UNIQLO Doubles Masters | Hewett and Reid victorious in Bemmel
Original photos © Anna Vasalaki Photo edit © Gemma-Louise Stevenson
Britain’s Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett lifted their first UNIQLO Doubles Masters title together on the final day in Bemmel.
We were once again treated to a true classic as Hewett and Reid, this time coming from a set and 2-0 down (they do like their comebacks), came out on top over France’s Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in a three setter – 1-6 6-4 7-5.
It was the ninth meeting of the two pairs this year and this win was Britain’s dynamic duo’s third straight one over the fantastic French pair, having also got the win over them in the final two Grand slams of the year – Wimbledon and the US Open finals.
In the women’s final top seeds Diede de Groot and Marjolein Buis only needed a straight set win to lift their first title together, claiming victory over Aniek van Koot and Sabine Ellerbrock 6-2 6-4.
Missed any of the action – our live updates and analysis are below if you want to catch up or relive any of it.
© Anna Vasalaki
A true classic sees Hewett and Reid lift their first Masters title together
The partnership of Britain’s Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett finish 2017 as UNIQLO Doubles Masters champions after winning their final against France’s Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in three sets 1-6 6-4 7-5.
It marks their fourth doubles title together this year, having already won at Wimbledon, the US Open and the South Africa Open, and their first at this event.
As always it was full of twists, turns and lots of drama, and it seemed fitting that the final face-off between these two pairs in 2017 went the distance.
This final having everything all previous eight meetings have had between the pairs – apart from the tense tie-break, which has featured in a number of their exchanges (not that we wanted you to take us to that Gordon and Alfie – that three setter was about as much as our nerves could handle).
The first set was all about the duo from France and they got off to the best start, dominating and dictating play and taking it in flash 6-1.
And then came the second set, the set that more often than not sees Hewett and Reid go behind even more, before they eventually go on a run and claim it to force a decider.
And today was no different – they went 2-0 down before they then took the next four games seeing them lead for the first time in the match – and after that point they were never behind for the remainder of it.
There were marked differences in the Reid and Hewett performance though in that second set which really helped them comeback, it didn’t just happen and you could see the hard work they were putting in.
Having been kept behind the baseline for much of that first set by Houdet and Peifer they decided to come forward and play attacking rather than defensive tennis – Reid in particular hitting some stunning shots at the net in the second and indeed the third set.
And Hewett’s first serve percentage increased hugely from the second set onwards, seeing him start to hold his service games, something which didn’t happen once in the first set.
We were then into a deciding set and this one was tight and could have gone either way at various points.
But spurred on by their newly found confidence the Brits took the third set 7-5, match and subsequently the 2017 title.
Bringing the curtain down on what has been an incredible five days of tennis in Bemmel in style – ‘Alfie and Gordon Classic’ style.
Not over yet
This deciding set is still very much alive after Houdet holds and then breaks the Hewett serve, a couple of unforced errors costing the Brits in that last game as they went for the shot right on the baseline but each time hitting just marginally long.
We’re at five all and there’s life in this final and final set yet.
In Houdets’s hands again
Once again it’s up to Houdet to keep a set alive – he will serve to stop the Brits taking the set and this time the title.
Reid/Hewett lead 5-3
The duo from France bounce back
The next two games have stayed on serve but they very nearly didn’t.
Houdet was 0-40 down on his service game but then he and Peifer made a comeback of their own and took it to deuce before he held, keeping them within touching distance of the Brits.
Reid/Hewett lead 3-2
Would you like a break?
We’ve just had three of them at the start of this set.
The Brits break, then the French, followed by another break by the Brits – Reid once again sealing the deal with a stunning smash, is there no stopping him at the net today?
Reid/Hewett lead 2-1
We hope you’re sitting comfortably
Because this match is going the distance.
It’s already had more twists, turns and drama than a major blockbuster and there’s still more to come.
Much stronger performance from the Brits – Hewett raising his first serve percentage and even on second serve battering the French duo with brutal force and Reid in simple terms smashing it at the net.
We’ve only seen one three set thriller from these two pairs in a final this year – at Wimbledon – and that went in favour of the Brits after they came from a set down.
But that was a different surface and we must not forget Houdet/Peifer do have the upper hand when on hard courts like those in Bemmel – having won four hard court head-to-heads between the pairs in comparison to the Brits two.
It’s still all to play for in this final.
Who will win – let the decider decide!
Houdet keeps the set alive
By holding his serve.
The danger’s not over for the French duo yet though – Hewett and Reid still lead 5-4 and Houdet and Peifer are going to need to break Reid’s next service game to stop this going to a decider.
Gordon at the net again
Reid’s really hitting well and he ends the game with another stunner at the net – helping Hewett clinch his service game after it went to eight deuces.
Reid/Hewett lead 5-3 and Houdet will serve to keep him and Heifer in this second set
That rally. . . .
Was brilliant and a masterclass on how to chase down a ball from both sides – so many times it looked as though the point was ending and it had only just begun.
Two service holds in the last two games see Reid/Hewett still leading – 4-3
Taking the lead
For the first time in the match, Hewett and Reid have gone on a three game run.
The Brits are always dangerous when they are down and when you start hearing those shouts of “come, on!” from Hewett when they win a point you know you’re in trouble.
Reid has been able to come into the net more and has been hitting some wonderful winners from there.
Although Houdet and Peifer are keeping Hewett from getting too close to the net too much still as they know the damage he can inflict once he gets there.
Reid/Hewett lead 3-2
A set down but still fighting
Much like the first set it was Houdet and Peifer who claimed the first two games – although Houdet had to save a number of break points to hold his serve in that opening game of this second set.
Then needing to break the Peifer serve to avoid going a set and 3-0 down (we’ve seen that scoreline somewhere before) the Brits stepped up their game and got exactly that – the break!
Houdet/Peifer lead 2-1
First set to Team France
Another break and Houdet and Peifer take the first set 6-1 in a flash.
The french duo really dominated play in that first set, forcing Hewett and Reid to play their style of game, keeping them at the baseline most of the time and preventing the Brits getting the space to come into the net as often as we are used to seeing them do.
The second set awaits – we could really do with one of those famous comebacks now Gordon and Alfie.
An unforced error from Reid on that last point sees Houdet/Peifer get another break against the Hewett serve.
Hewett has put some good work in on serve though it’s just not gone his way.
Including at 15-15 powering out a serve right into the corner of the service box that Houdet himself would be proud of.
It’s just that some of the inconsistency we saw in Bath with his new serving style is creeping in a little and his first serve percentage is not high at the minute, giving the French duo the chance to attack the World number two’s second serve.
Houdet/Peifer lead 4-1
Oh and we forgot to mention
There’s usually some amazing rallies between the pairs and we’ve witnessed that already!!!!
The French duo have got off to the stronger starter – testing Hewett who is famous for his ‘never say die’ attitude when it comes to chasing down a ball that many, but not Hewett, may believe is impossible to get on the end of – breaking early then consolidating.
Reid keeps the Brits nipping at their heels though and only one game behind by holding his serve.
Houdet/Peifer lead 2-1
Are you ready for this?
Get ready because it’s on it’s way for the final time in 2017
It’s GB vs France
It’s Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett vs Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer
We can’t call who’ll win it but we can say it’s going to be a great match that decides.
In a tie that has come to define the men’s doubles draw when it comes to the 2017 UNIQLO wheelchair tennis tour this will be the ninth time we see the four players battle it out on court together in a final.
Their previous eight meetings in finals this year have ended in five matches going in the French tour-de-force’s favour and three in the dynamic duo from Great Britain’s.
Reid and Hewett have claimed the last two victories though – coming out on top at both Wimbledon and the US Open
And surprisingly given Reid and Hewett’s love of giving us three set thrillers only one of these eight head-to-heads has been decided by a deciding set – the others have all been done and dusted in straight sets – we’ve had a lot of tie-breaks though!
© Anna Vasalaki
De Groot and Buis lift their first doubles Masters title together
And they great the break to lift the title.
De Groot and Buis come out on top against van Koot an Ellerbrock in straight sets.
The win sees them lift their first doubles title at the UNIQLO Doubles Masters tournament together.
De Groot and Buis dominated play for much of the first set, van Koot and Ellerbrock struggling to get past the top seeds, letting them play their own game – finishing off points quickly and the eventual runners-up racking up a number of unforced errors.
The second set was a much more competitive affair and the German/Dutch duo of van Koot and Ellerbrock led twice in the set – both times breaking the De Groot serve to do so – most definitely not an easy thing to do.
But top seeds de Groot and Buis took their chance at four all in the second set winning the last two games, the second set and the title.
Van Koot will serve….
To keep her and Ellerbrock in this second set and final.
They were once again up on the de Groot serve but the top seeds fought back to deuce and once there took the next two points and de Groot’s first hold of this set.
De Groot/Buis lead 5-4
Another break and this time a consolidation
Again of the de Groot serve, van Koot/Ellerbrock keeping themselves just one game behind the top seeds to stop them running away with it like they did in the first set.
It’s the first time over this tournament we’ve really seen de Groot feel a lot of pressure on her serve – Buis tending to be the player in the top seeded duo who opponents have broken more easily and more often.
That said de Groot is not letting her service games go easily and she and Buis are fighting to stay in every point – van Koot/Ellerbrock seem to have really re-grouped in this set though and found the formula to pile the pressure on the World number two’s serve.
Van Koot follows it up with a hold to consolidate and we are level at three all in the second set.
The first bit of pressure placed on the de Groot serve
De Groot’s other two service games in this match have been relatively straightforward but van Koot/Ellerbrock have definitely come out in this second set determined not to let the top seeds dominate again.
They get three break points on the de Groot serve – two were saved, de Groot/Buis bringing it straight back to deuce with some clever shots, but they took their opportunity on the third to get the early break in this set.
The top seeds determined not to let the start of this set slip away from them though break back immediately to level it up.
Buis then holds to put the top seeds back in the lead once more.
De Groot/Buis lead 2-1
Game and first set
Ellerbrock was not able to hold off de Groot/Buis continuing their run of games, which now totals four and the top seeds get the break and the set 6-2.
De Groot and Buis very much dominated the latter part of that set, putting pressure on their opponents to hit those winners which has unfortunately seen van Koot/Ellerbrock make a number of unforced errors and that has been what has cost them in this first set.
Onto the second now – can van Koot and Ellerbrock regroup and go again or will we see de Groot/Buis add to their four game run?
We have a break
And it’s the top seeds that get it.
A couple of unforced errors creeping into van Koot’s game coupled with de Groot piling on the pressure from the other side of the net to try and shorten those rallies seeing her lose that service game.
Then de Groot/Buis consolidate the break with another hold.
Once again Buis has another deuce to deal with on her serve but once again she deals with it swiftly.
Ellerbrock must now hold her serve to keep her and van Koot in this first set.
De Groot/Buis lead 5-2
We’re on serve so far in the final.
A strong service hold from de Groot was then followed by two tougher service holds for van Koot and Buis.
Van Koot was 40-15 up at one point but a double fault let de Groot/Buis in and we were taken to deuce before van Koot took it.
And the third game of the match went to deuce also, this time with Buis 40-0 up on her serve and looking to be on her way to getting a love service hold.
But van Koot/Ellerbrock found their way back into that game just like the top seeds had previously taking it to deuce
Then Buis raised her game slightly and took the next two points and the third game.
De Groot/Buis lead 2-1
The women’s final has begun
It’s the long standing partnership of Diede de Groot and Marjolein Buis against first-time partnership of Aniek van Koot and Sabine Ellerbrock.
Who will come out on top.
Let this final decide……
It’s men’s and women’s finals day
And we’ll start the day like we’ve begun all the others – letting you know the order of play courtesy of the ITF
— Wheelchair Tennis (@ITFWheelchair) November 26, 2017