Mathewson, Wagner through to
semifinals at Masters in Orlando
Victoria Chiesa | November 3, 2021
American Dana Mathewson and her British partner Lucy Shuker knew that a win in their final round-robin match would put them into the semifinals at the season-ending UNIQLO Doubles Masters for a second time. The only thing standing in their way? No. 2 seeds Yui Kamiji and Saki Takamuro.
In Wednesday's winner-take-all finale, Mathewson and Shuker sealed a 7-6(6), 7-5 upset win to return to the final four, a milestone they reached the last time they played together at the event in 2017. Despite a straight-sets scoreline, the match was full of momentum shifts: after losing a 4-1 lead in the first set, Mathewson and Shuker authored a stunning comeback in the tiebreak, rallying from 6-1 down to win it with extra points. Down 5-3 in the second set, they won four straight games to win the match.
"Lucy and I have always been a good doubles pairing together, and what I mean by that is that we have good chemistry and we're good friends, so playing doubles with her is always fun. ADVERTISEMENT We knew that today's match was going to be tough and it definitely was. We played some really good tennis in both sets. I'm really proud of us. We fought really hard today and played well together, so I couldn't be happier," Mathewson said after the match.
"I'd be lying if I said, 'I was just being positive the whole time' because that's not true. I think I was I was just trying to come together with Lucy a lot. She was doing the same with me, so that we always felt like we were together. That's the dangerous thing in doubles; if you feel down and you separate from your partner mentally, then you really see that on the court. You're not really cohesive as a unit, and you're not confident together. She helped my mentality by keeping me going and saying, 'Come on, we're still in this,' and I did the same for her.
"I think it was a mix of being disappointed, [at losing their lead] panicking a little bit, but then also having that belief that we could do this, we can beat them. We shifted the scales a little bit and then it went in our favor, luckily."
Two Americans will feature in the semifinals, as David Wagner sealed a 6-4, 6-3 win over Brazil's Ymanitu Silva in the NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters to finish his round-robin campaign at 2-1. He and top seed Sam Schroder of the Netherlands advanced out of Group A, as the Dutchman was pushed hard in the first set by American Bryan Barten before winning, 7-5, 6-0, to finish pool play unbeaten.
The NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters and UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters, featuring the world's eight best singles players and 18 doubles teams across the men's, women's and quad fields, runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. For more information on the event, visit the tournament hub here.