Photo: Corinne DubreuilJiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot (NED)
Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot begin their latest challenge in the Wimbledon Wheelchair Tennis Doubles Event on Friday, knowing that a third successive title at the third Grand Slam of the year would see them become the partnership with the most wheelchair tennis titles at The Championships.
Griffioen and van Koot start this year’s title bid in London as second seeds and face Britain’s Lucy Shuker, a former three-time finalist with two different partners, and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock.
It’s a contest that pits the most established partnership in the women’s doubles against the pairing with the least experience, Griffioen and van Koot having won their very first tournament together in 2005 before adding a further 21 doubles crowns. Ellerbrock and Shuker have only played their first two tournaments together this year, winning one and reaching the final of the other.
The other women’s semi-final sees tops seeds Yui Kamiji and Jordanne Whiley start their bid for a third successive Grand Slam title as the Australian Open and Roland Garros champions play the wild card partnership of Germany’s Katharina Kruger and Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands.
Walraven has won the Wimbledon title twice with Esther Vergeer, but it would need an upset to keep her ambitions of a third title on course this year, with 2013 Doubles Masters champions Kamiji and Whiley starting their Wimbledon campaign having replaced Griffioen and van Koot as the world’s top two ranked women’s doubles players following their Roland Garros triumph.
Champions Houdet and Kunieda to play Egberink and Reid
The start of the men’s doubles on Saturday sees defending champions Stephan Houdet of France and Shingo Kunieda of Japan playing Dutchman Tom Egberink and Britain’s Gordon Reid.
Top seeds Houdet and Kunieda are the reigning Australian Open champions, having regained a title they won for the first time in 2010, when they also won their first Roland Garros title. They were also Doubles Masters champions in 2012 before winning their second Roland Garros title last year.
Their only previous match against Egberink and Reid ended in a straight sets win in the semifinals of the 2013 BNP Paribas Open de France Super Series, but Egberink and Reid are likely to provide stern opposition, with Egberink having already tasted victory at Wimbledon in 2012 with Frenchman Michael Jeremiasz.
Egberink and Jeremiasz’s title defence ended in last year’s semifinals and the Dutchman will be keen to avoid a repeat, while Reid is attempting to reach his first Wimbledon final.
Houdet arrives at Wimbledon bidding for his third straight Grand Slam men’s doubles title after partnering Belgium’s Joachim Gerard to victory at Roland Garros last month.
Gerard makes his Wimbledon debut this year and pairs up with Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo, who reached the final last year with Dutch player Ronald Vink after they upset defending champions Egberink and Jeremiasz.
Vink, already a three-time champion at Wimbledon, will be on the opposite side of the net to Cattaneo in Saturday’s men’s semifinals as he reunites with fellow Dutchman Maikel Scheffers. Scheffers and Vink won the Wimbledon title in 2011 and are second seeds this year.
Women's Doubles Draw
Men's Doubles Draw
Order of Play: Friday, 4 July