Photo: Corinne DubreuilRonald Vink (NED) and Frederic Cattaneo (FRA)
Top seeds Stephane Houdet and Shingo Kunieda will face second seeds Frederic Cattaneo and Ronald Vink in Sunday men’s final at the Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Event, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, after Cattaneo and Vink ended the title defence of Dutchman Tom Egberink and Michael Jeremiasz of France 64 46 64 in Saturday’s semifinals.
With some close opening exchanges early in the first set Egberink and Jeremiasz had a narrow 3-2 lead after 19 minutes of play, but with last year’s champions 30-0 up and heading towards what looked like it would be a 4-2 lead a ball fellow from out of Jeremiasz’s chair and he was given a warning.
Cattaneo and Vink went on to level at 3-3 and 4-4 and after two deuces Vink finally secured a rare service hold to give him and Cattaneo a 5-4 lead. With Jeremiasz serving to stay in the opening set Cattaneo and Houdet had three set points at 0-40 and although the first slipped away Jeremiasz hit a backhand wide to complete a sequence of three straight games for Cattaneo and Vink as they snatched the set.
The second set started with a Series of games in which both pairs had game points, but Cattaneo and Vink secured the first hold of the set after six deuces, winning what was the longest game of the match at that point for a 2-1 lead before breaking for 3-1.
Egberink and Jeremiasz retrieved the break for 3-3 and in the ninth game they had two break points. However, both slipped away only for Cattaneo to then double fault on a game point that would have given him and Vink a 5-4 lead.
Egberink and Jeremiasz eventually gained the break and served out the set as Egberink’s fourth ace brought up three set points and the young Dutchman fired a forehand down the middle of the court between Cattaneo and Vink on the second set point.
Egberink and Jeremiasz took their run of successive games to five as they established a 2-0 lead in the final set, but Cattaneo and Vink broke back and saved four break points in the seventh game of the set to lead 4-3 before opening up a 5-3 lead.
With Cattaneo serving for the match he doubled faulted to allow Egberink and Jeremiasz to break back, but they were unable to hold on to their own serve and eventually went down to the their first loss in four tournaments together.
“It’s fabulous, unbelievable,” said Vink, who was won the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon three times previously. “This is the first time he and Fred have played together, but with Fred beside me I felt like I had a wall on my side of the net. In the second set we had lots of chances, but we kept playing with patience and only in the last two games did I say to Fred
that we had to start hitting the ball hard as we knew they would be hitting it hard at us.”
Roland Garros champions into second Wimbledon final
After claiming victory at Roland Garros last month top seeds Houdet and Kunieda raced into a 4-0 lead against Britain’s Gordon Reid and Maikel Scheffers of Netherlands in the other semifinal.
Reid and Scheffers had failed to convert a game point in the fourth game, but finally got themselves on the scoreboard in the fifth. The British-Dutch duo, who came into Wimbledon having won four of their previous five tournaments together, had break back points in the sixth game, but were unable to convert them as Houdet and Kunieda maintained a four game cushion.
Reid and Scheffers managed to keep themselves in the opening set and with Kunieda serving for the set they earned a earned a break point, which they converted, having seen two earlier opportunities disappear, to move to within two games of Houdet and Kunieda at 5-3.
However their hard work was undone in the next game as Scheffers hit a backhand out to give Houdet and Kunieda two set points and Reid hit long for the set.
Reid and Scheffers continued to put pressure on Kunieda’s service at the start of the second set and they were rewarded with a 2-1 lead. But Houdet and Kunieda broke Reid’s serve to love en route to a 3-2 lead of their own and a lack of communication between Reid and Scheffers allowed them to be beaten down the centre of the court as Houdet and Kunieda extended their lead to 4-2 and then 5-2.
Scheffers made an impressive retrieval on his and Reid’s left tramline, returning a winning backhand down the line to keep he and Reid in the match at 5-3. Reid and Scheffers had two break points in the next game, but Reid netted a backhand on the first and Houdet fired an ace on the second, with the Frenchman’s powerful serve finally bringing victory for himself and
Kunieda as he unleashed one last ace to close out a 63 63 victory.
Houdet and Kunieda will now bid to go one better than they did in 2010, when they also reached the final before finishing as runners-up.
“The first set was quite comfortable for us, but in the second set they got better and, of course, this is Wimbledon, so you expect a lot of pressure” said Kunieda. “But we stayed calm and I’m very happy to be in the final again. It is 2006 since I won my first Wimbledon title (with fellow
Japanese player Satoshi Saida), so I really want to regain the title and be Wimbledon champion for the second time after reaching the final with Stephane in 2010.”
Both of Sunday's men's and women's doubles finals will take place on Court 12, with the women's final scheduled first at 12.00 Noon local time.
Full Order of Play - Sunday, 7 July 2013