Roland Garros: Champion Alfie Hewett out in first round08.06.2018
British teammate Gordon Reid upsets world No. 1 to reach semis
Gordon Reid dethroned reigning champion Alfie Hewett in an all-British clash in the opening round of the men’s wheelchair singles at Roland Garros.
The 26-year-old Scot defeated Hewett 6-4, 6-4 on a hot Thursday (7 June) in Paris.
“A tight start, we were both a little bit nervous and maybe the quality wasn’t very high at the start,” said Reid after defeating his doubles partner.
He will play six-time winner Shingo Kunieda for a spot in the final after the Japanese star beat Sweden’s Stefan Olsson, 6-1, 6-1.
“I love playing against Shingo...because he is the best player that has ever played the sport,” said Reid about the 34-year-old, who has completed the calendar year Grand Slam an astonishing five times.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a really tough match, he is on great form at the moment, he is very confident,” said Reid. “It’s going to be very difficult, but I think if I can produce my best tennis, I will have a chance.”
Houdet defeats wild card Cattaneo
Stephane Houdet, the 2012 and 2013 champion, won the all-French clash against Frederic Cattaneo 6-2, 6-4 to move to the other men’s semi-final.
Houdet will play second seed Gustavo Fernandez for a spot in the championship match after the Argentine battled past France’s Nicolas Peifer 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
In the women’s draw, the top-seeded Yui Kamiji set up a semi-final clash with Netherlands’ Aniek van Koot after the Japanese player beat French wild card Charlotte Famin 6-1, 6-2.
Van Koot overcame South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, as Montjane took a set off van Koot for the first time in Grand Slam competition.
The other women’s semi-final will be played between Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany, who dispatched compatriot Katharina Kruger 6-2, 7-5, and Diede de Groot of Netherlands.
De Groot, the second seed, beat fellow Dutchwoman Marjolein Buis 6-2, 6-0.
For the first time in his career, the 20-year-old Hewett had come to one of the four majors as the defending champion and world No. 1.
“I didn’t feel that there was pressure for myself,” Hewett said. “Externally, there was pressures and people expecting me to obviously, maybe reach the finals. I knew it was always going to be tough.”
Hewett won less than half of his first-service points as he produced seven double faults and got broken six times. Reid won close to two-thirds of his first-service points, and dropped serve four times.
“I feel a little bit for Alfie, because I know the position he is in, he is world No. 1 and defending champion, there is a lot of pressure when you come out on court here,” said Reid, a former top-ranked player who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles in 2016.
“I feel like he maybe struggled a little bit more on his serve than he normally would.”
Doubles all to play for
Although Hewett is now knocked out of the singles competition, he has high hopes for a first all-British doubles title on the Parisian clay.
Last year, the British pair successfully defended their Wimbledon crown on home soil.
“We’ve got the game to do it,” said Hewett, who will partner Reid in Friday’s doubles semi-final against Cattaneo and Olsson.
“I’ve had some success here in doubles with foreign partners in the past, but it would be great to have that all-British success,” said Reid, who won the 2015 and 2016 Roland Garros doubles title alongside Kunieda.