Paris | Reid beats the Wheelchair World No1.
Brit Gordon Reid produced a sensational comeback in blustery conditions at Roland Garros today to reach his second French Open men’s singles final. Reid beat world No.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan 2-6 7-6(2) 6-2 and will now face Argentina’s world No. 2 Gustavo Fernandez in Saturday’s final
“I’ve played in wind nearly as bad, or worse, but it was difficult today when the clay is going in your eyes half the time. It was tough, but I used the wind to my advantage and it became a weapon for me rather than a hindrance Gordon Reid
In a rematch of his 2018 semi-final in Paris against Kunieda, Reid narrowly missed out in a succession of long and close games in the opening set. Although Reid broke the defending champion’s serve at the start of the second set it wasn’t until the tie-break that the world No. 8 started to show signs of getting on top with a series of clinical points that earned him a 5-0 lead.
After earning the first hold of the final set to take a 3-1 lead Reid never looked back and broke Kunieda to love for 4-1. A crisp forehand winner set up match point and after two hours and 45 minutes Kunieda sprayed a service return wide to send Reid into his fourth Grand Slam singles final.
After his first victory, 2016 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Reid said:
“I think yesterday (beating world No. 3 Stephane Houdet in his quarter-final) almost took it out of me more, emotionally. Today I was more focused and a little more calm, so I don’t feel as drained as I did yesterday.
“I’ve played in wind nearly as bad, or worse, but it was difficult today when the clay is going in your eyes half the time. It was tough, but I used the wind to my advantage and it became a weapon for me rather than a hindrance.”
Friday’s victory gave Reid his first win over Kunieda since the 2018 Japan Open final. He added:
“I wasn’t taking my opportunities on the bigger points (at the start of the match), but as the match went on I became more clinical with my depth. I got more depth on my ground strokes and my serve and return were more solid and were going into areas he doesn’t like, so it was a combination of all those things.”
The day’s other men’s semi-final also featured a British player. However, world No.5 Alfie Hewett was unable to launch the kind of comeback that saw him recover from a set and 2-0 down to beat Fernandez in the 2017 French Open final and the Argentinian won through 6-1, 6-2.
Reid will therefore play Fernandez in a French Open final for the second time. Fernandez won their meeting in the title decider in Paris in 2016.
All four singles semi-finalists also lined up against each other in the men’s doubles semi-finals. However, a second British win on the day proved elusive as three-time Wimbledon and two-time US Open champions Hewett and Reid bowed out to Fernandez and Kunieda 6-2, 7-5. Hewett and Reid went into the contest having beaten Fernandez and Kunieda in all five of their previous Grand Slam doubles semis.