Shuker and Whiley face battle for bronze
Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley have the chance to become the first GB women tennis players to win a Paralympic Games medal if they win the third-place contest in the Wheelchair Tennis women’s Doubles competition at London 2012 on Friday.
No. 3 seeds Shuker and Whiley went down 6-4 6-3 to the Dutch pairing of Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot, seeded two, in this afternoon’s semi-final showdown on Eton Manor’s centre court.
They now face the unseeded Thai pair of Sakhom Khanthasit and Ratana Techamaneewat in the bronze medal match.
Shuker, who lives in Fleet in Hampshire and trains in Taunton, said: “We played really well the first few games and we had chances throughout the match to get back in it.
“We're going to work so hard tomorrow to win that bronze. We're the third seeds so we want to prove we can win a medal.
“The crowd were amazing again and I love playing on centre with them behind me.”
Whiley, from Halesowen, added: “They are a top pair and we matched them a lot of the time. We came here to win a medal and I'm still confident we can do that.
“We will re-focus and do the crowd proud tomorrow,” she added. ”We've played well together this week but that was a tough one. I love playing with Lucy and we've built a great relationship as a pair.”
There was a tense start to encounter when Van Koot lost her serve on the opening game, a feat that was followed by Jordanne Whiley and then Griffioen as the GB pairing went 2-1 up in the first set.
Shuker was the first player to hold serve, with Griffioen hitting the decisive shot wide of the tramlines as the GB pairing took a 3-1 advantage.
But the Dutch hit back with Van Koot holding serve, hitting a shot that was too high for Whiley to reach, and then breaking Whiley’s serve – she hit a loose shot into the net, to square the contest at 3-3.
The Dutch then went into the lead for the first time in the game, taking Griffioen’s service game to love courtesy of a vicious shot down the line from line from Van Koot.
They went on to break Shuker’s serve to go into a 5-3 lead, but Van Koot couldn’t hold on to her service game – 5-4 to the Dutch. And the Dutch pairing then too the first, breaking Whiley’s serve to make it 6-4.
Griffioen, who had earlier spent an hour and a half on court winning bronze medal in the women’s singles, held her serve to put the Dutch in the driving seat at the start of set two and followed that up by breaking Shuker, before the GB paring pulled a game back.
But a long wild shot at the end of the fourth game handed it to the Dutch pair as they restored their two-game lead.
Whiley made amends with two scorching shots on Griffoen’s next service game, hitting one cross shot that left the Dutch stranded and then bisecting the pair with another powerful strike straight down the middle. But Shuker’s shot that won the game was a little more fortuitous, bouncing off the net and into the court to make to 3-2 to the Dutch.
The Dutch won the next game, but then Whiley’s powerful half volley kept the British pair in touch at 4-3. It was Whiley’s turn to serve but she couldn’t hold on to the game and some unforced errors from the British pair in the following game sealed their fate.