at 4-4. Hewett saved four set points in the opening set before going on to serve out the second set and force the decider.
The 19-year-old Roland Garros champion then forged into a 5-2 lead in the deciding set before wrapping up a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
“I’m really happy to be in my first US Open singles semi. Shingo played well and it was hard to break him down. He’s a great competitor and athlete, so it was always going to be a tough match,” said Hewett.
“I found a way to get back into the match after losing the first and being 3-1 down. I’m happy how I fought, I didn’t feel like it was one of my best matches, but I dug deep so I’m very pleased with that.”
Reid and Hewett also meet top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in Saturday’s men’s doubles final as they bid to follow up their victories over the French duo in the last two Wimbledon finals.
Saturday’s penultimate day of play in New York holds plenty of British interest with Andy Lapthorne also partnering American David Wagner in the quad doubles final. Three-time Australian Open champions Lapthorne and Wagner play Australian Dylan Alcott and the USA’s Bryan Barten for the US Open title.
Lapthorne also maintains hopes of reaching Sunday’s quad singles final despite losing out to world No. 1 Wagner on Friday in the second of his three round-robin matches. Wagner won 6-2, 6-4 and with 2014 US Open champion Lapthorne having beaten Alcott on Thursday’s opening day of wheelchair tennis competition he will now face Barten.
The top two players after the completion of the round-robin phase of the competition will go through to Sunday’s final.
“It was a frustrating match today and I put too many balls down the middle of the court. It was a big ask after yesterday’s result against Dylan, but it’s time to recharge and go again tomorrow in the hope of making the final,” said Lapthorne.
Meanwhile, Lucy Shuker’s 25th career Grand Slam and her third US Open came to an end on Friday when she lost out to world No.1 Yui Kamiji of Japan 6-1, 6-0 in their women’s singles quarter-final.