Words by Colette Carr
Gordon Reid lamented a lack of early quality against doubles partner Alfie Hewett in yesterday’s first round at Roland Garros, but looked forward to meeting Japan’s Shingo Kunieda in today’s semi-final.
The 26-year-old toppled fellow Brit Hewett in the first outing of the tournament 6-4, 6-4 despite a rocky start.
And he nodded to the psychological advantage both took into the tie from knowing each other’s game inside out from the long hours spent together in doubles training.
“We were both a little bit nervous and maybe the quality wasn’t very high at the start. But once I settled into the match, I felt I returned pretty smartly and I started to cause him problems on my serve and that helped me dictate the rest of the point,” said Reid, who sealed his third semi-final appearance in Paris.
“It’s tough to play each other because we know each other’s games so well. We put a lot of time in to understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses to help improve our doubles. That always makes it difficult, when you then have to play against each other in a singles court. But we are used to it and have done it enough times now,” he added.
Reid today faces the world number three, fresh from beating Kunieda in his own back garden in the Japan Open last month.
But the Scot isn’t taking any of that for granted rather relishing the challenge from a player he dubbed the best ever.
“I love playing against Shingo every time I get an opportunity to get on the court with him because for me, he is the best player that has ever played the sport. Obviously, it’s going to be a really tough match, he is on great form at the moment, he is very confident. It’s going to be very difficult, but I think if I can produce my best tennis, I will have a chance,” said Reid.
Away from singles, Reid and Hewett also face US Open champions Frederic Cattaneo and Stefan Olsson this afternoon as they chase the French title that has so far slipped from their grasp.
“Alfie and I, we haven’t won this tournament together yet. I’ve had some success here in doubles in the past, but it would be great to have that all-British success,” Reid said.