World Team Cup: Great Britain book Japan showdown

Top seeds cruise through to men’s final as China women await opponents 02 Jun 2018
a male wheelchair tennis player reaches for a shot on a clay court

Alfie Hewett helped Great Britain to their third World Team Cup men's final in four years

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Great Britain and Japan will contest Sunday’s men’s final at the 2018 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, while China have booked its place in the women’s final for the third successive year at the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) flagship wheelchair tennis team event

Top seeds Great Britain will contest their third BNP Paribas World Team Cup men’s final in four years after Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid secured a 2-0 victory over 2017 bronze medallist Belgium in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

On a day when rain hit the intended schedule for the second time this week, Reid wasted little time in defeating 16-year-old reigning Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters champion Jef Vandorpe 6-0, 6-1 in the first singles rubber of Britain’s semi-final against sixth seed Belgium.

World No. 1 Alfie Hewett had a considerably tougher time against world No. 9 Joachim Gerard, but 20-year-old Hewett continued to show a maturity beyond his years as he wrapped up a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 win and a 2-0 victory for 2015 champions Great Britain.

The other semi-final saw world No. 8 Takashi Sanada make a sensational start against world No. 7 Nicolas Peifer of France, the current Japanese No.2 racing into a set and 5-1 lead. Peifer bounced back to find form and take the next six games to force the deciding set, but Sanada regrouped to win 6-1, 5-7, 6-1.

In the second singles rubber Japan’s world No. 3 Shingo Kunieda led world No. 4 Stephane Houdet of France 3-2 when their contest was suspended due to one of several rain breaks on the day. Kunieda returned to court to win three of the next four games to take the set and soon sealed a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Houdet.

China to contest third straight women’s final

Due to the weather only one of the women’s semi-finals was decided on Friday, with Huimin Huang giving 2016 silver medallists and 2017 champions China a solid start against third seeds Great Britain.

Huang beat Louise Hunt, but world No. 6 Lucy Shuker produced a polished performance to defeat Chinese No. 1 Zhenzhen Zhu 6-4, 7-5.

However, despite Shuker and Hunt’s best efforts China proved to be strongest in the doubles to complete a 2-1 victory.

The Chinese team has played Netherlands in each of the last two BNP Paribas World Team Cup women’s finals, with one victory apiece. Another meeting in this year’s final is on the cards, with top seed Netherlands to play fourth seed France on Saturday’s penultimate day of play.