11 Jul 2017

2016 finalists to meet in this year's Wimbledon first round

News Article

Photo: Takeo TanumaJiske Griffioen (NED)

Gordon Reid and Stefan Olsson and Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot, the 2016 men’s and women’s singles finalists, will meet in the first rounds of their respective events this year when wheelchair tennis gets underway at Wimbledon on Thursday.

Reid has won two of his three matches against Olsson since winning last year’s inaugural men’s singles final at the third Grand Slam of the season on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, but Olsson claimed victory in their most recent meeting at the SA Open Super Series final in Johannesburg in April.

Elsewhere, Shingo Kunieda makes his Wimbledon singles debut against Dutchman Maikel Scheffers in the top half of the men’s draw.

With last year’s ranking points won at Wimbledon having dropped off the 52-week rollover rankings this week, Argentina’s Australian Open champion Gustavo Fernandez begins Wimbledon this year as world No. 1 in men’s singles for the first time. Fernandez will open his bid to try and reach his third Grand Slam against French world No. 3 Stephane Houdet.

Roland Garros champion Alfie Hewett opens his third Wimbledon campaign against Houdet’s compatriot and world No. 5 Nicolas Peifer. Hewett, 19, has been named International Paralympic Committee Athlete of the Month for June after winning his first Grand Slam singles title last month.

Griffioen to face van Koot in women’s singles opener

Since meeting in last year’s women’s singles final at Wimbledon Griffioen and van Koot have contested the Rio Paralympic women’s singles gold medal match and quarterfinals at the first two Grand Slams of this season.

Griffioen came out on top to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open, while van Koot prevailed in three sets last month at Roland Garros, where Griffioen made her return to action for the first time since the Australian Open after struggling with her fitness. They will now meet for the fourth Grand Slam in a row, with the US Open not having featured wheelchair tennis in 2016 due to the dates coinciding with the Rio Paralympics.    

Griffioen has swapped the world No. 1 women’s singles ranking this year with Japan’s Yui Kamiji and with Griffioen’s 2016 Wimbledon points no longer counting this week, second seed Kamiji starts Wimbledon at the top of the rankings. The Japanese player also remains on course to become the first player to win all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same season. She begins her Wimbledon challenge against world No. 7 ranked Brit Lucy Shuker.

The top half of the women’s draw will also see Dutch world No. 3 Diede de Groot make her Wimbledon debut against Brit Jordanne Whiley, while in the bottom half of the draw two former Grand Slam singles champions will go head-to-head when world No. 6 Marjolein Buis of Netherlands takes on Germany’s world No. 7 Sabine Ellerbrock.

Women’s doubles semis include rematch of previous finals

The women’s doubles draw for this year’s Wimbledon sees reigning champions Kamiji and Whiley take on Dutch top seeds Griffioen and van Koot.

With Whiley having only played Roland Garros so far this season due to recovering from injury earlier in the year, and her world ranking therefore having dropped, she and Kamiji are not seeded for the women’s doubles this year, opening the way to an intriguing semifinal match up.   

Kamiji and Whiley completed an unprecedented hat-trick of Wimbledon wheelchair tennis doubles titles in 2016, while Griffioen and van Koot won the very first final between the two partnerships in 2013. All Dutch partnerships feature in both halves of the women’s doubles draw, with second seeds Buis and de Groot playing Ellerbrock and Shuker for a place in the final.

French top seeds Houdet and Peifer play Olsson and Scheffers in the men’s doubles semis. Reigning champions Hewett and Reid face Fernandez and Kunieda.