Dana Mathewson, David Wagner into Wimbledon wheelchair doubles finals
Both Americans competing in the wheelchair tournament at Wimbledon will play for a trophy: With semifinal wins in the women's doubles and quad doubles draws at the All-England Club on Friday, Dana Mathewson and David Wagner advanced to championship weekend.
Playing alongside world No. 2 Yui Kamiji of Japan at the Championships, Mathewson reached her second Grand Slam doubles final in style a day after losing in the singles quarterfinals; the unseeded pair knocked off second-seeded Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa and Greati Britain's Lucy Shuker in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Mathewson last played in a major final at the 2017 US Open, while Kamiji is through to a staggering 50th career Grand Slam final overall. She's won 17 majors in doubles, including six times at Wimbledon in eight prior attempts, as well as eight in singles.
"We have actually never teamed up before, so it was a new experience, but I think we have game styles that complement each other very well," Mathewson told usta.com after the match. "She has a lot more experience than I do in Grand Slam finals, so I’m glad I have such a solid partner on court with me. Im looking forward to Sunday and seeing what we can do."
Mathewson partnered Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands in her last major final, and van Koot will be on the other side of the net this time around. She and her compatriot Diede de Groot, the No. 1 seeds, beat the Dutch-Japanese pair of Jiske Griffioen and Momoko Ohtani in the other semifinal, 7-5, 7-5.
Beaten by another all-Dutch team of de Groot and Marjolein Buis in New York five years ago in straight sets, Mathewson's hoping for a different result this time around.
"I think I am a much more developed player than I was in 2017," Mathewson said. "I have learned to be a smarter player tactically, and I’m also a more experienced player who has been able to be in pressure situations more times than I was in 2017.
"The US Open that year was my first-ever Slam tournament, so I was the new kid in school. I don’t feel that way so much anymore."
Wagner entered the Championships as the defending quad doubles champion with Great Britain's Andy Lapthorne, and the second seeds were the beneficiaries of an abridged semifinal match to return to the championship; they were leading South Africa's Donald Ramphadi and Japan's Koji Sugeno by a set when the latter pair retired from the match at 6-3, 3-4.
Lapthorne and Wagner have won eight Grand Slam titles as a pair, including earlier this year at the Australian Open, and Wagner is seeking his 23rd individual Grand Slam doubles title. They'll face the top-seeded Dutch pair of Sam Schroder and Niels Vink for the title.
Also victorious against Ramphadi in the singles quarterfinals on Thursday, Wagner will play in the singles semifinals on Saturday against No. 2 singles seed Schroder.
After Mathewson and Wagner's wins, though, the U.S. was unable to make it a clean sweep; Danielle Collins and Desirae Krawczyk came up just short in their pursuit of a spot in the Wimbledon doubles final. The unseeded Americans, who beat three seeded teams in four matches this fortnight to reach the semifinals, fell to top seeds Elise Mertens and Zhang Shuai, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Krawczyk was back on Wimbledon's Centre Court less than 24 hours after winning the mixed doubles title alongside Great Britain's Neal Skupski.
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