Wimbledon 2011: French pair battle to reach wheelchair final

By Elizabeth HudsonBBC Sport at Wimbledon
Michael Jeremiasz and Stephane Houdet
Jeremiasz and Houdet were forced to dig deep for victory

French pair Stephane Houdet and Michael Jeremiasz came from a set and 4-0 down to reach the Wimbledon men's wheelchair doubles decider.

The 2009 champions got the better of Japan's Shingo Kunieda and Tom Egberink of the Netherlands 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 in a thrilling semi-final.

They will face Dutch pair Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink in Sunday's final.

Scheffers and Vink defeated Robin Ammerlaan and Stefan Olsson 6-0 6-3.

Houdet and Jeremiasz, who won doubles gold at the Beijing Paralympics, looked down and out in the second set but they somehow managed to get back into the match.

Teenager Egberink served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was penalised for a wheel fault at a crucial time. The French pair saved two match points in the following game before levelling it at 5-5 and then went on to dominate the tie-break.

Kunieda and Egberink, playing together for the first time, again started the deciding set strongly to lead 3-1.

But the French started to play more aggressively and edged ahead 5-4 before Kunieda netted with a forehand at match point on his own serve to end a thrilling contest.

Houdet told BBC Sport afterwards: "We knew we weren't doing the right things in the second set and were defending too much, so we just had to continue and focus on every point and every game and we got back into the match.

"We play better when one is at the net and one is at the back and we can change roles. For a lot of the second set we didn't do that, so we knew we had to work on that.

"But we know each other very well, which is a big advantage, and we know we can communicate, even when we are down in a match."

Houdet and Jeremiasz have beaten Scheffers and Vink in two finals already this year, including on home soil at the recent French Open Super Series event.

The Dutch duo led 6-0 5-0 in their match before Ammerlaan and Olsson, the defending Wimbledon champions, staged a recovery of sorts, but it was all in vain.

"We're excited to be in the final because we lost to Robin and Stefan the last few times we have played them so we were happy to beat them," Scheffers said afterwards.

Vink added: We had good tactics but they started to play smarter in the second set and we started to make more mistakes and started to play into their hands so we had to change things to win the match.

"We were a bit worried because they have come back to beat us before and we lost to them both at the Australian Open and at Roland Garros."