Photo: Corinne DubreuilJordanne Whiley (GBR) and Yui Kamiji (JPN)
Wild card entries Yui Kamiji of Japan and Jordanne Whiley of Great Britain beat second seeds Marjolein Buis a Lucy Shuker on Friday’s first day of the Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Event, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, to earn their place in Sunday’s final against Dutch top seeds Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot.
Buis and Shuker, the Australian Open runners-up started strongly in the opening game, taking a 40-0 lead before dropping the next two points, but still clinched the game Buis and Shuker then earned the first break point of the match in the second game, but Kamiij and Whiley played a patient game and finally held their opening service game, too.
That was to start of a sequence of six games in a row for Kamiji and Whiley, who broke Shuker’s serve to 15 to make it 2-1. They continued to step up their level, hitting regular winners down the middle of the court, with Kamiji also notching up the points as she increasingly found success with her cross court forehands.
While a series of unforced errors came off Buis’s racket, Kamiji and Whiley completed the first set with an impressive 95 per cent of their first serves having landed in court, leaving the second seeds with much to try and improve on.
Whiley started the second set with a double fault, but she and Kamiji survived four deuces and three break points to start the set as they had finished the second.
Buis and Shuker ended Kamiji and Whiley’s sequence of seven successive games to level the second set at 1-1. However, Kamiji finally served out the third game after four deuces and she and Whiley secured another 5-1 after Shuker misfired with a backhand.
With Kamiji serving for the match and a place in the final within reach, Buis and Shuker suddenly earned themselves three break points and despite Kamiji’s best efforts to race into the net to try and retrieve a Shuker drop shot Buis and Shuker reduced their second set deficit to 5-2.
However, with Buis serving to try and keep her and Shuker in the match Shuker netted a backhand to bring up three match points. Whiley completed a 61 62 victory with an unreturnable forehand cross court winner to give herself a place in the final for the second successive year and Kamiji a place in the Wimbledon final on her first visit to The Championships.
The partnership remains unbeaten in six matches, having arrived in London with two titles to their name.
“I’m absolutely delighted to reach the final here at Wimbledon again and I can’t wait to get back on the grass courts on Sunday for the final,” said Whiley.
“Yui and I haven’t played much together but we remain undefeated and we’re forming a really strong partnership.
“It was certainly strange having Lucy on the other side of the court but I had to put that out of my mind and just treat it like any other match.”
Defending champions return to women’s final
London 2012 silver medallists Griffioen and van Koot opened Wimbledon title defence by dropping the opening service game of their semifinal against Germany’s Sabine Ellerbroick and Sharon Walraven of Netherlands.
With Van Koot having problems with her ball toss, Ellerbrock and Walraven also struggled on serve and it was left to Griffioen and van Koot, the world’s top two ranked women’s doubles players, to secure the first service hold of the match to lead 3-2.
Griffioen and van Koot’s hold in the fifth game continued to be the first real breakthrough in the opening set until the top seeds led 5-3 and van Koot served them into a 40-0 lead for three set points. Van Koot put a forehand into the net on the first set point, but Walraven found the net with sabackhand on the second to give Griffioen and van Koot the opening set.
Ellerbrock secured her and Walraven’s first service hold of the match at the start of the second set, but Griffioen and van Koot’s greater experience, which has seen them win 18 titles together, became increasingly apparent as they built a 5-1 lead.
Ellerbrock and Walraven kept themselves in the match for one more game, but Griffioen served the match out for the reigning champions as Walraven hit a forehand out to bring up three match points.
Van Koot put the ball into the net as one match point disappeared, but the pressure being asserted by Griffioen and van Koot finally brought them a 63 62 victory after Ellerbrock fired the final ball of the match out of court.
“I’ve changed my serve recently and that was giving me trouble to start with, but after the game it got a lot better,” said van Koot. “If you look at the match as a whole they didn’t makt it easy for us and put us under pressure, but we stayed calm and played our game and we’re delighted to be in another Wimbledon final.”
Both of Saturday's men's semifinals will take place on Court 14, with the first semifinal starting at 11.30 local time.
Full Order of Play - Saturday, 6 July 2013