Photo: Tommy Hindley / Professional SportPeter Vikstrom and Stefan Olsson (SWE)
LONDON, GREAT BRITAIN: Sweden’s Stefan Olsson and Peter Vikstrom were crowned the Paralympic men’s doubles champions for the first time on Friday evening after defeating Frederic Cattaneo and Nicolas Peifer, the No. 4 seeds from France, 61 62 in the gold medal match at Eton Manor.
Having knocked out No. 1 seeds Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz in a high quality semifinal, Olsson and Vikstrom recorded their second win in as many days against French opposition with this victory over Cattaneo and Peifer.
The Swedish duo, who played together at the Paralympics for the first time in Athens, took home the silver medal from Beijing four years ago, but this time they went one better and got their hands on gold.
This is Sweden's first ever gold medal at the Paralympic Tennis event. The nation's only previous medals, both silver, came in Beijing via Olsson and Vikstrom in the men's doubles and Johan Andersson in the quad singles.
Despite their lower ranking, Olsson and Vikstrom, seeded No. 6, were the favourites to prevail in the final and they quickly showed why they had earned that tag by racing out of the blocks to take a 4-0 lead in the first set.
Cattaneo and Peifer were struggling to get to grips with Olsson’s speed at the back of the court and Vikstrom’s reactions at the net, a combination that has served the Swedes well over the years, but they finally settled down and got off the mark in the fifth game.
The French pair broke Olsson to reduce the deficit to 4-1, only for the Swedes to quash any hopes of a comeback by immediately breaking Peifer for the second time in the match. That put them within one game of taking the first set and Vikstrom duly obliged with a hold of serve.
Cattaneo and Peifer were more competitive in the latter stages of the first set and they continued that form at the start of the second set. Having held to go 1-0 up, they put pressure on Vikstrom’s opening service game, but the big Swede was up to the challenge and staved off a series of break points.
It was a costly moment for the French couple because Olsson and Vikstrom capitalised on their missed opportunity and broke Cattaneo in the next game, and worse was to come when they failed to convert any of the four break points that came their way on Olsson’s serve as the Swedes extended their lead to 3-1.
After both pairs held, the Swedes took a 5-2 lead when Cattaneo’s frail serve fell to pieces. The Frenchman double faulted twice on his way to being broken to love, maintaining the unwanted record of being the only player on the court not to hold his serve during the match.
The end was now in sight for the Swedes and they wrapped up victory in 61 minutes when Peifer netted a backhand volley, sealing a hold of serve to love for Olsson. Cue wild celebrations for the Swedish pair as they embraced in the middle of Centre Court.
Follow the scores from the Paralympic Tennis Event on the Schedule page.