24 Nov 2017

Fernandez, Scheffers and Gerard, Olsson into semis


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Photo: Mathilde DusolGustavo Fernandez (ARG) and Maikel Scheffers (NED)

All four of Friday’s remaining men’s doubles round-robin matches ended in straight sets wins for Saturday’s four semifinalists at the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters in Bemmel, Netherlands, with Gustavo Fernandez and Maikel Scheffers and Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson successful in must-win contests.

Scheffers is the last remaining Dutch player in with the chance of landing a home victory in the men’s doubles after he joined forces with Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez to eliminate Spain’s Daniel Caverzaschi and Martin de la Puente 62 62.

“I think we played well today. Yesterday was not our best match, but today we pulled it out and we started really aggressively and I think that was the key to the match,” said Scheffers. “Me and Gusti have two really different games and I think that’s what makes it difficult for our opponents. He’s the young one and he’s hitting the ball as flat as he can and I’m more like the strategic guy, but I think that is why we are such a strong team.”

Heading into the weekend, what does Scheffers think of the possibility of winning another Doubles Masters title on home soil?

“That would definitely mean a lot to me. It’s always good to play at home, it’s always fun and a lot of family and friends and sponsors are coming. To win here the title or even being in the finals means a lot, so let’s focus on the semis and hope the dream continues,” said Scheffers.

With Scheffers already a three-time former Doubles Masters champion and Fernandez going in search of his first UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters title, the duo face Rio Paralympic silver medallists and second seeds Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid in the last of Saturday night’s scheduled men’s semifinals.

Fernandez and Scheffers go into the contest on the back of beating Hewett and Reid the last time they met, in the semifinals of August’s British Open. However, before that they had four successive losses to the Wimbledon and US Open champions in the four tournament semifinals in which they met.

Both Gerard and Olsson are also former champions at the ITF’s year-end doubles championship and they will next play French top seeds and defending champions Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer for a place in the final, having beaten Frederic Cattaneo of France and South Africa’s Evans Maripa 63 62.

“I think we’re feeling good (ahead of the semifinals). We’ve been playing really good all week and it looks really fun tomorrow for the semis, so we’re just going to go in and enjoy the match and see if we can beat them,” said Olsson.

“There’s always something to work on, but we’re working better and better and we just have to make sure we finish matches. Yesterday we had 3-0 in the second set and we should have been able to close that out better, but this is tennis and that’s what happens sometimes. So there are just some small things that we need to change a little bit, but as soon as we’ve done those changes I think we’re going to be really hard to beat.”

Gerard and Olsson’s four tournaments together this year have all come to an end against Houdet and Peifer, in three semifinals and one final.

With Houdet and Peifer and Hewett and Reid having already secured their places in the semifinals before Friday, both partnerships duly went on to finish top of their respective pools.

Houdet and Peifer topped Pool A after defeating young Dutch pair Carlos Anker and Ruben Spaargaren 62 60, while Hewett and Reid cemented their place at the top of Pool B with their 64 61 victory over Poland’s Kamil Fabisiak and Austria’s Martin Legner.



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