Photo: Tommy HindleyJordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker (GBR)
For the first time, neither of the seeded pairings will be in the women’s final in the Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Event, part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, after Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley became the first all-British partnership to reach the final and Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot ended Esther Vergeer’s hopes of a fourth successive Wimbledon title, with her third different partner.
After rain delayed the first scheduled day of wheelchair tennis competition, Shuker and Whiley, who received a wild card into the women’s doubles for the second year in a row, made a slow start to their semifinal against second seed Annick Sevenans of Belgium and Sharon Walraven of the Netherlands.
The British duo were not helped by a series of unforced errors, but settled early nerves as they came from 5-2 down in the first set and saved three set points at 5-4 down to force a tie-break.
Shuker and Whiley’s growing confidence saw them take a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak, but Sevenans and Walraven came back to level it at 4-4 before Walraven put an overhead forehand into the net to give the all-British the opening set on their first set point.
Shuker and Whiley secured an immediate break at the start of the second set and although Sevenans and Walraven levelled at 3-3 Shuker and Whiley opened up a 5-3 lead when a cross court forehand from Whiley just managed to tip over the net cord.
Whiley then aimed an unreturnable backhand at Sevenans as the Brits converted the first of two set points to wrap up a 76(5), 6-3 victory.
“It’s a pretty incredible feeling right now and I absolutely cannot wait for the final on Sunday, especially as we’ll be on Court Three,” said 20-year-old Whiley.
“We had a frustrating loss last week at the BNP Paribas French Open and to put that out of our systems and reach the final at Wimbledon shows how far we’ve come as a partnership.”
“It’s my third final at Wimbledon but to reach it with a fellow Brit in Paralympic year is extra special. We were a bit tense to begin with but both started hitting well and we’re here to win our first Grand Slam title in front of a home crowd,” added Shuker, who also reached the final in 2009 and 2010 with Australian Daniela di Toro.
Griffioen and van Koot beat top seeds Buis and Vergeer
After having match points in the 2011 Wimbledon final against Vergeer and Walraven, Griffioen and van Koot fought back to reach their first Grand Slam final after a tense and high quality second all-Dutch semifinal.
With Vergeer partnering Marjolein Buis this year, the top seeds made the better start and earned three set points in the ninth game of the match before seizing the initiative.
Last month’s Roland Garros champions, who were unbeaten as a partnership after just two tournaments playing together this season, gained an immediate break in the second set. However, Griffioen and van Koot started to impose themselves and battled back to win six of the next seven game to force the decider.
Another big shift in momentum saw Buis and Vergeer claim two tense deuce games at the start of the final set en route to building a 4-0 lead, but Griffioen and van Koot again came from behind and put together an incredible sequence of six games in succession to close out a 36 63 64 victory.
“We are obviously disappointed after being 4-0 up in the final set,” said Vergeer.”But they were the ones who then decided how the match would go. They decided which way they would send us. They decided what spin was on the ball and how fast the match went and we just couldn’t change that.”
After reaching all four Grand Slam women’s finals in 2011 and then missing out on a place in the final of Roland Garros last month, Griffioen and Vergeer will now bid for their first Grand Slam title on Sunday.
US Open champions and Doubles Masters champions to meet in men’s semifinals
Saturday’s first day of play in the men’s doubles will start with two-time Wimbledon champions and top seeds Robin Ammerlaan and Ronald Vink of the Netherlands taking on British wild cards Marc McCarroll and Gordon Reid.
The second semifinal will be between reigning US Open champions Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer of France and reigning Invacare Doubles Masters champions Tom Egberink of the Netherlands and Michael Jeremiasz of France.
Egberink made his debut at Wimbledon in 2011 when he and Japan’s Shingo Kunieda eventually finished fourth of the four pairings, despite Egberink catching the eye with a notable performance.
“We lost match points in our semifinal last year and then could not put that out of our minds in the next match, so although I enjoyed my first experience at Wimbledon I am hoping me and Michael will do a lot better this time,” said Egberink.
“We won the Doubles Masters in only our second tournament together and are two tournaments unbeaten now, so if we can play like we did at the Doubles Masters we have a good chance of winning this year.”
Order of Play - Saturday, 7 July 2012
Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Draws
LIVE SCORING FOR BOTH MEN'S SEMIFINAL MATCHES WILL BE AVAILABLE HERE ON THE OFFICIAL WIMBLEDON WEBSITE FROM START OF PLAY (SCHEDULED FOR 11.30 BST).
TV COVERAGE OF ALL MATCHES WILL BE AVAILABLE ON BBC INTERACTIVE (RED BUTTON).