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Elise Mertens number 1 in doubles after Wimbledon win

15:31 12/07/2021
Belgium took both the women’s doubles and the men’s single wheelchair titles at Wimbledon

Belgian tennis player Elise Mertens won the women’s doubles at Wimbledon at the weekend, together with her partner Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan. The nail-biting win has pushed Mertens back to the top of the WTA doubles ranking.

It was a match “that felt like seven hours” said Mertens, 25, following the indeed hard-won 2.5-hour face-off with Russian duo Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Vesnina at the Grand Slam final on Saturday. The pair saved two match points, with Hsieh eventually ending the back-and-forth third set with a powerful backhand on Vesnina’s serve. The final score was 3-6, 7-5, 9-7.

“We were very happy we could close it because it was just going on and going on,” said Mertens. The WTA news site called the match “a thriller”, saying that Mertens and Hsieh clinched “their first title together in dramatic style” having “raised the centre court roof”.

It was the pair's first Grand Slam and first tournament win after playing four tournaments together previously. They were seeded third going in.

It is Mertens’ third Grand Slam doubles title, having previously won the US Open and the Australian Open with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Mertens currently ranks 17 in singles.

Joachim Gérard after winning Wimbledon
Joachim Gérard has his sights set on Tokyo  ©AELTC/ITF

Mertens was not the only Belgian to pull down a first-place trophy at Wimbledon at the weekend: Joachim Gérard (ITF 4) of Brussels beat British player Gordon Reid (ITF 6) in the men’s singles wheelchair final to win Wimbledon for the first time.

The 32-year-old player ended the match 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) at an hour and 44 minutes. He is having quite a year: He won his first Grand Slam tournament in February at the Australian Open.

“It feels amazing,” he said after the match. “I knew I could do one Grand Slam, I knew I could do two, and I know I can do many more.”  But first he’s headed to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games.

Gérard brought home bronze from the last Games in Rio de Janeiro but won’t be satisfied with that this time around. “My goal is to go for the gold, for sure. We know there are many players who all want the best medal they can get. But, as I say, my goal is to go for the gold.”

Photo top: Hsieh Su-Wei (left) and Elise Mertens after winning the doubles final at Wimbledon on Saturday
©WTA/Twitter

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw