London | Hewett and Reid to contest wheelchair final
Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid will make history on Sunday when they contest the first ever wheelchair tennis ranking tournament final at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club in London.
I don’t think my level was as high as it was yesterday, but I definitely played some good tennis and I thought I did well to stick in there and win the points that mattered. It was good, I enjoyed it Alfie Hewett
Reid put up a resilient performance to recover and beat two-time Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in Saturday’s semi-finals, inflicting the Swede’s first defeat on the capital’s grass-courts since 2016. Meanwhile, Hewett came out best in blustery conditions to beat fellow Brit Dermot Bailey 6-2, 6-3 in the other semi-final.
Hewett and Reid will also contest the men’s doubles final against top seeds Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson.
Reid broke Olsson’s serve to love in the first game of his semi-final as he raced to a 3-0 lead, but in a match in which the momentum shifts were many and sudden, Olsson, the winner of last year’s exhibition singles event at the Fever-Tree Championships, came back to snatch the opening set.
However, Reid upped his levels of aggressive play and consistency in the second set and took full advantage of a 4-0 lead, serving an ace on his second set point to force the decider.
Reid then came from 2-0 down and won the points that mattered at the business end of the match to prevail after two hours and nine minutes of enthralling action.
The only player to have now beaten Olsson over the course of three Wimbledon Championships and two Fever-Tree Championships, Reid said: “I thought it was a good match, there were a lot of ups and downs, a lot of changes in momentum. On grass for us the points are a lot shorter. The serve and return is really important so it was a case of who was the partnership that was the better serve and returner won most of the points. I thought it was a good match overall. It was great to have a good crowd out there, they really enjoyed it as well, so it was fun to be a part of a match like that.”
Reid, who became the inaugural Wimbledon men’s singles champion in 2016 when beating Olsson in the final, added: “I was moving better today but I think that was more just the case of getting used to the grass and physically just working a little bit harder to position myself better today.”
British No.3 Bailey went into his match against world No.3 Hewett having not beaten the US Open champion since 2011, when both players were juniors. However, Bailey opened with a confident service game and extended Hewett on numerous occasions before Hewett wrapped up the opening set.
Bailey threatened to build on a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Hewett’s consistency carried him through to his straight sets victory.
Hewett, who was a semi-finalist alongside Reid in the singles exhibition event at the Fever-Tree Championships in 2018, said: “The opportunity to be playing here at Queen’s yesterday brought such a high standard from me. It’s always a new day, you never know what to expect. I don’t think my level was as high as it was yesterday, but I definitely played some good tennis and I thought I did well to stick in there and win the points that mattered. It was good, I enjoyed it!
“I’ve known Dermot ever since the juniors. We’ve grown up together, playing each other in tournaments. Today it was tricky – I think I did well to deal with his leftie serve and it prepares me well for (Reid’s leftie serve) tomorrow.”
Hewett and Reid, runners-up in the men’s doubles in the exhibition tournament last year, reached this year’s final with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over French duo Frederic Cattaneo and Gaetan Menguy.
Sunday’s doubles final will see reigning Wimbledon and US Open champions Hewett and Reid take on Australian Open champions Joachim Gerard and Olsson after the Belgian-Swedish top seeds won their semi-final against Bailey and Gaetan Menguy of France 6-1, 6-0.