Reid defeats world's top three to claim first ITF 1 title
by Marshall Thomas
Gordon Reid clinched the first ITF 1 Series singles title of his career on Sunday at the Open de la Baie de Somme to complete an astonishing three days for the British No. 1 men’s wheelchair tennis player during which he beat the world’s top three ranked players in successive days.
Helensburgh’s Reid also finished the tournament with the men’s doubles title, which he had already secured on Saturday partnering Frenchman Stephane Houdet, the player he beat 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday’s singles final.
At the end of a week in which he turned 22 on the eve the tournament, world No. 6 Reid saw a 5-2 lead slip away in the first set of Sunday’s final before Houdet clinched a tie-break. However, Reid also opened up 5-2 leads in both the second and third sets and although Houdet took the eighth game in both of the last two sets Reid held on for his third career win over the world No. 2.
“It has been an amazing week for me. After winning both titles and taking out the top three ranked players in the world, I feel great,” said Reid. “I have been working very hard in training recently on a few specific areas and to see those parts of my game having such a positive impact at this tournament is really encouraging. I'm really pleased with the fight I showed to come through two tough three set matches and delighted to have won the doubles with Stephane to keep our unbeaten record intact.“
Reid began his singles campaign on Friday, reeling off six games in a row in the second set of his quarter-final against Dutch world No. 3 Maikel Scheffers to complete a 6-4, 6-1 victory and his third career win over Scheffers.
The Brit then came up against world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan in Saturday’s semi-finals and Reid clinched a crucial second set tie-break before taking the first five games of the third and deciding set, at which stage Kunieda retired with an injury. It was Reid’s second win of his career over the two-time Paralympic men’s singles gold medallist, having first beaten Kunieda in the semi-finals of the South African Open in April this year.
Reid’s victory in Sunday’s final in Rue was also his third win of 2013 over Houdet, having beaten the London 2012 silver medallist for the very first time in February this year.
Reid and Houdet extended their unbeaten doubles record to three tournaments since they first teamed up together in the USA exactly 12 months ago in October 2012. They justified top seeding in Rue, defeating Belgium’s Joachim Gerard and Kunieda 6-7(5), 6-3, (11-9) after a deciding championship tie-break in Saturday’s final. It was their second ITF 1 doubles together this season and Reid’s ninth ITF 1 doubles title of his career.
Reid and Houdet will pair up again at next month’s ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters in Mission Viejo, Southern California, where Reid will also be one of four Brits on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme to contest the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. A total of eight Brits have qualified for either or both of the year-end singles and doubles championships for the world’s leading wheelchair tennis players.
Before then Reid and Britain’s other top players are set to be among a high class international entry for the Nottingham Indoors, the final ITF 1 Series tournament on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour, which is organised by the Tennis Foundation and takes place at Nottingham Tennis Centre from 23-27 October.