28 August 2021

Whiley and Shuker move closer to wheelchair tennis medal after comfortable win

Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker are just one win away from another Paralympic wheelchair tennis medal after sailing into the semi-finals of the women’s doubles.

The two-time bronze medallists, who are seeded fourth at Tokyo 2020, defeated Kgothatso Montjane and Mariska Ventner of South Africa 6-2, 6-0 in Sunday’s quarter-final and will face unseeded Chinese pair Wang Ziying and Zhu Zhenzhen in Monday’s semi-finals.

Despite admitting to a difficult start, the pair won eight straight games against their South African foes to continue their hunt for gold.

Shuker said: “I think it’s the first time we’ve played against them as a pairing. They hit nice balls, they put some pressure on us.

“I think as soon as we found our game and put our pressure on and cut out the errors, we controlled it.”

Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley have combined for women's doubles bronze at the last two Paralympic Games

And Whiley agreed, saying: “I feel like at the beginning, maybe it was a bit wobbly. We made quite a few errors, but we found it quite early on, and then we didn’t lose it.

“I’m really pleased with that performance. I think it’s a good opening because we’ve had times where we’ve lost it and that could have been quite a close match because they are two good players.

“So I’m quite pleased that we kept to what we were trying to do and, in the end, it came good.”

In the men’s doubles, number one seeds Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid got their Tokyo campaign off to the perfect start as they blitzed Austria’s Thomas Flax and Nico Langmann 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.

Greater challenges will lie ahead for the Rio 2016 silver medallists but Reid believes it was good to get their eye in ahead of a quarter-final against sixth seeds Joachim Gerard and Jef Vandorpe of Belgium.

Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett made a good start to their men's doubles campaign

“I thought it was a good first match for us,” said the Scot. “They made quite a lot of balls so we got a good feel for centre court together.

“It was good to get out there and experience what it’s like to play on that court. I thought we performed well, we were moving well, and it’s a good starting place to build from.”

Hewett added: “Playing the Belgians is going to be an extremely tough match. We’ve played against them a few times now and we know who we’re coming up against.

“It means we’re going to have to be playing some of our best tennis to get through them.”

The third British pair in action on Sunday – Andy Lapthorne and Antony Cotterill – suffered defeat in the quad doubles semi-finals as Dutch second seeds Sam Schroder and Niels Vink triumphed 6-0, 6-2.

However, Lapthorne and Cotterill still have a chance of a medal when they play Japan’s Mitsuteru Moroishi and Koji Sugeno in a shootout for bronze later this week.

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