Tokyo 2020 Paralympics: Hewett and Reid into singles semi-finals
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Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett ensured that there will be at least one men’s singles wheelchair tennis medal for ParalympicsGB at Tokyo 2020 after the Rio gold and silver medallists moved into semi-finals on opposite sides of the draw on Tuesday at the Ariake Tennis Park.
However, there was disappointment for Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne, whose quest for the quad doubles bronze medal ended in a three-set loss to Japan’s Mitsuteru Moroishi and Koji Sugeno.
Reid repeated his Rio quarter-final victory over Argentinian fourth seed Gustavo Fernandez, while Hewett repeated his Rio round of 16 victory against French seventh seed Nicolas Peifer.
World No.5 Reid will play Japan’s World No.1 Shingo Kunieda in Thursday’s semi-finals after battling back to defeat fourth seed Fernandez 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.
The 29-year-old Brit, who was 4-0 down in the early stages of the opening set and had to save three set points at 5-4 down, enjoyed more success in the deciding set. He reeled off six games in a row to earn his fifth successive win over Fernandez in six matches this season after two hours and 30 minutes
Reid not only beat Fernandez, but also beat the incoming rain, which began to fall as Hewett prepared for his quarter-final against Peifer, resulting in the players going off court while the Centre Court roof was closed.
Thereafter, Hewett had a comparatively smoother route than Reid to the last four after securing the first service hold of the match late in the opening set.
The World No.2 made a more assured start to the second set and casually dropped a forehand over the net to hold to love for a 3-0 lead.
Peifer found his way back into the contest, but it was a double fault from the World No.7 that handed Hewett his 6-3, 6-4 win after an hour and 24 minutes. He will now play Dutch World No.8 Tom Egberink.
Cotterill and Lapthorne started and finished the quad doubles bronze medal match on two different courts due to the heavy rain that descended on the Ariake Tennis Park as evening drew in.
The Brits earned three set points in the opener, but were unable to take their chances. However, they fought for every ball, with Cotterill and his tennis chair tipping sideways in the opening game of the deciding set as he stretched to reach a ball.
The Brits continued their heroic attempts to win a first Paralympic medal together, but as the clock edged past 2am Tokyo time under the cover of the roof on Centre Court, Moroishi and Sugeno sealed their dramatic victory.