Clare Balding introduces live coverage of the final of the men's wheelchair doubles, as Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer take on Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.
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Third Championship point. He's got it! Look at what it means to them!
Good morning and welcome to Wimbledon for a weekend of finals.
From one o'clock, we will be concentrating on Centre Court, with
Venus Williams facing Garbine Muguruza. But our very first final
here at Wimbledon is the wheelchair men's doubles, and it features the
British pair and defending champions, Gordon Reid and Alfie
Hewett, who are just starting so-so warm up. They are up against the
French pair of Houdet and Peifer, who they beat in the final last
year, but who beat them in the Paralympics. It is a bit overcast,
and there is a 2000 capacity here, on Court No. 3, which means more
people will be able to see this final than ever before, when they
realise it is here! Steve, this is going to be a great final? It's
going to be fantastic. I have watched them all their way through
this competition, but that is enough from me, Jordanne Whiley, no
stranger to Wimbledon finals, you have got another one tomorrow. But
for now, it is about the guys. They're going to be feeling nervous?
Naturally. It is a final, and it is a tough match. But if I know the
boys, I know how much they want it, so they're going to be pumped Fish I
met up with the two dies yesterday after their semifinal win.
There's no way you could say that was an easy semifinal? We never
thought it was going to be easy. They are two really good doubles
players, very experienced, and we did a very good job to come back
after losing that second set to win it.
Now, looking forward to the final, how are you feeling about it today?
It is what we wanted, we want another crack at the French boys. We
beat them here last year, and we want to beat them again. I think we
have shown some great signs of a kind of tennis that we need to play
to do that. Hopefully, on Court No. 3, the British public will get
behind us and create a good atmosphere on that court. It's quite
interesting, actually, watching them develop as a pair. In the early
days, Jordan was the senior partner, Alfie was the younger one coming
through, do you feel it is more equal now? Definitely. And at times,
I have seen Alfie taking the lead, which really shows maturity. And
also they have been taking advantage of the ice baths that we have heard
about with Andy Murray, taking two a day. The two of them got in together
yesterday, to help them recover from the long matches under a lot of
pressure. A want to do well here because it is their home crowd,
their family, and general supporters in the crowd. Steve, at least they
have got a really professional approach but? They really have, but
it shows the friendship they have got as well! Coming through the way
they have, Gordon Reid may be overseeing a little bit of Alfie's
development. They're already saying, Gordon is trying to push Alfie back
down, he's seeing him more of a threat than somebody to mentor now.
It has been really good watching them develop. The chemistry is not
just on court. What about the French pair, they are really strong? They
are rev really talented players. They have shown that, in the
Paralympic final, and also some times this year when they have
beaten them. It's going to be tough but I really believe in the boys. It
is a big day, I'm thrilled that it has got a bigger court, and I know
as the match progresses, it's going to start filling up, and that's
going to help the boys, isn't it? I think so. Home crowd, Wimbledon,
they are defending champions as well. They've got a lot to play for.
This is not something they have just turned up for, they have put in a
lot of time and effort to be at their best for this competition.
Winning this is something they want to do and they have worked hard for
it. Jordanne Whiley, talk us through the relative strengths Gordon, first
of all, what are his best shots, how does he play? Gordon is very handy
at the net. He has good skills, very talented. Alfie is fearless, young,
he just wants to go out and give it his best every single time he's on
the court. Although two bounces are allowed, is it more effective to
take it on the first bounce if you can? Definitely, if you can do that
you definitely have the advantage. The ball really does slow down when
you're playing on the grass. Going back to the relationship, if you
watch Alfie and his body language, and how different it is from Gordon
Reid. He really lets his frustration show, whereas Gordon sits back and
absorbs it a lot more, internally. Alfie is very, very open about his
body language. And Gordon also, he tends to have a lot of supporters,
and quite often they will turn up wearing their hair band thing that
he's got? Definitely. Alfie is very expressive, he has always been like
that, he's a little bit like myself. What has their record been like so
far this year in the Grand Slams? Cordon and Alfie have done quite
well this year. Obviously, they are defending the title from here last
year. But they have struggled this year against Houdet and Peifer so
I'm really hoping they can pull it out of the bag. Steve, what do you
think about how the match might go? I don't think it's going to be very
easy for either of them. If you look up to the build-up to this, in the
semifinals yesterday, it went to three sets. They pulled it back in
the third set. How are you looking at the pairings, and I don't think
this is going to be easy for anyone, what do you think? It's not an easy
match, it's really tough, four amazing, talented players and I
think it's going to be an amazing match. There is going to be an awful
lot of support here as well. It could be the first of the British
successes this weekend. We've got hopes in the next doubles tomorrow,
but also, in the wheelchair doubles, Jordanne Whiley yourself, and Yui
Kamiji, the partner you have describe as your bag for life! And
she still is my bag for life! Should be good? I really think so, again,
it's the chemistry, it's the look between you, it says so much. You
don't need to talk when you're playing with her. No, we don't, we
literally just have eye contact, a little wink and a smile, and
everything is fine! It must help so much if you can naturally understand
each other. It is a very special bond when you have that with
someone, because you don't necessarily need to do the talking
all the time and the tactics. We're so lucky that we have that, and I
think that is a base foundation of why we're so great. Absolutely, it
is key. You haven't got time to talk, it doesn't matter about
language, or how much you can communicate, you need to be able to
read each other's body language. It's just the little nods and
smiles, they go along way. It's going to be fascinating,
best-of-three sets, and the only difference in the rules is, the ball
can bounce twice. Everything else is exactly the same. It is a fairly
still day, there's just a small threat of rain, but hopefully it
will stay dry. We can hand you over to commentary now, with Nick
Mullins, and the quadfather himself, Peter Norfolk.
NICK MULLINS: On the other side of the net, the French pair they beat
in a third set tie-break last year. This is what they've done so far,
the French were taken to three sets yesterday by Stefan Olsson and
Maikel Scheffers in the semifinal. Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett working
really hard to come through against Gustavo Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda
late yesterday evening, so it has been a fairly quick turnaround for
them, shifting from a more homely surroundings of Court No. 17 to
Court No. 3 here. Peter Norfolk is alongside me. Winner of 100 Grand
Slam titles in his time! Anything he does not know about this sport is
barely worth knowing. Good morning, Peter. Good morning, everyone, good
morning, Nick. A lot of anticipation and excitement for this one. A bit
of history. I commentated on a fabulous match back in Rio 2016,
which unfortunately the British pair lost, but it was a thrilling match.
That's Stefan, who, the Paralympic gold medallist. Collecting a modicum
of Wimbledon revenge to claim the gold medal. And they are building up
quite a history, these two now. They played each other most recently at
the French Open, at Roland Garros. And this really should be wheelchair
tennis of the highest quality. The French top seeds, favourites, Houdet
and Peifer, against the British defending champions. They are the
top four sides, so in the doubles rankings, number one, two, three and
four. That's the 26-year-old who lives just outside Paris, Peifer,
not far from the Palace. And his partner, who is now 46, continuing
to play at an incredible level, one of the old soldiers of the sport,
Stephane Houdet, former world number one. Currently third in the rankings
and as good as he has ever been, Peter? Absolutely, he's fit as a are
going to, hugely intelligent and personable. He's taken over the
mantle, I think I was the oldest player at one point! He still loves
the sport, loves playing. He's got this special chair where he has try
to change his sitting position. Is that the car bomb one that we were
talking about last year -- the carbon one? Absolutely, and it's
completely innovative. He's not sat on a conventional seat. You look at
the Peifer on the right, in the moulded carbon fibre one. Every time
your body moves, the chair moves with you. Houdet has got suspension
on the chair, and they've put a lot of research and development into
this. It must cost a few bob? It sure did. I understand it was about
?100,000. It is a one-off. Most chairs don't cost that much, that's
for sure! But it is an interesting development. As we look at Gordon
getting a last-minute tweak by the wheelchair repair man. And that is
really important in terms of the way Gordon Reid will want to play?
Absolutely. He's got way too much play there. If it's too low on the
ground, essentially, it would be taking the big wheels off the grass
and you won't be going anywhere! If it's too high research the ground,
when he leans back to get a smash or serve, the chair is going to tip too
much. It is crucial to get it right. I'm surprised he's doing that now,
but then again, they haven't played on this court yet. No, they were out
on court No. 17, as we were saying. Now, for this final, they're on
Court No. 3. And that is where we are, where the old Court No. 2 used
to be before they rebuilt it and moved it a little further south. It
is a wonderful arena and a fabulous place to showcase this sport for the
next couple of hours. Yeah, it's a great court, really good. Hopefully
it will get filled up with a lot more crowded. They're only just
coming in, really, into the grounds. The bigger the crowd, I think the
more the players will play to that. So, here we go. Gordon Reid has had
his pit stop. He and Alfie Hewett are ready to try and win this
doubles title for the second year running. It will be Gordon Reid who
will get us under way. Permaul lush grass, the harder it is
to get any kind of speed? -- the more lush the grass. Totally right.
Even though you have a second bounce, if you want it, the ball is
dying. Gordon Reid, the 25-year-old
left-hander from Glasgow. It's the French pair who strike
first. From a British pass back, best not to be too alarmed by the
breaks of serve. Sometimes it can be more tricky to hold serve from the
chair. There will be more breaks over the course of this final. But
immediately, an indication of what Houdet and Peifer offer as a
challenge. First to serve for the French,
Stephane Houdet. Stephane Houdet, one of the great
flag flyers for this sport for such a long time now. I was wondering
whether he was going to challenge there. If they can, on this court...
What a shot by Hewett! It was a lovely forehand crosscourt from
Peifer, and Hewett smashed it back across the front of Peifer for a
winner. Look at Houdet's serving, he's
lifting his wheel right off the ground, you watch! The effort he
puts into it! That's Alfie Hewett, Norfolk's
finest. Only 19 years old, pitching himself up against a 46-year-old
serving. That was a good drop shot by Peifer,
but Alfie saw it coming. I think Peifer was trying to be a bit too
clever. That's a really nice angle. I think
you will probably see more of that tactic today, with the green grass,
itch much -- it's much harder for the guys to push the chairs.
UMPIRE: The ball was called in. They do have Hawk-Eye today, they didn't
have it on Court No. 17 yesterday. His challenging will get better! I
think he just wanted to do it! It is really noticeable, how much
greener, how much lusher, this court is. It is, it is so much slower. He
saw that drop shot early, but it's hard to get the chair moving on the
grass. Great pick-up by Hewett. It was, but Houdet just picked it up
and lobbed it over the top - beautiful.
UMPIRE: Game, Houdet and Peifer. NICK MULLINS: The French go two
games up. It is a repeat of the French Open final from Roland
Garros, where Houdet and Peifer took the title in straight sets. That was
on clay. The British coaching team. That was hard work, but the hard
work paid off. It was good work by Hewitt, saw it coming, great pushing
in that hard part of the court, and Houdet couldn't quite control the
volley. Who were trying to put it behind Hewett, because he knows
Hewett is not going to be able to spin on that lush brass. -- grass.
The side spin on that by Hewett! The crowd are loving that!
That's the problem on serve - the receiver is moving all the time to
get into the right position, and if you serve it into the hitting zone,
it's going to be a winner. Yes, they are on the move. It is an integral
part of the game. Absolutely right. Hewett saw that Peifer was moving
very much, and swatted his forehand down into the tramlines. You've got
to keep the chair moving - it's hugely important on the grass.
Got to be careful - that's why they like big courts, so you don't run
into walls and things, and damage the chair. I think even the crowd
were getting worried! Houdet almost tipping out of his
chair. Yesterday, watching the Argentinian Gustavo Fernandez, he
was flying around like Boris Becker. Full of entertainment. So, deuce on
the Hewett serve. You can see they're still trying to
get used to this court, it's all reactive, the ball is staying low,
and it's hard to push on this court. We've had a little bit of rain in
south-west London first thing this morning - nothing serious, just one
or two spits and spots. A little bit of a drizzle at the moment. It's not
great for the chairs, either. If you've got titanium, it can end up
slipping through your fingers. And the defending champions are on
the scoreboard for the first time in this final. There might be some rain
in the air, but it is not a dampening things? Certainly not. The
best tennis at the moment seems to be coming mainly from Hewett and
Houdet? Absolutely, but I think all four players are doing really well.
It really is important, the equipment, you are only as good as
your chair? Absolutely, to get the prep just right is crucial. These
chairs can cost ?3000 to ?4000. With the grass, we saw Gordon Reid
adjusting the back wheel up a bit, because the movement is very
challenging. And the grip as well as important? Absolutely. But only on
the grass, in terms of slipping, but the grip of your hands on the rim as
well. Great work from the Scotsman.
Fantastic overhead, very cool and calm.
This time it is Houdet, who again took a little bit of a tumble. He
hit it straight back to him but he was made ready for its, but the ball
didn't bounce enough. He has been a regular visitor to the
Wimbledon, since it became the last of the Grand Slams to invite the
world's best players on wheels in. Always been the feeling that
wheelchairs on grass were not necessarily a great makes. But
people like the four we're watching right now have this proved that.
Absolutely right, the chairs don't harm the grass, they're designed to
skid across it as much as possible. Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett setting
up the opportunity to get the break of serve back.
We are all square again in the final.
The French, much happier to do their work in or around the baseline. But
as we have seen over the past couple of days, Gordon Reid and Alfie
Hewett, one at the net, one at the baseline. Yeah, a bit more
aggressive. Again, Hewett's going in, trying to change the play up.
Gordon Reid, who has letters after his name these days, he collected
his MBE from the Queen recently. It has been quite a 12 months for both
of them, Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett. Gordon Reid shared champagne
with Andy Murray and his team on that final Sunday last summer, when
they became singles champions. And he deserve it. A lot of time and
effort into the sport, great ambassadors, all of them. Just a
little bit of a indication breakdown. -- any indication --
communication breakdown. Yeah, they are all still feeling their way on
this court. And for the first time in this
final, the British pair are ahead. Just beginning to find their way
around the court, Peter? Yes, and that's what they like doing, trying
new things. The idea of Alfie Hewett going into the net, your opponent is
going to be looking at him and what he's doing, rather than the server.
It was a fabulous serve out wide. I think we will see more of that.
Calls from the crowd, that's Alfie Hewett's lob! Grandad, ma'am,
sister, brother. They've done well to get seats, and somewhere amongst
them will be the coach as well, Steve! They're down in force from
Norfolk, a little place which is equidistant between Norwich and
Great Yarmouth. Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett not lacking for
support, as you would expect, out here on Court No. 3 at the moment.
Well, Gordon Reid did push, and eventually, they win the point.
Peifer was pushing as hard as he could with those long arms, didn't
quite manage it. The crowd loved that.
How about that?! Fantastic, Gordon saw the drop shot coming. Drop shot
for drop shot. It's what they needed, the break of serve. It was a
lovely drop shot, second bounce, Gordon had time to scoop it back
across court. On the line, great hands.
I'm expecting them to start playing on Peifer, actually, he's making a
few little mistakes. He had the spotlight all to himself
last month, when he became the first Briton to win the French Open
singles title. An indication of his fighting capabilities, coming back
from a set down, saving two match points, he's a battler, Alfie
Hewett. And very often, it seems, Peter, he's the weather vane of the
British duo. When Hewett is playing well, they're playing well. He's
very outward in his emotions, and you can tell how it's going, whether
he's chuntering, whether he's smiling. You're did write. Also a
bit more aggressive, coming into the court. -- you're dead right.
The French working hard here to win this break back. The world number
three and the world number five, amongst the best this sport has to
offer. And the British break of serve didn't last long.
CLARE BALDING: The French stopping a run-off four consecutive games for
the British pair there. It is quite interesting, the French pair are so
strong and experienced, but sometimes they can get cross with
each other, Houdet getting particularly cross, Louise? Yeah,
they are quite amusing, those little arguments. Gordon and Alfie are both
playing exceptionally well, aren't they? They certainly are. I still
feel Gordon and Alfie have got a good bit of momentum now. Hopefully
they can carry it through this set. Louise, you said earlier, it is the
first time you have seen Hawk-Eye used in wheelchair tennis, is it
also the first time that an umpire has had to say seats, please, does
-- to the crowd, because they're coming pouring in? Absolutely. This
is fantastic. It is a great thing to see, all this interest. And I would
say right now, it's about 90% full, once these people have sat down.
This is a very tight match, as we get to the business end of the first
set. NICK MULLINS: Yes, this court holds
a couple of thousand, and it's very nearly full.
Peifer, who has been a double amputee since early childhood. He
took up this sport when he was only ten and became the world's best
junior player for a couple of years. The effectiveness, particularly on
this surface of that sliced backhand, Peter. Yeah, I think they
need to use the slice more. If you slice it, they can't get underneath.
And the court is certainly taking the slice, especially there.
Couple of aces now for the French. And there is nothing to separate
them in this men's wheelchair doubles final at Wimbledon. These
two trying to defend the title that they won so famously last year.
Once again, time for Gordon Reid to serve.
Houdet whereas those golf gloves which he used to wear when he was a
golfer. He was brilliant, the world number one in weird -- in wheelchair
golf. He switched to tennis when he met Johan Cruyff. He switched sports
but kept the gloves! And is now brilliant at this one. And also, the
gloves stop his hands slipping on the push rims. He goes through quite
a few pairs, too, actually! UMPIRE: Mr Reid is challenging the
call, the ball was called in. UMPIRE: Game, Houdet and Peifer.
NICK MULLINS: How well did Stephane Houdet control that game, to give
the French a break I'm? Where are we with the sport in this country at
the moment, Pete? I'm hearing that more disabled folk than ever are
playing it up and down the country, around the clubs that have access
for disabled player suggest it seems from the outside to being a decent
state? Yeah, we do, we've got a really good position at the moment.
We had our most successful Paralympics last year. And we won
six medals just we've got chairs in tennis centres, the tennis
foundation are doing a great amount of work. That's the charity who
helped fund the sport in this country? Yeah, they control the
performance side, but also they help. You can go to any tennis
centre, essentially, and learn to play. If you're watching this at
home, and think, I don't have one of those snazzy Chios, you don't have
to because they may well have won at your local tennis centre. Absolutely
right. -- snazzy chairs. The court is the same, the balls are the same.
And here's the Frenchman, one of the best for years and years and years,
serving for the first set. Super reverse backhand by Hewett
there. Reverse backhand yet again by
Hewett, that's rev in a row, too strong for Houdet to control,
leaning out of his chair. And this first set goes on! Light
drizzle here on Court No. 3 at Wimbledon. Yeah, quite difficult to
play in the drizzle, to be honest, it makes the push rim slippery,
there can be struggling pushing the chairs, if it continues.
Clever play by Houdet there. Gordon Reid did a backhand and they saw it.
It was outstanding chasing initially from Houdet, the hard work from Reid
and the winner from Hewett. Yeah, he pushed really hard out on that soft
grass, and Hewett saw that Houdet was out of position, split the
French pair again. One of the cool things about this
sport is where you can stuff the balls. And Hewett, one of those who
uses the spokes to good effect. Yeah, but you have to be careful
they don't come out of the spokes. The French just using that lusher
green bit around the net to good effect. Yeah, it is a tactic. If the
ball does come out, for the first time, it is a let come and after
that...? It is a point away. Keeping the pressure on, aren't
they? Yeah, trying to raise the temperature.
There you go! Alfie Hewett has held serve. And the defending champions
are game away from the first set. CLARE BALDING: I wanted to talk to a
little chap here called Cameron. How old are you? Ten. And who is your
favourite player? Alfie Hewett. And you have got his hair cut. Are you
playing tennis yourself, and how often? I play about... And is this
the level you want to be playing at one-day? Yeah. What does it mean to
you to see a crowd this big at Wimbledon, watching your favourite
player, Alfie Hewett, in the final, is this a really good day for you?
Yeah. And who have you come with? My mum, my brother, my sister and my
dad. Fantastic, we need to start chanting, don't we, because this is
a very tight first set. What are you going to chant? Come on. Let's hope
the boys can do it now. This rain is starting to come down pretty
steadily, I have to say. At what point will the umpire
decided to take them off? At what point is it unplayable? When the
players start slipping and missing pushes. Obviously it is a lot
earlier than standing up. I am joined by Peter Norfolk. Pistol
Pete, as we call you. Thank you. They do make it look easy, don't
they? I can assure you, it is hard work in those tears on grass.
We need a tie-break in the third set in the final last year. We have got
one in the first set this year. Arena is really starting to come
down. Alfie Hewett looking towards the umpire, suggesting he might not
be averse to stopping. They will want to finish the set, but this
could affect how they are pushing. Alfie has decided that if he set up
at the net there is less pushing. That is quite hard.
We were threatened with one or two showers throughout the day.
Houdet was using the rain to put side spin on the ball. Shot off the
grass. He doesn't look entirely happy with life at the moment. The
aluminium hand rims get very slippery. I am sure the officials
will want to finish this set before the do anything. Still on serve in
this first set tie-break. Intelligent play by Houdet. Saw
Hewett going back towards the back fence.
That is a doubles ploy. Hit the ball a lot more down the middle.
Splitting the two players. Try to get and miscommunication. One is
going one way and one is going the other. As soon as you give someone
an angle, they have an angle back. It is still raining. Slightly more
than spitting, you would see. I'm not sure that spitting is the phrase
that Carol would use, but it will do for us.
Good serve by Gordon Reid. They needed an nice serve down the middle
T. There is the break back and we are
back on serve. Low percentage, but so worth it. A little summit meeting
for the French. Oh dear. Alfie is usually so secure
overhead. He is in close to the net. That could be crucial. Probably
should have been set point for the defending champions. Instead it is
set point to last year's runners up. On the Hewett serve.
Well, the British pair won the titles last year by winning over
three sets. They're going to have to do it again if the are to defend
their title. The French peer take the first set on a tie-break. 7-6.
Talking about how the game has developed...
It is so tense. Louise Hunt and myself are very close to the action.
So little in it. A couple of unforced errors. And great
performances on both sides. Steve Comer when the rain was heavy, what
sort of difference does it make for them? The difference is more about
your control than it is about ball control. The responsiveness of your
chair is really put down. It spends through your hands a little bit.
When you try to push, there will be some giving your hands. The two
bounces is one thing, but if you simply can't get to the ball, it
doesn't matter how many bounces you are allowed. Would Gordon and Alfie
have any gloves for wet conditions? Or do you just not normally play
when it is wet? If the rain gets any more, they won't be able to play.
But it is a personal choice whether you wear gloves. Are they playing
well enough to bring this back? Absolutely. No doubt in my mind.
Fitness has come into it. They have had a long week already.
The French and Wimbledon are a little bit slower. Start of the
second set, Stephane Uday. -- Houdet.
The rain is not as severe as it was, but is still in the air.
It looks like it will be a solid first game of the second set for the
French peer, which is not what the British peer would like.
A good return of serve from Alfie Hewett. Lots of pressure from
Houdet. Great shot by Alfie Hewett.
Splitting the peer. That is one of the shots of the
match. Still be reversed top-spin backhand out to the tramlines. See
how high that kicks up. Good pushing by Gordon here. Right
outside the court, outside the tramlines. Houdet just popped it too
long. Now the longest game of the final.
That is genius! The quality of the pick-up. To keep that rally alive
and then what Alfie Hewett did to finish it. Fantastic pushing. The
commitment to that. What a great shot. No wonder everyone is
standing. Lovely drop shot. He just kept pushing. Flick it crosscourt.
That is like Federer. That will give them something. They were looking a
bit flat. That is exactly what we needed.
So the defending champions have the break of serve at the start of the
second set, asset they must win to keep this final live.
Good shot by Nicolas Peifer. In that situation, you have to hit it to the
guy at the back of the court, not at the front.
Too strong. Gordon hit that straight at Nicolas Peifer. Couldn't control
the volley. When long on the baseline.
Starting to use a lush green patches. Alfie Sullock. He also saw
that Houdet was not moving the Stationery. Can get off the mark
quick enough on the grass. Nicolas Peifer using side spin to
take it further out of the court. Well played. There is a challenge.
The ball was called out to. He has come to the assistance of the
French. Replay the point. There was some frustration on court 17 that
they didn't have Hawk-Eye. Now we are seeing the other side of it. It
is a learning process to use it. If the rain continues, I think they
might pull them off court. Ladies and gentlemen, play is
suspended. There we go. It has been threatening for the last 25 minutes.
It is becoming harder and harder for players to manoeuvre themselves
around the court. Not just the grip of the tyres, pumped to 150 psi, but
also the grip of the hands to get them there in the first place. Yes,
it is a hands on the metal hand rooms. If you miss a push, you won't
get to the ball and it gets a bit dangerous. Skidding, not controlling
the chair. Hopefully it is not for too long. What is your inkling at
the moment? Interesting. It is about who is going to take the initiative.
Both players seemed to fade in and out at the moment. There is no real
pattern. One minute it is Nicolas Peifer not concentrating. I felt
Gordon wasn't at one point. They need a period where each player is
able to continue the momentum going. Look at that out there. Fillet of
Wimbledon Park,., OK to sail around in, but it is not all right to play
tennis, particularly in a wheelchair. The final of the women's
wheelchair tennis will be delayed because of this. Diede De Groot and
Sabine Ellerbrock will be on court later. Right now, the men's doubles
final is on hold. The French won the first set on a tie-break.
The crowd are giving some support. The information we have is this rain
will last for about 15 minutes. Fingers crossed we will get this
final back on court at some point this afternoon. They save 15
minutes, but it is not looking great, that's the truth. What we
have seen has been fantastic. So tight. Louise, how important for
Gordon and Alfie to get that early break and set in this second set?
Obviously Alfie is under pressure on his serve, but there was lots to
play for? Absolutely. Good start to the second serve. It might help them
and give them more time to regroup. I think Alfie will be fine. Look
forward to them getting back out on court soon. Steve spoke of the
difficulty of pushing when it is wet on the outer rim of the wheel, but
also the ball is picking up moisture and the grass is lush. The ball is
dying. There has been some great pushing from Alfie. You think the
point is over, and next thing you know the hitting winners. With the
extra weight of the ball, those second bounces make it very
difficult. We spoke about the grass. You have come back from winning on
clay. It makes a huge difference. In a way, clay can almost be more
reactionary. They can bounce off the lines in all sorts of weird and
wonderful directions. How impressed and excited are you? I spoke to that
ten-year-old boy Cameron earlier. He told me he is playing three times a
week. This final is live on BBC Two. And added sort of glow of the
inspirational side of it, getting their kids to know they can play
tennis? Yes, and what is wonderful is, how
many people are here. I hope that everybody at home is watching this,
no matter what your disability is going to there is a way to play
tennis. Whether it is purely for enjoyment, or you want to make it to
the top. These guys on court today are showing you what level you can
get to. We want to give you the opportunity to see as much tennis as
you can, so while we wait for the rain to pass, let's have a look at
the semifinal from yesterday which got Jordan Reed and Alfie Hewett is
to this point. We'll pick it up in the third set.
That was a bit of a mistake by Fernandez, hitting it back to
Hewett, he didn't give his partner a chance to move, really. And there is
the break, and Britons move ahead in this decisive third set.
That's Gordon Reid's girlfriend, Marina.
So, the last vestiges of sunshine on court. On this second Friday of the
Championships. Reid and Hewett, their nose is now in front in this
third set. It's been a routine that's worked
well, the idea of having Hewett buzzing around at the net, on the
Reid serve. Not so much when Fernandez is returning, however.
Yes, it's a really good Zen. -- really good tactic.
This will be testing the fitness of Shingo Kunieda's injured elbow.
Great recovery there, kept them in that point.
Every point now being treated for what it is, because every point
takes defending champions a step does to Sundays final.
PETER NORFOLK: Hit the chair, lose the point. If the ball hits the
chair before it bounces, you lose the point.
To see it is one thing, to have the touch to do it is another. Also,
it's harder to push, the ball doesn't bounce up so much. Although
you've got two bounces, still not quick enough.
A point four double break in this third set.
Yes, there's just no defending that. The number of points that he's won
with that big howitzer down the middle. There he is, moving forward,
using the chair, his hips, his shoulders, everything!
Great shot, what a return of serve. Hewett decided to attack, look where
he's sitting, right over the baseline, didn't give Shingo Kunieda
a chance to move away from his serve position.
Nearly there, boys! A double break, and they're within a game of getting
back to a Wimbledon final. Just the feel of this semifinal, the
tone of it, has changed in the last 15 minutes? Yes, it's been quite
tense, and you can see that it means a lot to all of these players, but
not necessarily nervy, but mistakes are being made. It's about who can
grasp the next game by the scruff of the neck, and at the moment, it's
Alfie Hewett who seems to be playing the big points well. Gordon is
playing steady Eddie. Chance to serve it out.
Opportunity to right again all the stories of last summer to IF they
can get into the final once more. IF Alfie Hewett can hold on to his next
service game. Sound head on his shoulders for a
19-year-old lad. Shaking his head, he didn't really
mean to do that. As soon as Fernandez had hit that, he was
racing into the net, because he realised there was going to be a
drop shot coming. Lovely controlled forehand by Gordon
Reid, into the tram lines. Look at that.
They are at it again! Reid and Hewett, the best of British on
wheels, rolling into another Wimbledon final. Great way of
finishing. And how well did they play in that second set. They took
control of it, in the last 20 or 25 minutes, dominating. Once again, in
tandem together, the chance to become a Wimbledon champions for the
second summer running. That was Gordon and Alfie in action
yesterday. We had to bring you that because of the rain stopping play.
No play before 1:15pm and win No-one... ..tells us...
..what to choose.
Clare Balding introduces live coverage of the final of the men's wheelchair doubles. The French pairing of Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer take on British pair Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.
Plus a look ahead to Saturday afternoon's ladies' singles final between Garbine Muguruza and Venus Williams on Centre Court.