Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz (FRA)
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: No. 1 seeds Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz easily clinched the Paralympic men’s doubles bronze medal for France at Eton Manor on Friday, bouncing back strongly from the disappointment of narrowly losing their semifinal match the previous evening.
Houdet and Jeremiasz suffered a shock defeat against Sweden’s Stefan Olsson and Peter Vikstrom on Thursday, but the French pair were back to their best in the bronze medal play-off against Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink, winning 60 60 in just 44 minutes.
From the moment they broke Vink in the opening game, the end result never looked in any doubt. It was a very one-sided affair with Houdet and Jeremiasz showing more energy and desire from start to finish.
The French duo always looked for an opportunity to get to the net and attack, taking the game to their opponents, while Ammerlaan and Vink could frequently be found defending from behind the baseline.
After the first set disappeared in a heartbeat, the Dutch pair finally threatened to get a game on the board when they trailed 2-0 in the second set. Vink came back from 15-40 on his serve to earn a couple of game points, but they weren’t converted and the French domination continued.
Houdet and Jeremiasz won the men’s doubles gold medal in Beijing four years ago, so they may go home slightly disappointed their feat wasn't repeated in London, but in truth they were undone by an inspired performance from Olsson and Vikstrom in the semifinals.
“Yesterday, we played like we were going to lose. Today, we played to win and it worked,” said Houdet. “We tried to be aggressive, but it was still tramline to tramline stuff. We were a bit boxed in yesterday. Peter (Vikstrom) is a big presence on the court, but we didn't give them room today.”
Houdet will now turn his attention to the singles final on Saturday. The world No. 1 is taking on defending champion Shingo Kunieda. The Japanese player holds an imposing 23-6 advantage in their past head-to-head meetings, although Houdet has defeated him three times in 2012.
The doubles final will take place on Centre Court later today when Olsson and Vikstrom face another French partnership, Frederic Cattaneo and Nicolas Peifer. Both pairs are bidding to win their first gold medal.
Follow the scores from the Paralympic Tennis Event on the Schedule page.