Tuesday, 31 August 2021 11:20

Gordon guaranteed Tokyo medal

Written by Marshall Thomas

HELENSBURGH'S Gordon Reid and doubles partner Alfie Hewett guaranteed themselves and ParalympicsGB a second successive mens doubles wheelchair tennis medal on Tuesday after the Brits beat Japanese third seeds Shingo Kunieda and Takashi Sanada 6-2, 6-1 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The Rio silver medallists produced their latest stunning display of doubles tennis at the Ariake Tennis Park to beat Kunieda and Sanada in an hour and 27 minutes.

A Sanada double fault had ended the first set and he was forced into a decisive backhand error on match point as Gordon and Alfie’s movement and ability to attack their opponents from all areas of the court proved key.

They will now play Frenchmen Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in a repeat of the Rio gold medal match.  

Gordon said: We’re really, really happy at the moment. That match couldn’t have gone a lot better for us. We executed our game plan and our tactics really well and we didn’t let up at any point, especially towards the end when sometimes you can get a bit nervy.

"But that’s probably when we played some of our best tennis. We’re really pleased, but we’ve done nothing yet because we came here for the gold and we’ve still got to earn that.” 

With their only previous match against Kunieda and Sanada ending in a three-set loss at the 2019 Japan Open, Gordon credited the amount of work that has gone into making the partnership that has won the last seven Grand Slam titles.

He added: We’ve evolved so much as a team since then, we’ve improved so much. We need to give a lot of credit right now to coach Martyn Whait and sports psychologist Sarah Cecil from the LTA.

"They’ve been working with us specifically and Martyn’s been up into the wee hours of the night looking at all the different teams and working out some tactics to use against them. He’s been spot on the last two days and has really given us a focus on how to approach the matches, so big thanks to him.” 

Alfie, who joins Gordon in Wednesday’s men’s singles quarter-finals before they pair up for Friday’s men’s doubles gold medal match, said:We were buzzing around the court and had so much energy and didn’t really come off the gas at any stage.

"I think we just take each match as it comes, really. Each match is different so we have to prepare different ways, but we have our own routines as individuals and we come together as a pair.

"We’ve been playing together now for seven or eight years, so we’re pretty familiar with what we bring to the court. We know when we’re feeling it and today was one of those matches.

“Each day is different. The gold medal match, we could turn up and it could either be great or we might be not be playing some of our best tennis. But we’ve learnt over the years to deal with many different occasions and scenarios and we’ll be prepared for whatever happens on the day.”