Thursday, 02 September 2021 11:41

Gordon in singles semi-final

Written by Marshall Thomas

HELENSBURGH'S Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett ensured that there will be at least one mens singles wheelchair tennis medal for ParalympicsGB at Tokyo 2020 after the Rio gold and silver medallists moved into semi-finals on opposite sides of the draw on Wednesday at the Ariake Tennis Park.

World no.5 Gordon repeated his Rio quarter-final victory over Argentinian fourth seed Gustavo Fernandez, while Alfie repeated his Rio round of 16 victory against French seventh seed Nicolas Peifer.

Gordon will play Japan’s world no.1 Shingo Kunieda in Thursday’s semi-finals after battling back to defeat fourth seed Fernandez 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

The 29-year-old Brit, who was 4-0 down in the early stages of the opening set and had to save three set points at 5-4 down, said: “It’s never tougher than I expect against Gustavo. He’s one of the toughest competitors to play.

"I’ve had a good record against Gustavo this year and have some good wins against him on big occasions. It was a really tight match today and it was just the third set that I managed to relax and pull away, but I feel it was nip and tuck the rest of the match.”

He closed out the match in full flow, reeling off six games in a row to earn his fifth successive win over Fernandez in six matches this season after two hours and 30 minutes.

He added: “I didn’t think I was playing too badly in the first set. He was on fire and he was punishing anything that I dropped short. I just knew I had to try and release my shots a little bit more and get a bit more depth, even if that meant missing a couple.

"I’m really proud of myself for the way I held that together, psychologically, in the first set, and then obviously the way I recovered after losing the second, as well.

“I’m playing the world no.1 tomorrow, the guy who’s probably the favourite. He’s playing at home, so I’m still the underdog and I’m loving it.

"We actually played on this court three years ago in an exhibition match and the stadium was full and it was an amazing atmosphere. So I’m just gutted that we can’t experience that tomorrow, but I’m still relishing the opportunity.”