Two Britons were in action in the semi-finals of the Ladies’ Wheelchair Doubles as Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker went head-to-head on No.14 Court, with Whiley's pair coming out on top to reach the final.
Shuker and Whiley returned to Wimbledon this time as opponents after reaching the final of the event together last year and then going on to win bronze medals for Team GB at the London Paralympics.
Shuker and Marjolein Buis, the No.2 seeds, were defeated easily by unseeded Whiley and her Japanese partner Kui Kamiji, who claimed a 6-1, 6-2 victory in just one hour and seven minutes.
Whiley and Kamiji, ranked No.7 and No.9 in the world for doubles respectively, broke early for a 2-1 lead following a long forehand by Buis. The Japanese/British pair continued to pose a threat when returning serve, breaking again before holding serve for a 5-1 lead after just 22 minutes. Just four minutes later they broke again to take a one-set lead.
The opening game of the second set was more eagerly contested, with the No.2 seeds trying to take an early advantage. But after four deuces, Whiley, Britain’s youngest ladies’ singles national champion, and Kamiji, a quarter-finalist at the 2012 Paralympics, held their nerve as Buis fired long.
The unseeded pair broke twice, surging into a 4-1 lead after Shuker – a three-time Grand Slam finalist – struck a tame forehand into the net. But Shuker and Buis had no intentions of bowing out quickly and they broke to love in the seventh game.
However, it was their serve that let them down once more as Whiley and Kamiji booked their place in the final, although Whiley does not want a repeat performance of last year’s final. “Last year I bottled it completely and couldn’t get a ball in the court,'' Whiley said. ''So, this year I obviously want to get a ball in the court and I’m going to tell her (Kamiji) to start slow and find a rhythm before we play big shots.”
The pair now face the daunting task of facing Jiske Griffioen and Aniek Van Koot in the final after the No.1 seeds produced a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Sabine Ellerbrock and Sharon Walraven.
In a topsy-turvy opening to the first set, neither pair was able to hold their serve, with unforced errors a regular occurrence. Yet, the reigning champions showed their class, forcing a mistake from German Ellerbrock – the only non-Dutch player on the court – forging a 4-2 lead in the set. Now in control, the No.1 seeds began to find their form with an array of exhilarating strokes, sealing the set 6-3.
There were no hiccups in the next set as the current Australian and French Open champions raced to a 5-2 lead, hitting five winners to Ellerbrock and Walraven’s none. A wayward forehand from Walraven was enough to see the No.1 seeds through to the final where they will be aiming for their third consecutive Grand Slam doubles title as a pair.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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