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Home crowd give Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett Wimbledon advantage

Home crowd give Reid and Hewett Wimbledon advantage
By Sportsbeat

13/07/2018 at 22:02Updated 13/07/2018 at 23:32

Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid rode Wimbledon's Big Dipper to book their shot at a third straight men's wheelchair doubles title in rollercoaster fashion.

Hewett and Reid were pushed the distance by Argentina's Gustavo Fernandez and Japan's Shingo Kunieda in an edge of your seat encounter, in which control swung repeatedly back and forth.

They were ahead, behind, ahead and behind but a vocal home crowd - including some very partisan supporters of Team Heid - turned up the volume and the Brits experience paid dividends, with their progress secured 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and 48 minutes.

Now Joachim Gerard and Stefan Olsson are in their way after they despatched French top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer, who Hewett and Reid beat in their previous two finals appearances here.

And that's extra motivation, as Olsson beat Hewett 6-2, 6-4 in the singles semi-finals earlier in the day, while Gerard took down Paralympic champion Reid in the quarter-finals.

"That was a match of ups and downs and there was some very tired bodies at the end. It was a really high-quality game and we were really buzzing at the end," said Reid.

" Because we've won for the last two years there is a lot of expectation from everyone, except us. We know how difficult it is to win this once, let alone twice or maybe three times."

"The final is going to be really tough, we've learned already in this tournament how good those players are. They've got big serves, they are really effective on grass but we know what to expect and we will be ready.

"The crowd made a big time difference and we'll be playing the final out on Court 3 with even more support behind us. When you needed that bit extra they got the adrenaline flowing and the heart racing and really pulled us over the line."

Hewett cut a downbeat figure after his defeat in the singles semi-finals and the fist-pumping celebrations that greeted the final winner underlined just how much this meant.

" We kept believing in ourselves, we knew what we needed to do," he said. "We never panicked but at times we lacked intensity and we had to turn it on and fire ourselves up."

"Gordon did a good job of picking me up because I was really disappointed after losing in the singles and I started the match a little bit flat too.

"I'm excited to be in another Wimbledon final. I've got such great memories of last year and I want that feeling again."

Elsewhere, Lucy Shuker's bid to reach a ninth Wimbledon women's wheelchair doubles final remains on course.

Alongside German partner Sabine Ellerbrock, she was leading Marjoelin Buis and Aniek Van Koot 3-6, 6-4, 3-1 with the serve when bad light stopped play.