Dutch top seeds Korie Homan and Esther Vergeer will play Lucy Shuker (GBR) and Daniela di Toro (AUS) in Sunday’s Women’s Wheelchair Doubles final at The Championships after di Toro and Shuker beat the second seeded pairing of Florence Gravellier (FRA) and Jiske Griffioen (NED) 64 64 in Friday’s semifinals.
Di Toro and Shuker won the closest of Friday's two matches, the Anglo-Australian pairing gaining an immediate break of serve to go 2-0 ahead and only being taken to deuce once in the first nine games, that coming in Shuker’s opening service game.
A combination of di Toro’s exquisite slices and Shuker’s deft touches at the net helped maintain their early advantage and although they were taken to deuce on di Toro’s serve in the tenth game, the partnership held on to seize the advantage.
Di Toro and Shuker saved two game points in the third game of the second set and opened up a 3-0 lead after a series of four deuces. Gravellier and Griffioen took the next two games to keep their hopes alive of reaching a first Grand Slam final after being semi-finalists at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, but their hopes looked like fading after di Toro and Shuker won the next two games for the loss of just two points.
Di Toro and Shuker were only able to get one point on the board as di Toro served for the match at 5-2 in the second set, but in the next game Gravellier served a double fault to bring up two match points. Shuker failed to get enough of her racket on the ball as she attempted a drop shot at the net on the first match point and Gravellier made up for the earlier double fault as she lobbed di Toro to save the second match point, Gravellier and Griffioen going on to edge the game.
However, Shuker served for the match again at 5-4 and she and di Toro finally clinched their third match point to close out a superb win.
“Ever since I started playing wheelchair tennis in 2003 it’s been a dream to play at Wimbledon, so now that I’m here we were determined to make the most of it,” said Shuker. "We’ll go away now and talk to our coaches and try to come up with a plan to try and beat Korie and Esther in Sunday’s final. It’s obviously going to be tough, but we will be out to produce our best and will enjoy it.”
Homan and Vergeer cruise in to final
The first semifinal of the inaugural Women’s Wheelchair Doubles on court 14 produced a comfortable 60 60 win for Homan and Vergeer, the world’s top ranked women’s singles and doubles players and the women’s wheelchair doubles champions at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this season.
Homan served two aces in the opening game of the first semifinal as she and Vergeer laid down a stern challenge to Katharina Kruger (GER) and Sharon Walraven (NED). Kruger and Walraven managed to take the next two games to deuce, but there was no way back as Homan and Vergeer’s penetrating ground strokes produced a succession of winners and an increasing number of errors from their opponents.
Homan sent a forehand down the middle of the court to leave Kruger and Walraven stranded at 3-0 down in the second set and despite Walraven returning some tough attacking shots to her backhand, she lost her racket as she attempted to save another game point in the eleventh game.
Five points later, after exactly 40 minutes of play, Kruger sent a forehand long over her opponents’ baseline to give Homan and Vergeer the victory on the first of two match points.
“It’s my first time here at Wimbledon and I’m very glad we are in the final and I get the shot at adding a Wimbledon title to my CV,” said Vergeer, who is unbeaten in singles and doubles wheelchair events at the Grand Slams and is bidding to make the inaugural Wimbledon Women’s Doubles the 125th doubles title of her career.
“This week is the first time I have played on grass and I have heard all sorts of things about how much harder it is to play on the grass. It is unlike any other surface we play on, but it was a lot better than I was anticipating and I’m looking forward to Sunday now.”
Paralympic final rematch launches men's doubles event
Reigning Paralympic champions Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz (FRA) will play Beijing silver medallists Stefan Olsson and Peter Wikstrom (SWE) in Saturday's opening men's doubles semifinal at Te Championships.
An enthralling match up will see reigning Doubles Masters champions Olsson and Wikstrom bid to reverse the result of September's Paralympic final in Beijing.
The second men's doubles semi-final will involve three former Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles champions as second seeds Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink (NED) take on Robin Ammerlaan (NED) and Shingo Kunieda (JPN). After pairing up to win the Wimbledon title for the past two years, Ammerlaan or Vink will be out to earn the right to bid for a third successive title in Sunday's final.
The first semifinal takes place at 12.00 Noon on Court, while the second semifinal also take place on Court 4, starting at 4.00pm.
Men's Doubles Draw and interactive player profiles
Ladies' Doubles Draw and interactive player profiles
The Championships, Wimbledon - Official Website
Complete Order of Play - Saturday, 4 July 2009
Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Preview
Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Players & Draws