Australia

‘Cooked’ Dylan Alcott battles through cramp to reach Tokyo final as ‘Golden Slam’ dream stays alive

Dylan Alcott admits he thought he was on the brink of losing his quad singles semi-final in Tokyo, before battling through cramp and exhaustion to beat Niels Vink in three sets.

Alcott needed to call on his vast experience to beat his 18-year-old Dutch opponent 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in a match lasting two hours and 28 minutes on Tuesday night.

The top seed faces Vink’s countryman Sam Schroder in the final as he continues his quest to win the “Golden Slam” — all four tennis majors and the Paralympic gold medal.

“I thought I was done there, I just reminded myself to enjoy it,” Alcott told Channel Seven.

“I just love what the Paralympics represent. It saved my life, it honestly did. That was the best match I ever been a part of, and it was here … it was special.”

Alcott, the defending gold medallist, could not contain his joy after clinching victory when Vink went long with a return.

The 30-year-old screamed in jubilation and pumped his fists as he let all of his emotion out.

Alcott (left) and Vink embrace after their thrilling semi-final.(

Reuters: Thomas Peter

)

But he showed his outstanding sportsmanship when he made his way around to the other side of the net to congratulate Vink, with the two embracing in a touching scene.

“He’s half my age, what a little legend he is, Niels,” said Alcott, who described himself as an “old man”.

“I know he read my book growing up. I sent him a birthday video for his 18th (birthday). We’re mates.

Alcott said he felt “cooked” when he began cramping during the second set.

“My hand was cramping from halfway through the second set,” he said.

“I thought I was done and I just went big in those last few points, and went bang, bang, bang. 

“I owe it all to my team.”

Alcott has already won the Australian and French Opens, and Wimbledon this year.

Following his Tokyo campaign, he will turn his attention to the US Open, with a tournament victory at Flushing Meadows clinching the Grand Slam of tennis majors.

Alcott will team up with Heath Davidson to face Vink and Schroder in the Paralympic quad doubles final on Wednesday.

The Australian duo won the gold medal in the event at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.


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