Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid will bid for a fourth successive Wimbledon gentlemen’s wheelchair doubles title on Saturday after beating French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 6-3, 2-6 7-6(4) on Friday in a thrilling semi-final at The Championships.
We’ve been able to spend more time on court as a team over the last couple of weeks and the confidence from that made all the difference today Gordon Reid
After taking a 3-1 first set lead, five-time Grand Slam doubles champions Hewett and Reid claimed the last three games of the opening set, but needed to find all their powers of recovery after dropping the last five games of the second set.
However, recover they did to earn their first match point at 5-3 up in the decider before Houdet and Peifer forced the final set tie-break.
With Hewett and Reid having beaten Houdet and Peifer in a final set tie-breaks in both the 2016 and 2017 Wimbledon finals, they made it three victories in four years in similar circumstances after taking a commanding 4-0 lead in Friday’s tie-break.
With Hewett and Reid securing their first victory over Houdet and Peifer in three matches this season a jubilant Reid, said: “We’ve been able to spend more time on court as a team over the last couple of weeks and the confidence from that made all the difference today. On top of that there’s the atmosphere from just playing here in front of a home crowd and how much that helps us, too.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s final, in which Hewett and Reid will face Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson of Sweden for the second year in a row, Hewett said: “We played them here in the final last year and we dominated that match. They’ve had a tough three-setter today, too, so we’ll come up with a plan to give us the same result tomorrow. We started really strongly today so hopefully we’ll do the same tomorrow.”
With Hewett and Reid into the gentlemen’s doubles final, hopes were high that Jordanne Whiley and Japan’s Yui Kamiji could begin their bid for a fifth Wimbledon ladies’ doubles title with a win. However, after a bright start and twice serving for the match in the second set, Whiley and Kamiji eventually slipped to a 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 loss to Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot.
Whiley, playing in her first Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2017, having started her international comeback in February this year after maternity leave, said. “At a set and 6-5 up it was probably one of the best games we’ve ever played, but Aniek and Diede started to play well, too, and they cut out a lot of errors.
“At the end of the day I’ve only been back six months and I’ve played and won a lot of finals in that time. But today was probably the first time since my comeback I’ve seen my fitness tested to this extent in a match, so maybe that was a factor.”
As well as Hewett and Reid in the gentlemen’s doubles final, Saturday’s action at Wimbledon will also see Andy Lapthorne aim for his second Wimbledon title after partnering Dylan Alcott to victory in Wimbledon’s first ever quad doubles final. After partnering Alcott to their historic victory on Friday morning, Lapthorne will now play Australian Alcott in Saturday’s first ever Wimbledon quad singles final.