Paralympic Games
7-18 September

“How did we win that?” Australian joy at tennis gold

Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson produce comeback performance to end American dominance of wheelchair tennis quad doubles. 13 Sep 2016
Dylan Alcott - Rio 2016

Dylan Alcott - Rio 2016

ⒸGetty Images

Australia claimed the first wheelchair tennis gold of Rio 2016 as they fought back from a set down to end the USA’s winning streak in the quad doubles.

Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson eventually ran-out 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 winners in the final on Tuesday (13 September) to deny Nick Taylor and David Wagner’s chances of a fourth successive gold medal in the doubles.

Victory in the compelling contest on centre court – which lasted 2hrs 45mins – also saw Alcott secure the honour of becoming a two-sport gold medallist as he added his Rio medal to the gold he won as a member of Australia’s wheelchair basketball team in Beijing in 2008.

Alcott described the triumph as “unbelievable”. “I don’t know if you can tell but the comradery we have is different to any other team,” he said. “How did we win that match? I still can’t believe it!”

Davidson said: “I’m still letting it all sink in. My mind is still on the court I haven’t actually had a chance yet to realise what has happened. I can’t believe that I’m wearing a gold medal around my neck at this point – it’s insane!”

Earlier, the longest match in wheelchair tennis history took place in the bronze medal match on court two, as Great Britain claimed the bronze after a gruelling 4hr 25min battle where they beat Israel 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2).

Jamie Burdekin and Andy Lapthorne were elated to come away with a medal after battling the exhausting temperatures on the hottest day of the Paralympics so far.

“This lad here [hugging Andy] talked me all the way through it, so a massive credit to him – my hat goes off to the kid – because there was so many down points in the match,” said Burdekin.

Lapthorne, who won through to the final of the quad singles with a late-night finish on Monday, said: “To go out and do what I did last night gave me so much belief today, and there was no way, today on that court, that we were going get beaten – I had nothing to fear.”

Elsewhere, Great Britain secured bronze in the women’s singles for a second successive Paralympics as they defeated Japan on court two.

The British pairing of Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker took the first set, but lost a “terrible” second set 6-0. However, they found their focus once again in the third set as they went on to claim the second wheelchair tennis GB bronze medal of the day with a 6-3, 0-6, 6-1, victory.

“It was a really good fight from us to come back after a terrible second set and I’m over the moon to have the bronze medal,” said Shuker.

It will be an all Dutch affair in the women’s singles final for the seventh time after Aniek van Koot beat second seed Yui Kamiji 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, to advance to the final.

Jiske Griffioen will play van Koot for gold, as she fought back against Paralympics debutant Diede de Groot to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).

The four men to battle for the medal places in the men’s singles booked themselves a semi-final spot on Tuesday.

There will be no third successive gold medal for Shingo Kunieda though, as the Japanese star and former world No.1 lost in straight sets to Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 6-3, 6-3.

The second seed will now face young Great Britain star Alfie Hewett, whilst fellow Brit Gordon Reid fought back from a set down to enter the semi-finals with a 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, win over 2015’s Parapan Am Games champion Gustavo Fernandez.

London 2012 silver medallist Stephane Houdet is also in the last four as he edged past Japan’s Takuya Miki 6-4, 6-2.