Brits Alfie Hewett, Gordon Reid and Andy Lapthorne produced two fantastic performances between them on Thursday’s first day of US Open wheelchair competition, with Hewett and Reid reaching their third successive men’s doubles final at the last Grand Slam of the year.
We just did everything that we try to do normally, but just that bit better (today). We all enjoy these types of matches and this sort of environments Gordon Reid
With Hewett and Reid bidding for a hat-trick of doubles titles in New York, they sped to a 6-0, 6-3 victory over French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer on a highly successful day for players on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme.
In a rematch of the last two men’s doubles finals Hewett and Reid dropped just four points in the first four games against Houdet and Peifer and Hewett fired a backhand winner to wrap up the first set in just 24 minutes, the Brits having dropped a total of just eight points.
The second set proved somewhat tougher, with the first three games taking longer than the entire first set. However, three-time Wimbledon champions Hewett and Reid broke Peifer to move 5-3 ahead and Hewett served out the match after firing an unreturnable forehand at Peifer.
With Hewett and Reid now set to face French Open champions Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina and Shingo Kunieda of Japan in the final, Reid said:
“We’ve put a lot of work into the last three or four months, specifically as a team, to try and improve a few things in our game and I was just saying to Alfie that it’s great when it all comes together. We just did everything that we try to do normally, but just that bit better (today). We all enjoy these types of matches and this sort of environments.”
Hewett added. “It brings a lot of confidence when there’s so many great memories to take from this place. I always get excited to come back, whether it’s singles or whether it’s on the court with Gordon. We’ve won it both times we’ve been here together, so to reach another doubles final is something we’re both really, really proud of.”
Hewett and Reid begin their singles campaigns on Friday, Hewett opening his US Open title defence with a rematch of last year’s final against Kunieda, while Reid faces Houdet.
The first of three days of round-robin matches in the quad singles saw world No.3 Lapthorne secure back-to-back wins in Grand Slam competition over world No. 2 David Wagner of the USA.
After beating Wagner to reach the inaugural Wimbledon quad singles final in July, 2014 US Open champion Lapthorne put up a brilliant performance as he raced to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over the American for his most comprehensive victory over Wagner in 62 career matches and 17 match wins.
Lapthorne, who broke Wagner’s serve to love to complete victory in just 59 minutes, having won more than twice as many points as his opponent, said:
“It’s a great day for me. All the hard work from training is paying off and translating onto the match court. I’m really pleased to start with a win and I’m looking forward to giving it everything tomorrow against Dylan on a big court.”
Lapthorne now faces his doubles partner, world No.1 Dylan Alcott of Australia, in his second round-robin match on Louis Armstrong Stadium on Louis Armstrong Stadium on Friday. The top two players after three days of round-robin competition will advance to Sunday’s quad singles final.