Hewett and Reid make British tennis history with French Open victory
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Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid produced a record-breaking performance at the French Open on Saturday as they became the most successful all-British partnership in Grand Slam competition after beating French second seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 6-3, 6-0 at Roland Garros.
On a hugely successful day for players on the LTA Wheelchair Performance Pathway, Andy Lapthorne also completed a career Grand Slam of doubles titles after partnering American David Wagner to the quad doubles crown and Jordanne Whiley partnered Japan’s Yui Kamiji to reach Monday’s women’s doubles final.
In winning their second successive men’s doubles title in Paris, top seeds Hewett and Reid claimed their 11th Grand Slam title, thereby surpassing the 10 Grand Slam titles won by brothers Laurie and Reginald Doherty between 1897 and 1905.
After their most comprehensive win over Rio Paralympic champions Houdet and Peifer, Hewett said: “I think what we're doing as a doubles partnership is very special within wheelchair tennis.
"We've created a good bond on court. Obviously the last four or five slams have proved that. We're a force to be reckoned with right now. To have the results come through and so convincingly today, it speaks volumes for how far we've come.”
After earning the British record that had stood since 1905, Hewett added: “It was a long time ago. I don't think it (tennis) is quite the same now. But to still have those titles is very pleasing for us.”
Hewett and Reid recovered from a set down in their semi-final against Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda on Saturday, but a sequence of five games without reply in the opening set against Houdet and Peifer laid the foundations for a more polished performance. Reid said:
“I think we were just a lot tighter with our mistakes today, we didn't give as many cheap points away. We sustained the pressure with our movement, following our short balls in to make them hit targets. I think we were just more solid than them and we were more patient.”
Lapthorne and Wagner defeated Australia’s Dylan Alcott and Dutchman Sam Schroder 7-6(1), 4-6, (10-7) in the quad doubles final as the three-time Australian Open champions and two-time US Open champions claimed their first title together at Roland Garros.
Lapthorne, who had beaten Wagner 6-2, 7-6(5) earlier in the day to earn a third-place finish in the four-player quad singles draw, also won the 2019 Wimbledon quad doubles title with Alcott.
After completing his career Grand Slam, the "orld No.2 said:“It’s incredible. I knew going in to today that it (the career Grand Slam) had been one of my goals.
"Playing here last year and having match point and not getting over the line was so tough. It’s one of those things that you never, ever think is going to happen when you start playing this game.
"To now have all four, it’s pretty incredible. And to do it the way we did it today against to plays like that and being massive underdogs, it makes it all the sweeter.
“I was meant to be playing with Dylan this week and there was a last-minute change of plan and that sort of fired me up, it gave me the fire in the belly to go out there today and prove a point. It’s just amazing.”
Eleven-time Grand Slam doubles champions Whiley and Kamiji raced through their women’s doubles semi-final, beating Grand Slam first-time partnership Angelica Bernal of Colombia and Emmanuelle Morch of France 6-0, 6-3.
The two-time Roland Garros champions will now play Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot on Monday as they attempt to reverse the result of their 2020 final in Paris, which De Groot and Van Koot won in a match tie-break.
“It was really good today, " Whiley said. "I was really pleased with the way we played. We’ve never played them before and so we didn’t have any specific tactics.
"They have two very different styles of games, so we were not too sure what to expect. We just felt like if we played our own game, it would be good enough. Now I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”